Where to plant chives?

Correct Way to Harvest Chives Without Killing the Herb Plant

Wanted to share this tidbit of “harvesting trivia” on chives – garlic and regular.

During HerbFest I’ve noticed when I talk about “cutting chives” there are lots of people who are surprised to learn that chives are not to be cut from the top but the bottom of the plant base.

Let’s say you’re doing a baked potato and only need a smidget of chives so you don’t want to cut the entire stalk down so you snip across the top harvesting only what you are going to use. What you just did was kill the stalk from where you cut to the ground, which is waste and also not good for the plant.

Here’s what you need to do…

  • Cut from the base the number of stalks you need.
  • Now cut from the top of the stalks harvested the amount you need tonight
  • Chop them, but do not chop the remainder of the chive stalk or you release the oils which is what you are after for flavor and fragrance
  • Take the remaining stalks and put in freezer bag and put in freezer
  • Next time you need chives remove stalks from freezer and chop which release oil you had saved in stalk by not cutting up upon original harvest.

This process also encourages the chives to expand their base and you get more chives year after year.

It should also be remembered that chive blossoms are edible flowers but be careful to eat the garlic chive blossom hesitantly as it’s more garlicky than garlic itself!!

You did everything right, you planted and grew your chives, fertilized, gave it enough water, placed it in the right spot to have the right number of sunlight hours, and you waited for the right moment for your perfect chives will be ready to harvest.

You spent a lot of energy and time but do you really know how to harvest chives without killing the plant?

Most people, both professionals and hobbyists gardeners, don’t know how to harvest chives the right way.

Let’s waste no more time and learn how to harvest your perfect chives. For this you will need a pair of scissors cut it and a knife to chop it.

How do I harvest chives?

To keep the plant re-growing follow those steps:

  1. Use a gardening scissors in harvesting chives. After qualifying which plants are ready for harvest, you could start cutting the chives two inches away from the soil. Never cut it from the top.
  2. Take the scissors and remove the top from the stalks you just harvested.
  3. Chop as many as you need with a knife or a special herb scissors, and use it however you want.
  4. Store the remaining chives stalks you harvested and put it in a bag or a box in the freezer.

The remaining parts buried in the soil would help in growing another set of chive plants for the next harvest.

Also, do not harvest the whole plant at one time. Make sure that you leave a reasonable number of stems in the soil for future use.

You could actually harvest three to four times a year, depending on the variety of chives you used.

Flowers could also be eaten, so you could make also harvest this. Moreover, you should also remove the flowers since they carry a lot of seeds and it could dominate your whole garden when spread.

Lastly, you should also divide the chive leaves every 3 to 4 years to split up big plants. Letting them have their own space could result in better growth.

When is the best time to harvest chives?

Harvesting chives actually depends on the variety of chives. But generally, chives that are seven to ten inches tall are ready for harvest.

Usually you can start harvesting 30 days after transplanting or about 60 days after sowing from seeds.

After 30 or 60 days, depends on who you decided to plant you chives, they should reach to 6 inches height. That’s your first sign you can start harvesting,

The best time on the year to harvest is usually midsummer until spring. Since this is a perennial plant, you won’t have to replant it again to harvest for the next harvest season.

What is the best way to store the chives that I have harvested?

After harvesting, wash the stems thoroughly to clean the chives from dirt and other gardening debris.

Then, air dry the chives. Make sure that it is a hundred percent dried out to avoid mold growth.

Place the herbs inside your refrigerator to ensure freshness for the next five to seven days.

Breaking news

Neil Ross Allium tuberosum has clean white flowerheads, slightly flat-topped and about 40cm high in good soil. One of the last onions to flower, the leaves are neat and shorter than true chives – a perfect corner feature for path edges and patios.

Chives aren’t trendy. They don’t get write-ups in the latest foodie magazines or raves from top chefs. But along with basil, parsley and mint, chives are one of the basic herbs essential for zhuzhing up so many recipes.

Luckily they are easy to grow, don’t take up much space, aren’t overly fussy about soil conditions and can be grown in containers.

They are good-looking, too, and can be counted on to pretty up any garden bed.
* Common chives (Allium schoenoprasum) have purple pompom flowers and slimmer leaves.
* Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) have broader, taller stems and loose sprays of white flowers on long stalks.
Chives can be grown from seed at any time from early spring through to autumn.

SALLY TAGG Chives (and many other pretty, colourful herbs) can be used to beautify your vegetable patch.

* How to grow more & better strawberries
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Yes. Sow a pinch or two of seed in a small clump and barely cover with soil. Seed will germinate within two weeks and be ready to harvest in 1½ to 2½ weeks.

Seeds of both common and garlic chives are available from Kings Seeds and they also have larger chive seed packs to grow as microgreens.

Yes. You can start with seedling plugs which are readily available at garden centres.
The ready-to-eat chive clumps from the supermarket can also be divided up and planted in the garden.
One small clump is enough if you are cooking for one but the plants are so attractive it is worth growing more if you have the space.
An edging of chives around a herb garden or a vegetable is very attractive and bees go mad for the pretty pom-pom flowers.
Unlike other Mediterranean herbs that require perfect drainage and low fertility, chives like a rich soil with plenty of organic matter.
They prefer full sun but will cope with dappled light.
Water regularly and liquid feed with a general garden fertiliser or seaweed tonic.
Let some flowers go to seed and you’ll have more chives springing up nearby. They reproduce vegetatively too by producing pups or side shoots. Perennial clumps can be divided up every year or so for replanting.

Perennial chives will pop back up after their winter dormancy. Make sure the soil around them is weeded and cleared of mulch, fallen leaves or winter debris, so they don’t hit any major obstructions as they emerge. Give them a helping hand with liquid fertiliser early in the season.

Harvest chives leaf by leaf or use scissors and behead a whole bunch. The flowers are edible too and can be used as a garnish in salads.

The only major pest to watch out for are aphids which rapidly form crippling colonies on chives, often when the plants are stressed by hot weather and uneven watering. Read more about the best way to water your plants.
Aphids can be controlled with a spray of soapy water or empty a pail of dishwashing water over the clump. You’ll need to keep an eye on the clump and repeat this treatment regularly to keep ahead of the aphid’s prolific breeding.
The photo gallery below has more information about caring for chives in spring.

