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CICHORIUM endivia 'Natacha'

Image of Cichorium endivia 'Natacha'

Jessie Keith

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

CICHORIUM endivia 'Natacha'

Plant Common Name

Endive

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Big gorgeous heads with tender blanched hearts make escarole ‘Natacha’ a favorite of commercial and home gardeners. The plants are resistant to tipburn, bolting and bottom rot. Natacha is ready fro harvest 48 to 60 days from planting. This selection is great in salads or cooked.

This leafy vegetable is surprisingly a member of the daisy family along with radicchio and chicory and easily grown in the home garden. Thought to be native to India and possible Asia, endive is naturalized in Europe, Africa and South America.

Escarole is grown as an annual and this low-growing selection usually forms rosettes, much like lettuce. Endive and escarole are similar with the exception of the leaf form. Escarole with its broad smooth leaves is Cichorum endivia var. latifolium and often grows a central head. Though not grown for the flowers, pretty blue daisy-like blooms are produced atop tall leafless stalks in clusters if the plants are left in the garden to mature. Small angled dark seeds follow the flowers and are tipped with bristly hairs which aid in seed dispersal.

Grow this leafy vegetable like its cousin lettuce. Escarole grows best in cool weather, so in most temperate zones it is best as a spring and fall crop. In the frost-free south, it is a favorite winter crop. Full sun and light, fertile, nutrient-rich soil and regular water are needed to produce good escarole. It’s a good idea to plant a few seeds in succession for a longer harvest of fresh leaves or heads. Pick a few outer leaves early and allow the plant to continue to grow until maturity. Escarole had a bite to its flavor, but will become very bitter if grown in high temperatures or left to bolt (produce flowers). One way to reduce bitterness is to blanch the leaves. This may be accomplished by covering the plants for the last couple weeks with a basket or pot or tying the leaves around the head. The leaves will turn pale green or white and will be sweeter.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    10 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6"-10" / 15.2cm - 25.4cm

  • Width

    6"-18" / 15.2cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Asia, India

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Sky Blue, Blue Violet

  • Fruit Color

    Brown, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes