Trimming Chicory Plants: Does Chicory Need To Be Pruned

Chicory Flowers
chicory pruning
(Image credit: Sedaeva)

Chicory is a wildflower native to the Mediterranean region with sky-blue flowers. If you grow chicory in your backyard, you’ll find it an extremely low-maintenance plant, requiring only occasional chicory plant pruning. How often does chicory need to be pruned? For information on trimming chicory plants, including tips on when to prune chicory, read on.

Chicory Plant Pruning

People grow chicory as easy-care, flowering plants. The lovely, blue blossoms open during sunny days and close during cloudy times and at night. But that is not the only reason to grow chicory. The roots of chicory plants are used to make a coffee substitute, and some gardeners decide to plant chicory for this reason. One type of chicory (called ‘Witloof’ chicory) is used for Belgian or French endive, while small-rooted plants are used for salad greens. All of these types of chicory grow happily without much gardener care, although trimming chicory plants can be a good idea. This plant is very rugged and adaptable, thriving in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 3 to 9. Chicory plants are the complete opposite of fussy. They thrive on neglect after they are established, like many other wildflowers. If you want to make care especially simple, plant them in deep soil in a location that gets direct sun. Does chicory need to be pruned? It is not one of those plants that require pruning in order to thrive. However, you might be better off cutting back chicory during the growing season.

Cutting Back Chicory

If you want your entire backyard filled to the brim with chicory, there is no need to think of trimming chicory plants. They will happily set seeds and the chicory patch will expand, year after year, until chicory occupies the entire area. If this is not your plan for the garden, then cutting back chicory is important. This plant starts to produce flowers in spring, and those blossoms just keep coming until early autumn. Each flower produces abundant seeds that serve to self-sow year after year. You can limit the growth of your chicory patch by deadheading the flowers before the seeds are dispensed. Trimming chicory plants to prevent reseeding is part of regular maintenance, and you’ll have to keep on top of this chicory plant pruning all summer long. So when to prune chicory? It’s determined on a flower-by-flower basis. As a blossom starts to fade, clip it off and dispose of it. You’ll have to continually keep up with the patch in order to prevent the plant from spreading everywhere.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.