1 of 24RACHEL OLDHAM Basil’s greatest need is warmth, so avoid planting out when nights are still cool. Basil won’t grow well where temperatures drop below 10˚C, and a dip below 4˚C will kill plants. Sow seeds in small pots in early spring for transplanting later. And while you’re at it, toss a few curse words around. The ancient Greeks believed that basil could only be grown if the seed was sown while ranting and swearing. 2 of 24FISFRA/123RF Thyme: Position new plants in a sunny spot in free-draining soil. Give them poor (or unfertilised) soil, or flavour will decline. Seeds can also be sown, or established plants divided or layered. Trim plants once they start becoming straggly. 3 of 24DP3010 / 123RF STOCK PHOTO Sage seeds can be sown now, or take softwood cuttings. Trim back straggly stems on older plants. Established plants and those that are becoming woody can be propagated by layering branches. 4 of 24 KESU87 / 123RF STOCK PHOTO Rosemary grows well in sun. Put new plants in a sunny spot in free-draining soil. Poor or sandy soils are fine. Seeds can also be sown, and softwood cuttings taken. Trim established plants after flowering to keep them from growing tall and straggly. Straggly plants can be cut right back. 5 of 24MALCOLM RUTHERFORD/ 123RF Parsley: Both curly and Italian parsley are biennials but are best treated as annuals. In their second year, leaves are tougher and slightly bitter. Sow seeds or plant seedlings in a sunny, sheltered compost-enriched spot. Soil that had manure added in the previous autumn is ideal. In warmer areas, a little shade for the coming summer is beneficial. 6 of 24 Oregano & marjoram: Origanum vulgare subsp. vulgare (oregano) is the easiest and most commonly grown orginanum, but cooks often prefer the milder, sweeter flavoured Origanum majorana (sweet marjoram). Both can be sown now in a sunny spot in free-draining soil. Established plants can also be divided, or take softwood cuttings from the growing tips. 7 of 24INGA TIHONOVA/123RF Aloe vera is a soothing herb that’s great for treating cuts and burns. Separate offsets that have formed at the base of mature plants and set them aside to dry for a couple of days before potting up or planting out. Or buy new plants from garden centres. Plant in a frost-free environment where temperatures remain above 4˚C. In cooler areas, grow in pots that can be shifted indoors over winter. Or treat as an indoor plant, but watch out for mealybugs. Squirt with water and rub off with a soft cloth. 8 of 24GREATANDLITTLE/ 123RF Mint: Divide established plants or take root cuttings. You can also take stem cuttings. Take 10cm long cuttings, removing the lower leaves. Put the stems in a jar of water. Wait until strong roots form before potting up. 9 of 24 Lovage is one of the few herbs that grows well in part shade. It grows equally well in full sun if given ample moisture. A hardy perennial with a celery-like flavour, seeds can be sown now, or divide established plants. 10 of 24RUSSELL FRANSHAM Lemongrass seeds can be sown in trays for transplanting later. Keep the trays in a warm spot – they need heat to germinate. Established plants can be divided. Use two forks back to back to wedge plants apart. Plants in containers like to be root-bound, so if potting up, keep them snug. Feed plants with a general fertiliser. 11 of 24Pinus/Wikimedia Commons Vietnamese mint: Cuttings can be taken, or new plants can be positioned in sun or part shade. In warmer areas, part shade is best. Keep plants well watered – wet soils and boggy gardens are ideal. 12 of 24ALEXANDER BUDYLIN/ 123RF Lemon balm: Sow seed in trays for transplanting later. Established plants can be divided. 13 of 24GUSTAVOTOLEDO/123RF There are several types of lavender, but all like well-drained, fertile soil in full sun. Planting on mounds will aid drainage during rainy periods. A Mediterranean plant, it’s used to dry, sandy, nutrient-poor soils. Don’t feed it unless the plants look straggly, in which case use a controlled release fertiliser. Trim plants in spring after flowering to maintain shape. Trim again in early autumn, making sure you don’t cut back to old wood, as it won’t regrow. 14 of 24123RF Horseradish can be invasive, so keep it in an area that’s confined. Plant root cuttings or new plants in a sunny spot in deep, fertile, moisture-retentive soil. Don’t let plants dry out or the roots will become bitter. 15 of 24supplied Garlic needs ample moisture during spring growth in order for bulbs to fatten up, so make sure you water well. As soon as leaves appear, foliar feed fortnightly for a couple of months. 16 of 24Patrick Hamilton Foeniculum vulgare is common fennel; Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum is Florence fennel. The latter is distinguished by its bulbous base. It sports the same feathery headdress as common fennel, but the leaves lack the characteristic flavour. Both are easy to grow from seed. Sow now in deep pots for transplanting later. Position in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. If you want to grow fennel for the seed, keep the plants away from dill or coriander as cross-pollination reduces seed production. 17 of 24Sally Tagg Dill looks and tastes a lot like fennel, but dill is an annual (fennel is a perennial) whose leaves are slightly more blue and whose seeds are flatter and thinner. Like fennel, dill has an aniseed taste, but the flavour is more subdued and not as sweet. The seeds, however, have a stronger taste and are often used as a pickling spice. Sow seeds successively. For an early start, sow in deep pots (they have a taproot so avoid trays) for transplanting later. 18 of 24THANAMAT SOMWAN/ 123RF Coriandrum seed can be sown for a late spring or early summer crop in rich, well-drained soil. Sow successively for a continuous supply. Let some plants go to seed so they can self-sow. Previously self-sown plants will begin to appear now. 19 of 24Rachel Oldham Comfrey is a great plant for making natural fertilisers, but it can take over your garden, so keep it contained. Take root cuttings or plant new ones. Comfrey is a deep-rooted perennial, so plant in a spot where it can get its roots down 1.5m. Space plants about 60cm apart. Comfrey grows in sun or part shade. 20 of 24SALLY TAGG Chives is a hardy perennial that’s easy to grow from seed. The seed needs reasonable warmth to germinate, so sow in trays for transplanting later. Grow at least three clumps. Harvest from one clump, then move on to the next while the first clump regrows. Leave 5cm of growth on each clump. You can also divide established clumps now. Make sure each division has six to eight bulbs. Add compost to the soil before replanting. 21 of 24LUCIAN MILASAN/123RF German chamomile, an annual, is the medicinal herb for making teas; Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is the perennial herb used for lawns. Sow seeds of both, and take cuttings or divide perennial chamomile. If you want to establish a chamomile lawn, clear the area of weeds first while your seedlings are growing. For best flowering, plant in full sun. 22 of 24123rf.com Caraway is a biennial. In its first year, the plant forms feathery fronds, which reach a height of around 20cm. In its second year, from spring to early summer, it produces tall flower heads between 60cm and 120cm high. These eventually turn into seed heads, from which you can harvest seeds for flavouring. Plant in full sun in well-drained soil that has added compost. 23 of 24 Borage can be sown directly in the ground in a sunny spot. The soil does not need to be rich. Plants germinate quickly and mature in about six weeks. Borage self-sows, so you may see downy leaves appearing from new plants beginning to establish. 24 of 24NZ GARDENER Bay can be grown from seed, but takes several months to germinate. Or buy plants from your local garden centre and plant in moderately rich, free-draining soil. Dig compost and a little slow-release fertiliser into the soil first. If growing in containers, mix compost in with your potting mix. Although frost hardy to -5˚C, young plants need protection from frosts. Established plants will benefit from a liquid feed, and once again in summer.

