Mystery plant with blue flowers

We’re having several plants with LOTS of blue flowers in the hoophouse. I’m sure we planted them or put out seeds, but we can’t find any labels because it’s like a jungle in there and I don’t know what they are. The flowers are much more showy in the morning.
What is this?

Here are the leaves:

This one isn’t flowering yet.  I know I planted dandelions (still can’t believe that I had to buy seeds), but they’re not blue.  At least they weren’t blue when I had to pull them out of our lawn 40 years ago.

5 Replies to “Mystery plant with blue flowers”

  1. Hi,
    The blue plant is the common chicory (Cichorium intybus), very common in Europe, and have many uses.
    Regards, Betti

  2. Thanks much, Betti!
    I just looked up chicory:
    “Common chicory is also known as blue sailors, succory, and coffeeweed. It is also called cornflower, although that name is more commonly applied to Centaurea cyanus. Common names for varieties of var. foliosum include endive, radicchio, Belgian endive, French endive, red endive, sugarloaf or witloof. …”
    I thought it looked like cornflower and it must be the RADICCHIO we seeded. We actually had several varieties of radiccio, a new salad to us. One variety is supposed to form heads, but we apparently planted it way too late (it’s supposed to be planted in winter) and I tried some leaves and they sure were bitter.
    Radicchio field
    Radicchio is easy to grow but performs best in a spring (USDA Zone 8 and above) and fall (everywhere) gardens. It prefers more frequent but not deep watering, the amount of water varying based on soil type. Infrequent watering will lead to a more bitter tasting leaf. However, for fall crops the flavor is changed predominantly by the onset of cold weather (the colder, the mellower), which also initiates the heading and reddening process in traditional varieties. There are newer, self-heading varieties whose taste is not yet as good as a traditional variety which has matured through several frosts or freezes (e.g., Alouette). Radicchio matures in approximately three months. However, it can be made to stand through a UK or West European winter, and the head will regenerate if cut off carefully above ground level, so long as the plant is protected against severe frost. A light-excluding cover, e.g. an inverted pot, may be used during the latter phases of growth to produce leaves with a more pronounced colour contrast, simultaneously protecting against frost and cold winds. Traditionally in the UK, the first cutting of all chicory heads was simply thrown away, and the tender, forced, second head was for the table. However, improved varieties of radicchio, e.g. Rosso di Verona, and generally milder winters allow the West European cultivator to harvest two or more crops from a single planting. If the head is cut off complete, just above the root, a small, new head will grow, especially if minimal frost protection is given. This process can be repeated a number of times.”
    I have to go through our seeds to see which one this is and I’m looking forward to winter.
    I sure enjoy the flowers!

  3. That blue flower is Chicory (chicorium intybus) (usually considered a weed in most areas)- in past times it’s root was baked, ground up and used as a substitute for coffee- you can still buy chicory coffee today.

  4. Anna, like the other people wrote, it’s radicchio. We’ve been getting a whole lot more of these flowers since we never got to harvest any radicchio.
    I read that you have to boil it because it’s so bitter, but even if we never eat any, I’ll keep growing them for the flowers.
    Jose said one is actually forming a head now, we’ll see.
    And I let some lettuce go to seed and ours had little yellow flowers. Just started the first seeds and it looks like some are already sprouting.
    Also ordered a bunch more lettuce seeds.

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