Endive: The Perfect Vegetable
Endive plants, also called short filler plants, are deciduous plants with rigid branches and a rigid stem. These plants grow up to twelve inches tall and have wide leaves that are opposite to each other. It can be found in North America, Central America and in parts of Europe. This perennial herb has a fern-like group of leaves and flowers, which look like daisies. The flowers appear in April, followed by fruit in June.
This perennial herb starts out as a small crescent shape and grows to about three feet tall. The flowers are red, bell shaped, with purple petals and an upright stem with six pointed leaves. When the plant blooms the flowers look like tiny bumble bees.
The main source of food for the plant is Lecithin, a fat-forming protein that is found in its leaves. The plant derives most of its water from the sun and therefore gets most of its nitrogen from the sun as well. Other ingredients necessary to make the plant grow are Nitrates (for color), Potassium (for nitrogen), Phosphorus, and Calcium. Some of the important nutrients it needs are:
-Lecithin - helps make the plant grow wider, longer, and stronger. -Nelson acids - A mixture of these two that cause the plant to form a strong stem. -Vitexin - Also helps cause the plant to grow taller, thicker, and sets leaf growth faster and produces more foliage.
In order for the plant to produce edible leaves, the plant must also have some basic nutrients to support growth. These include: Copper, zinc, manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, silicon, and manganese. The leaves contain saponins, that are primarily responsible for making the plant bitter. This bitter taste is what we find in chicory root, a herb that is most commonly used as a sweetener in tea. Other leaves contain substances that cause them to taste like citrus or apple flavor.
Endive leaves have been used as a source of fiber and starchy material for hundreds of years. They are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B-12, niacin, riboflavin, potassium, and several other vitamins. They can also be used to add flavor to soups and salads by making them spiced and then adding them to the dish. Endive roots can also be used in soups and casseroles to add more color and flavor. They are also excellent in their ability to serve as tenderizers in salads or cut into small pieces and added to other foods for a bold flavor.
A variety of conditions are available to grow endive in an indoor garden. It is best to find a climate zone that best suits the plants you want to grow. For example, some varieties of this perennial herb are best grown in milder climates. On the other hand, there are some that need more sunlight and heat to flourish. Endive plants are easy to maintain and grow from seed. Some varieties of this green leafy plant can even be planted from cuttings taken from the parent plant.
There are a few things to keep in mind when caring for these types of plants. Like most perennial plants, they require regular watering. You will also need to pay attention to their light levels. The leaves of most endive plants turn colors as they mature, turning a creamy white to a deep green. If you want your endive leaves to stay vibrant and full, you will need to take very good care of them.
During the springtime, it is important to report them. This is a great time to remove any overripe or damaged leaves and replace them with new ones. Water the plants well to keep them hydrated. As for the summer season, they will go into a dormant state for the majority of the time. This is good for the growth, but not so good for keeping the leaves cool.
They should be pruned regularly to promote new growth. Remove any dead or broken leaves and gently clip any overgrown tips. Endive tends to grow thicker at the base than at the top, so if the tip of your branches are overgrown, you may need to trim back a little. If you don't do this the branch will grow too large and out of control.
When it comes to diseases, one disease that endives is leaf spot. This appears on the lower third of the leaves. It is a common disease on young plants and only affects the bottom third of the leaves. It is easy to recognize as it turns a light color, like a rusty brown. To get rid of leaf spot, spread the endive leaves out and let the sunlight do its work.