* How to grow onions
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Dividing Chives

SERIES 26 Episode 01

How to create an edible and ornamental garden border for free

“Chives are gorgeous plants because they really blur the boundary between the edible and the ornamental. The leaves have many uses in the kitchen and you can eat the flowers as well which are attractive to both us and beneficial insects,” says Sophie.

“They’re herbaceous perennials and members of the onion family which means that they die down to their bulb at the end of autumn and re-sprout again in spring.”

“There are two different types. The Common or Onion Chive (Allium schoenoprasum) has beautiful lavender flowers and tubular leaves, whilst Garlic Chive (Allium tuberosum) has white flowers and a flatter leaf.”

To keep clumps growing vigorously, it’s a good idea to divide them every few years:

  • Lift the clump with a fork to avoid damaging the bulbs as well as garden worms
  • Divide into clumps of around 10 to 12 bulbs
  • Cut the leaves right back to help reduce water loss and they’re ready to be replanted

“With all your excess material, you can start a new chive border!” says Sophie. “Now that the worst of the hot weather is over, it’s a great time to be dividing old clumps of chives. It gives the roots a chance to settle in before the bulbs die down over winter. So there’s your job for the weekend!”

Chives are an easy to grow, hardy perennial herb that will reward you with attractive edible green foliage and colorful blossoms each year. Chives are a versatile and delicious way to flavor many dishes. Here are tips for growing chives.

Chives are an herbaceous perennial species in the lily family (Liliaceae) and are related to onion, leeks and garlic. Chives grow in an upright clump of hollow leaves that reach about a foot high. In summer, the plants send up pretty blossoms. All parts of the chive plant are edible.

Chives sprout from bulbs beneath the soil. Over time, the bulb splits and forms new bulbs, eventually creating a larger clump of chives. The plant’s foliage dies back each fall, and the bulbs beneath the soil go dormant. Once warmer weather arrives in spring, the bulbs begin sending up new green spiky foliage.

You can grow chives in a clump, or place several plants in a row to make an attractive edging to your garden. Chives even make an pretty container plant for your porch or patio.

Types of Chives

Two popular subspecies of chives are common chives and garlic chives. Their growing conditions are similar.

Common chives (Allium schoenoprasum): Common chives have a mild onion flavor. The plant features thin, hollow, dark green foliage that grows in a dense clump up to 12 inches high. Flower clusters bloom on stems that rise above the foliage in late spring through early summer.

Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum): Additionally called Chinese chives, geisha garlic chives, Chinese leeks, and gow choy have a slight onion-garlic flavor. The foliage is thin, flat leaves that grows in a clump up to 15 inches high. Blossoms are white star-shaped florets that bloom in late summer and early fall.

Why Grow Chives?

Here are some benefits of including chives in your gardens:

Chives are attractive: Chives are a striking addition to flower, herb, and vegetable gardens with their spiky dark green foliage and bright lavender blossoms.

Chives are edible: All parts of the chive plant are edible. The chive’s green foliage has a mild onion flavor making them a great addition to salads, scrambled eggs, and as a garnish. The purple blossoms are a colorful edible decoration that adds a light onion flavor. Even the small bulbs can be used in any recipe that calls for green onions or scallions.

Chives attract pollinators: The flowers bloom mid spring to early summer, right around the same time the summer crops are just beginning to flourish. The fragrance and color of chives attract many bees, butterflies, wasps, hornets, and other pollinators to your garden.

Chives repel pests: Since chives are related to onions, their pungent fragrance is a natural pest repellant. Chives discourage carrot flies, aphids, beetles, and cabbageworms. Plant a few clumps of chives as companion plants with carrots, tomatoes, and any crop in the cabbage family. Also plant a few clumps around your cucumber and squash crops to repel cucumber beetles. Additionally, consider chives as companion to your roses to help deter black spot. Plant around fruit trees to repel borers and apple scab.

Chives are perennials: Chives grow as perennials in US plant hardiness zones 3-9. Plant chives once and they will come back every year.

Chives self sows easily: Leave the blossoms on the plant and they will shake out their seeds. You’ll find the spiky foliage growing come summer. Simply dig them up and replant elsewhere.

Chives are easy to propagate: Chive bulbs can be divided from the mother plant and replanted easily.

Chives are the first to appear in the spring garden: Chives are one of the first green to appear in the garden…a welcomed sight after a long winter.

Chives are drought tolerant: Established chive plants can handle low moisture conditions.

How to Grow Chives

Chives are versatile and make a great addition to your herb and vegetable garden. They can also be incorporated in your flower garden as the attractive foliage and blossoms blend in well with other ornamentals.

When to Sow Chives

Chives are easy to grow from seed. Like most perennials, chives will take a year to produce a clump large enough for harvesting. If you don’t mind the wait, you can start seeds early under lights and then transplant into the garden in spring.

Sow seeds 6-8 weeks before your last spring frost date (look yours up here by zip code) or sow outside as soon as the ground can be worked. It will take 10-20 days for the seeds to germinate. Chives grow in clumps, so there is no need for thinning. Harden-off your seedlings to allow them to adjust to being outside, and transplant into the garden after all danger of frost has passed.

  • 10 Steps to Starting Seedlings Indoors
  • How to Harden Off Seedlings

Select and Prepare Your Growing Area

Choose a permanent spot to grow your chives. Chives grow well in full sun, but will also grow in partial shade although they may not bloom as strongly. Since they are perennial, chives come back every year, and the clump will spread slightly each time. Allow plenty of space for an easy crop year after year.

Chives are tolerant of a wide variety of soils but will grow best in rich, well-drained soil. Mix a generous amount of compost and a slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer into the soil before planting. If the weather has been dry, water the bed thoroughly the day before you transplant.

Transplant Your Chives to the Garden

Whether you grow your own chive transplants, buy seedlings from a nursery, or plant a clump given to you by a friend, be sure to harden off your seedlings before transplanting.

Select an overcast day to transplant your chive seedlings. Water your plants well to help the roots stay together and prevent damage when transplanted.

Dig holes large enough to contain the entire root system comfortably and to set the crown about 1/2-inches below the soil surface. Water the hole thoroughly, and then let the water drain. Space plants about 8 to 12-inches apart.

If you grew your chive seedlings in soil blocks, place the block into the hole and gently firm the soil around the seedling, If your seedlings are in containers, carefully remove the root ball from the container, place it into the hole, and lightly firm the soil. Water well to remove air pockets. Mulch to conserve moisture and keep the weeds down. Water frequently when the chive plants are young, and then reduce waterings.

  • Benefits of Using Soil Blocks to Grow Seedlings
  • 5 Ways Organic Mulch Helps Your Garden

Harvesting and Using Chives

Allow new plants to become established for the first year by harvesting sparingly. When you are ready to harvest the foliage, select leaves from the outside of the clump and cut 2 inches from the soil. Chop and add fresh chives to scrambled eggs, salads, soups, and stir-fry. Use as a pizza-topping, sprinkle on a baked potato, or scatter on a bagel with cream cheese.

Chive blossoms are also edible and have a light onion flavor. Snip off the blossoms when they open fully. Use the blossoms as an edible garnish, add the flowers to scrambled eggs, or sprinkle them in a green salad. Infuse the chive blossoms in vinegar for a subtle onion flavor and a pretty purple blush of color.

Caring for Your Chive Plants

Chives don’t need a lot of care, are not bothered by many pests, and are not fussy about the quality of soil they are growing in. They continue to thrive even in drought situations. Water if the conditions are very dry and the tips of the foliage begin turning brown.

After the blossoms have faded, trim the chive plants the chive plants down to about 6-inches. Soon your plants will push out a fresh flush of spiky foliage that will provide you with plenty of harvests well into fall. As winter approaches, the chive plants will go dormant and wait for the spring soil to thaw so they can emerge once again.

Add a layer of finished compost around the plant each spring and mulch to keep down weeds.

Divide Chives and Grow More Plants

Chive bulbs multiply over time. To keep plants healthy and from becoming overcrowded, divide plants every 3 years. You can divide established chive plants in early spring or fall.

Simply dig up the clump of bulbs, separate them into individual small clusters of bulbs, and replant. If you are dividing in fall, consider potting up a clump to grow indoors for winter.

  • How to Divide and Pot Up Chives

Recipes Using Chives

  • Chive Blossom Vinegar Infusion
  • Chive Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
  • Creamy New England Fish Chowder
  • Cheddar Bacon Potato Skins
  • Zucchini Garlic Bites

Do you grow chives? What tips do you have to share?

You May Also Like

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Good planning is key to a successful vegetable garden.

Whether you are new to growing your own food or have been growing a vegetable garden for years, you will benefit from some planning each year. You will find everything you need to organize and plan your vegetable garden in my PDF eBook, Grow a Good Life Guide to Planning Your Vegetable Garden.


