Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Growing Radicchio in Kihei

Radicchio is an Italian green from the chicory family that grows best in cool weather. It's slow to bolt but like many of the red or butter lettuces it's not cool enough in Kihei to initiate heading or to turn the leaves red in all varieties.
I've planted many varieties of radicchio that didn't head. So far my best results were with the varieties featured in this post.

Indigo is an F1 hybrid that was developed to be adaptable to the summer heat. It is the only round radicchio I've grown that produced a compact head. When planted close together (6 to 8 inches apart)the outer leaves are large enough to naturally self blanch the center heads.
Radicchio is easy to grow in containers and needs a soil depth of at least 6 inches. With the exception of Indigo, I plant radicchio seeds from October through November. Indigo can be planted from September through March with good results. Radicchio needs 3 months from seed to maturity.
One of the best things about growing radicchio is that it's not bothered by any of  the destructive Kihei insects like the cabbageworm. It's one of a few salad greens that doesn't need to be covered with a row cover or tulle. However, I recommend using snail bait on the ground around the containers as snails and slugs will eat the outer leaves.


  1. Wow that is a lot of radicchio. I couldn't imagine eating it all.

  2. Hi Daphne! Radicchio and endive have been great here as they've never bolted. This year I tried a lot more varieties. So far I've only found one lettuce I can grow to maturity that doesn't bolt early due to the heat. It's been great having so many different salad greens this winter - I wish I could grow them all year!

  3. i ave not grown Radiccio before, One of my daghters is an excellent gardner, we used my own compost ( several years accumalation ), my daughter remarked that it was GOLD DUST!, also she bought some compost from the supplier, and so several plants were placed in the veggie beds with the combination of the two composts. I have never seen plants grow so fast, they are like Triffords, the Spinach just speeded ahead and was very disapointing as it bolted like a weed. The radiccio almost did as badly as regards bolting. Should we have added some ordinary earth into the mix,also at the time of planting, mid-May, the weather was very warm here in Cornwall. I would like your comments and advice please

  4. Hi Frances! Lots of gardeners plant directly in compost. As long as it's well rotted it shouldn't burn the plants or cause any problems. Spinach is a fall/winter vegetable. It will grow under row covers in the snow. Matador Spinach, a Franchi seed is the only spinach I'm aware of that grows in warm weather.

    Radicchio is a cooler weather vegetable too and it's normally planted in the fall. You might plant your spinich and radicchio later next month or in September. If you want to grow radicchio for summer harvesting try planting the treviso varieties - they're slower to bolt. The heading types need cooler weather.

  5. I ordered some seeds today based on your blog! Mahalo from the Big Island!