The Gardeners Guide

A resource guide for all things related to gardening and cultivating green spaces

Chives Care: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Chives

Chives Facts

A herb that packs a powerful punch of flavor, chives are a must-have addition to any kitchen garden. Belonging to the same family as onions and garlic, this perennial herb is known for its delicate green stalks and vibrant purple flowers. What sets chives apart is their mild onion-like taste, which adds depth and complexity to a wide range of dishes.

Chives have been used in culinary practices for centuries, with records dating back to ancient Egypt. Not only do they elevate the flavors of various dishes such as soups, salads, omelets, and dips but they also offer numerous health benefits. Packed with essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K, chives help boost immunity and promote overall well-being. Additionally, they contain antioxidants that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the body.

Easy to grow both indoors and outdoors, chives thrive in sunny locations with well-drained soil. Their slender stalks can reach heights of up to 12 inches or more if left unharvested. It requires minimal care throughout the growing season and can be harvested multiple times per year. Chives is one of the most popular herbs among home gardeners.

Planting

  • Chives can be planted either in the spring, after the last frost has passed, or in the fall. They are a hardy herb that can withstand colder temperatures, so even planting them in late fall can yield satisfactory results. Just be sure to avoid planting chives during the hot summer months when they may struggle to establish themselves.
  • Chives thrive best in full sun, although they can tolerate partial shade as well. It is crucial to ensure that they receive at least six hours of sunlight each day for optimal growth and flavor development. So, when choosing a location for your chive garden bed or container, make sure it gets plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day.
  • When planting chives from seedlings or divisions, space them at least 6-8 inches apart. This spacing allows room for each plant to expand and grow into a bushy clump without overcrowding. Adequate spacing not only promotes better air circulation but also prevents competition for nutrients and helps reduce the risk of disease spread among plants.
  • While chives are adaptable plants that do well in various climates, it’s best to avoid planting them during extreme weather conditions such as scorching heatwaves or bitter cold snaps. These conditions can stress out young plants and hinder their ability to grow properly.

Growing

  • When starting with chives, it is essential to provide adequate moisture for the seedlings. Water them regularly but avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. Ensure that the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. Using a spray bottle to mist the seedlings can help maintain the right level of moisture.
  • When transplanting your chive seedlings outdoors, be sure to choose a sunny location with well-drained soil. Chives thrive in full sun and prefer slightly alkaline soil conditions. Prepare the planting area by loosening the soil and incorporating organic matter like compost or aged manure. Space each seedling around 8 inches apart in rows or clusters, giving them enough room to grow and spread.
  • After planting, it is crucial to continue watering your chive seedlings consistently until they become established. Increase watering during dry spells or hot weather conditions, ensuring that the soil stays evenly moist. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely between waterings as this may hinder growth or cause leaves to turn brown. Regular watering will promote healthy foliage development and encourage strong roots.
  • To ensure optimal growth, thinning chives is an important step in their cultivation process. Once they reach a height of around 4-6 inches, gently remove any overcrowded or weak seedlings from each cluster or row by snipping them at ground level with clean gardening shears.

Remember: Download our Fact Sheet Below!

You’ll be able to refer to this reference whenever you need to look up the ideal growing conditions. 

Chives Facts Sheet

Recommended Varieties

when choosing what variety to grow there are a few that stand out in terms of flavor and productivity. One such variety is the common chive (Allium schoenoprasum), which is widely used in cooking due to its mild onion-like flavor. It produces delicate purple flowers that not only add beauty to your garden but can also be used as an edible garnish.

Another recommended variety is garlic chives (Allium tuberosum). Unlike common chives, garlic chives have a stronger flavor with hints of garlic. They are often used in Asian cuisines and make a great addition to stir-fries and dumplings. Garlic chives also produce beautiful white flowers that can be enjoyed both visually and gastronomically.

If you’re looking for something slightly different, consider growing Siberian or Chinese leek (Allium robustum). This variety has larger leaves and a more pronounced onion taste compared to common chives. It works wonderfully when chopped up finely and added to salads or soups.

Harvesting

  • Harvesting chives is best done in the spring and summer months, before the flowers start to bloom. This ensures that the leaves are tender and full of flavor. However, you can also harvest chives throughout the year as needed.
  • To harvest chives, simply use a pair of sharp scissors or garden shears to cut the leaves about 2 inches from the base. Make sure to leave some leaves behind so that the plant can continue to grow and produce more foliage.
  • To store Chives one option is to chop up the leaves into small pieces and freeze them in an ice cube tray with some water or olive oil. This allows you to easily portion out your chives whenever needed for cooking.
  • If you prefer dried chives air-drying is a good option. Simply tie them together in small bundles and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated area until they become crispy dry. Once dried, store them in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.

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Interesting Facts

Taste is a fascinating sensory experience that can awaken our senses and transport us to different realms. When it comes to chives, their flavor has been described as a delightful blend of mild onion and garlic. It adds a subtle yet distinctive taste to various dishes, making it an essential herb in many cuisines around the world. However, taste is not the only intriguing aspect of chives.

There are hidden mysteries surrounding this versatile plant. In ancient times, chives were believed to possess magical properties and were used in rituals or placed on doorways for protection against evil spirits. Furthermore, according to folklore, eating chives was thought to bring good luck and enhance one’s chances of finding love. Chives have also played a significant role throughout history. They have been cultivated for thousands of years as a culinary herb due to their desirable aroma and flavor. Egyptians even included them in their embalming process as a symbol of regeneration and life after death. Additionally, during World War I and II, chive juice was used as an antiseptic because of its natural antimicrobial properties. Chives go far beyond being just another herb in our kitchen gardens or spice racks.

Pest and Diseases:

  • Aphids: These small, soft-bodied insects are a common pest for chives. They feed on the sap of the plant and can quickly multiply, causing damage to the leaves. To control aphids, try using insecticidal soap or introducing natural predators such as ladybugs or lacewings.
  • Thrips: Thrips are tiny insects that feed on chive leaves by puncturing the cells and sucking out their contents. This feeding leaves behind silver-colored streaks or spots on the foliage. Regularly inspecting your plants for thrips is essential in preventing severe infestations.
  • Fusarium leaf spot: This fungal disease affects chive plants by causing brownish lesions to form on the leaves. It thrives in warm, humid conditions, so ensuring proper air circulation around your plants can help prevent its spread. If you notice signs of fusarium leaf spot, remove infected foliage and avoid overhead watering to minimize moisture on the plant’s surface.
  • Leaf miners: Leaf miners are small insects that tunnel through chive leaves, leaving visible trails or white blotches behind them. While these pests rarely cause significant damage to mature plants, controlling their population is crucial as they can weaken younger plants.
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Download Our Fact Sheet

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, it’s important to understand the basic needs of plants to ensure successful growth and bountiful harvests. That’s why we’ve created a downloadable Fact Sheet for your journal or garden planner, so you have all the key information at your fingertips.

Our fact sheet provides a quick overview of details on plant care. You’ll be able to refer to this reference whenever you need to look up the ideal growing conditions for this plant, including soil type and temperature requirements. With this quick reference guide in hand, you can easily consult it whenever you need reminders about caring for your plants.

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