Chives can be continually harvested – Image by chefranden

One of the most popular herbs in my kitchen has to be chives. This relative of the onion has been used as a food for about 5,000 years in Asia, but chives didn’t catch on in the West until the 1500s. Today, we use chives mostly in creamed dishes and soups, when making sauces, and especially with potatoes – how bland is a baked potato without chives?

If you’re tired of buying chives and using the less-flavorful freeze-dried chives from your spice rack, why not keep a pot of chives growing in your kitchen? Chives are easy to grow from seed, and once you have some growing in your garden, you can divide clumps of them in the spring or fall to create even more plants.

How Many Chives Do I Need?

To calculate how many chives you need to grow for your family, figure that each person you cook for will require between one and two clumps of mature chives. Each seed produces one seedling which will start growing additional bulbs when it reaches maturity, and will soon produce a clump of chives. Chives are a very hardy plant; easy to grow indoors or outside, as long as they get the right balance of soil, water, temperature, fertilizer, and sunlight. Whether inside or outside, chives prefer a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.

Gardening begins with knowing how to grow seedlings – Images by waferboard, StarsApart, acme, qnsagetyrtle, Jasmine&Roses and odonata98 (out of hibernation)

Planting Chive Seeds

Use a small pointed twig or similar object to push a hole into the soil about 1/4″ and space these holes out by 8-12 inches. Place one seed in each hole, and gently but firmly press down with your fingers so that the soil packs around the seed, displacing any air. Finally, water the area gently so that rushing water doesn’t wash your seeds out of the ground. Until the seedlings emerge, check the soil daily and make sure the seed’s little home stays moist. When the dirt over your seed starts to dry, water it again. You want the seeds to have access to water, so make sure and wet the soil down at least one inch.

When seedlings emerge, make sure that you water them every 5 to 7 days, depending on your climate, and you want to soak the soil several inches down so that the roots are all moistened. Water the chives regularly until they are fully grown. Well established, mature chives survive fine in drier soils but watch the tips to see if they are drying and turning brown indicating the need for better watering. Only after seedlings are firmly established, fertilize with a heavy nitrogen fertilizer – this is usually best in late spring and again in mid to late summer.

Planting Chives Outdoors

Whether you start your seeds outdoors, or start indoors and then move the chive seedlings into your garden, you need to make sure that you choose the best location for your baby chives. Try to find some sandy loam that is rich in organic matter for an outdoor chive garden. The area should receive good sunlight for six to eight hours per day, and it should drain well – being neither too wet or too dry. Prepare a bed about eight to ten inches deep, tilling in composted manure or other well-rotted material as well as any time-released fertilizer you plan on using and removing rocks, roots and other non-soil material. It sounds like a lot to do, but proper preparation of the seedbed really makes a difference in the quality, health, and vigor of the plants.

Want to learn more about herbs? We recommend .

Chives are mature and ready to harvest within three months of starting the seeds. You can also leave the chives in the ground, and snip the tops as you need them in cooking. If you are cutting from growing plants, cut them back all the way, leaving only an inch or so of green, and watch the plants regrow the leaves. Chives are very vigorous and thrive despite the trimming – especially so when you’ve taken the time and effort to properly prepare the soil, provide all the nutrients and assure adequate water.

Let the chive plantings begin! And don’t forget that you can eat the beautiful chive flower as well as the green leafy materials. How cool is that!

Have you ever grown chives?

How To Plant Chives – Growing Chives In Your Garden

If there were an award for “easiest herb to grow,” growing chives (Allium schoenoprasum) would win that award. Learning how to grow chives is so easy that even a child can do it, which makes this plant an excellent herb to help introduce children to herb gardening.

How to Plant Chives from Divisions

Divisions are the most common way how to plant chives. Find an established clump of chives in early spring or mid fall. Gently dig the clump and pull away a smaller clump from the main clump. The smaller clump should have at least five to 10 bulbs. Transplant this small clump to the desired location in your garden where you will be growing chives.

How to Plant Chives from Seeds

While chives are frequently grown from divisions, they are just as easy to start from seeds. Chive can be started indoors or outdoors. Plant chives seeds about 1/4-inch deep in the soil. Water well.

If you’re planting chive seeds indoors, place the pot in a dark spot in temperatures 60 to 70 F. (15 to 21 C.) until the seeds sprout, then move them into the light. When the chives reach 6 inches, you can transplant them to the garden.

If you’re planting the chive seeds outdoors, wait ’till after the last frost to plant the seeds. The seeds may take a little extra time to sprout until the soil warms up.

Where to Grow Chives

Chives will grow just about anywhere, but prefer strong light and rich soil. Chives also don’t do as well in soil that is too wet or too dry.

