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ALLIUM schoenoprasum 'Forsgate'

Image of Allium schoenoprasum 'Forsgate'

James H. Schutte

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

ALLIUM schoenoprasum 'Forsgate'

Plant Common Name

Chives

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Most know only know chives as a chopped herb sprinkled on salads or added to cream cheese for mild onion flavor and green color, but chives are much more than that. This lovely bulbous perennial produces a bottle brush of fine, cylindrical foliage in spring and becomes topped with beautiful lavender-pink, sometimes white, clover-like flowerheads in late spring or early summer. It is a far-flung and diverse onion that’s native across much of the northern hemisphere, so it has been historically used and enjoyed by many cultures worldwide.

Chives die back to the ground each fall but return in spring as soon as temperatures begin to warm. This is when their fine, upright, oniony blades are at their most tender and mild. By late spring they put forth upright flower scapes that become topped with puffball blooms that are also edible and look beautiful on salads. Bees pollinate them and heads of black, angular seeds follow. It is wise to cut the heads back after bloom to encourage a second flush of foliar growth.

Full sun and well-drained, fertile soil with a moderately neutral pH is needed for good growth. Though bulbous, chives are usually sold as plants, not bulbs. On the rare occasion they are purchased as bulbs, plant them two to three times their width. Once established, chives will tolerate limited drought, but foliage output and flavor will suffer. Chive clumps slowly spread over time; lift and divide them when they become too large or too crowded. Refrain from mulching chives as this can smother and weaken clumps.

This wonderfully versatile herb is both pretty and functional. Plant it in alpine beds, rockeries, and herb or vegetable gardens. The leaves can be snipped all season for their mild, fresh onion flavor.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    8"-24" / 20.3cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    6"-12" / 15.2cm - 30.5cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    World/Pandemic, North America, Europe, Russia/Siberia, Northern Africa, Asia, India

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Pink, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Chartreuse

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Cutflower, Edging, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Hummingbirds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes