Botanical name: Allium schoenoprasum
Plant type: Herb
Sun exposure: Full Sun
Chives are a perennial member of the onion family that sport beautiful purple flowers (which are also edible). This herb is easy to grow and hardy, which means that you won't ever run out. Be mindful when planting this herb, as it will take over your garden if the flowers are left to ripen (the flowers scatter the seeds). However, this plant is easy to dig up and move if it overwhelms your garden.
- For a head start, start the seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost.
- Plant the seeds 2 to 4 inches deep in moist, well-drained soil about 12 to 18 inches apart in late spring/early summer. (If you don't want to start from seeds, you can also just replant a full-grown plant or borrow a plant from a friend.)
- Plants grow to be 12 to 24 inches tall.
- Chives prefer rich soil and can grow in either moist or dry conditions.
- For the best growth, the soil should be around 60º to 70ºF.
- In the garden, plant chives next to carrots.
- Be sure to water the young plants throughout the growing season.
- Minimal care is needed for fully grown plants.
- After the flowers bloom, be sure to remove them so that the seeds aren't spread throughout your garden.
- Remember to divide the plants every 3 to 4 years.
- Bulb rots (caused by soilborne fungi)
- White rot
- Various fungal leaf spots (such as purple blotch and gray mold)
- Onion fly
- Begin harvesting the chives after about 6 weeks. If the plant is already mature (such as in the following growing season), begin harvesting as soon as the plant begins to grow again.
- Be sure to cut the leaves down to the base when harvesting.
- Use chives when they're fresh or frozen (freeze the leaves in an airtight bag). Dried chives lose their flavor.
- Garlic chives, to add a mild garlic flavor to any dish
Wit & Wisdom
Bunches of chives hung in the home were used to drive away diseases and evil.