Growing Chives Indoors

Growing chives indoors is also easy. Chives do very well indoors and will frequently be the herb that will do the best in your indoor herb garden. The best way how to grow chives indoors is to plant them in a pot that drains well, but is filled with a good potting soil. Place the chives where they will get bright light. Continue harvesting chives as you would if they were outdoors.

Harvesting Chives

Harvesting chives is as easy as growing chives. Once the chives are about a foot tall, simply snip off what you need. When harvesting chives, you can cut the chive plant back to half its size without harming the plant.

If your chive plant starts to flower, the flowers are edible as well. Add the chive flowers to your salad or as decorations for soup.

Knowing how to grow chives is as easy as knowing how to chew bubble gum. Add these tasty herbs to your garden today.

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Chives are a low maintenance, easy to grow perennial herb, grown for their onion-scented tasting leaves. These are a delicious addition to salads, and can be added to many other savoury dishes.

Their taste is milder than onions, so they are the perfect choice for soups and savoury dishes – where their more subtle flavour is needed. Although mainly grown for their leaves, chives also produce highly attractive pinky-purple flowers. These are also edible and are an attractive salad garnish. They also attract bees and butterflies,

Because chives are compact, they are ideal for edging paths and borders, as well as growing in mixed borders, vegetable gardens, herb gardens and in containers.

How to grow chives


Chives will grow perfectly well in a position in full sun or in partial shade. They grow best in a fertile, moist but well-drained soil. Dig in plenty of organic matter – such as garden compost, well-rotted manure or other soil improver – especially in very well-drained sandy soils to hold moisture. Add grit or sharp sand to heavy clay soils to improve drainage if needed.

Chives varieties

The usual chives grown as a herb, is the straight species, Allium schoenoprasum. You may also find Staroand Fine Leaved, which have a milder flavour, and Forescate, with a slight garlic flavour and pale pink flowers.

Sowing chives

You can sow chives seeds thinly outdoors in spring where you want them to grow. Prepare the soil well with added compost or other soil improver and rake to a fine tilth before sowing. Thin out the young plants to 23-30cm (9-12in) apart when large enough to handle.

Seeds can also be sown indoors from March to June in pots or cell or plug trays filled with seed sowing compost at a temperature of 18-21C (65-70F). Lightly cover the seed with more compost and keep moist. When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5-10cm (3-4in) pots in bunches of 4-6 seedlings per pot. Grow on the seedlings in cooler conditions of around 10C (50F) and plant outside when the last frosts are over, after hardening off – gradually acclimatising them to outdoor conditions – for 10-14 days.

Planting chives

You can buy young parsley plants from garden centres, which can be planted outside any time of year.

Dig over the planting area, incorporating some organic matter – such as compost or leafmould if the soil is heavy clay. Dig a good sized hole big enough to easily accommodate the rootball.

Place the rootball in the planting hole and adjust the planting depth so that the crown of leaves is at soil level.

Mix in more organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole. Apply a general granular plant food over the soil around the plants and water in well.

Or grow them indoors on a brightly lit windowsill to have fresh leaves readily to hand.

How to care for chives

Chives are very easy to look after and need minimal maintenance.

Keep the soil moist by watering regularly during prolonged dry periods in summer.

Feed with a general granular plant food each spring.

Plants may become congested over time and need rejuvenating every 3 to 5 years. Carefully lift, divide the plant into smaller portions and replant in well-prepared soil in spring.

To keep the plants productive and with the best-flavoured leaves, remove flowers as they form or cut them when young for brightening up salads.

When chives die back in late autumn, clear away all dead leaves and any other debris.


Harvest leaves as needed with scissors, cutting them back close to the base of the plant. The more regularly they’re cut, the more new leaves they will produce.

Chives are best used fresh, as soon as they are cut. They can be frozen by cutting them up and packing into ice cube trays with water.

Flowering season(s)


Foliage season(s)

Spring, Summer, Autumn


Partial shade, Full sun

Soil type

Chalky, Clay, Loamy, Sandy

Soil pH


Soil moisture

Moist but well-drained

Ultimate height

40cm (16in)

Ultimate spread

30cm (12in)

Time to ultimate height

6-9 months

Sick of forking out the dosh for a big bunch of chives at the supermarket when your recipe only requires one teaspoon? The solution lies in growing chives yourself at home.

Chives are a fantastic herb to grow at home for a bunch of reasons. They’re a delicious addition to your recipes and are easily added to things like stir-fry, pasta and salads.

What’s more, they’re very easy to grow and don’t require a large amount of garden space, meaning everyone, even inner-city apartment dwellers, can get amongst the fun.

What are chives

Chives are a perennial member of the onion family. They carry a similar although far more subdued flavour and therefore are perfect for adding extra flavour to any savoury dish like potato salads, fish, frittatas, sauces and more.

Chives come in two main flavour-based varieties: Onion or garlic. It’s totally up to your personal taste as to which you prefer.

Growing chives at home is easy! Picture: Pexels

How to plant chives at home

We asked Lyndall Keating, plant expert and founder of The Garden Society, for her best tips on growing, caring for and harvesting this underrated little herb.

Lyndall says the big trend with chives and herbs at the moment is growing them in a ‘herb bowl’, pot, or in a herb trough on a windowsill.

“It means you have all of your herbs together; they all require sun and work together to grow. It’s fashionable and edible,” Lyndall says.

Below, she shares her step-by-step guide to growing chives.

Discover three other delicious herbs to start growing at home this season:

Your step-by-step guide on how to plant chives

  1. First, choose a spot in your home or garden that enjoys full sun. Chives need a lot of natural light to thrive. You’ll want a planter or vessel that’s around 15cm deep.
  2. Prepare your soil. The key to successful chive growing lies in the preparation before you even plant the seed. Mix a few tablespoons of all-purpose fertiliser such as cow manure into your well-draining, nutrient-rich potting mix. Organic compost matter never goes astray and will help your babies grow.
  3. Plant your seeds during the warmer months, pushing them 2cm into the soil at 10cm apart.

Read more: 7 of the easiest herbs to grow at home

Chives will sprout beautiful purple flowers in summer Picture: Unsplash

Caring for your chives

Your work is not complete after planting your chives. The real fun lies in caring for them.

Chives will grow generally 30 days after you transplant, and 60 days after you seed. Like most herbs, chives require constant pruning, so the more you use your herbs, the better they’ll grow.

Check out our comprehensive guide to caring for your chives below.

Watering your chives

How much water chives require will depend on the season. “Chives will slow down during winter and rejuvenate again in the spring and summer months, ready to go from garden to plate,” Lyndall explains.

During the warmer months, it’s important to regularly water chives as this will result in high yields.

Harvesting chives is easy – just cut about 1cm above the soil to allow the plant to keep growing. Picture: Getty

How much sun do chives need

Chives thrive in full sun, and that’s the case whether you’re growing chives from seed or growing chives in pots. Failing to position the plant in a sunny spot is where the biggest mistake is often made when growing chives, Lyndall says.

However, this doesn’t necessarily make the perennial an outdoor plant: “Chives can also be grown indoors if you find a really sunny window,” she says.

Growing chives in pots is easy – as long as they have access to full sun. Picture: Getty

Feeding your chives

For solid production and to establish good growth patterns, apply a light seaweed solution to your chive plant, Lyndall says. “Most of the liquid fertiliser products we use in the garden are a seaweed base solution,” Lyndall says.

Seaweed will stimulate root growth and enhance flowering, which is great for chives as they will sprout beautiful purple flowers in summer. Purchase an affordable seaweed solution, such as Seasol, from Bunnings, nurseries or supermarkets.

Pests that like chives

Like any plant, occasionally herbs and specifically chives run into some pest problems. “Watch out particularly for snails as they love the sweet taste of chives,” Lyndall says.

To combat, you could try applying an organic snail repellent or pellet over your chives, keeping everything organically based as you’ll want to cook with them. Alternatively (if the thought doesn’t make your squirm), you can hand-remove the snails from the plants.

Chives are part of the onion family. Picture: Getty

How to harvest chives

Chive plants can grow to about 60cm tall. Lyndall recommends pruning every 10 to 12 days in the peak growing seasons of spring and summer.

“Alternatively you can prune for your dish or kitchen table as required,” she says.

The best time to harvest chives is when they’re full, removing any dead leaves as you go.
“Just grab some sharp scissors and harvest the chives about 1cm above soil level. You’ll need a little bit of plant left for it to grow back,” Lyndall says.

Read this next: How to grow herbs

Storing and enjoying your chives

Store your chives in plastic to seal in the freshness. To get the most out of your chives, Lyndall recommends only cutting what is required for use in the kitchen. That way you’ll only ever use fresh herbs, and it’s better for the plant, too. Taking too many leaves from the plant could be damaging.

If you’re not using the chives directly in a recipe, wrap in plastic or pop into a glass container and place in the crisper section of your freezer.

Store your chives in plastic or glass in your crisper section of the fridge. Picture: Getty

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