Helping You Become a More Successful Gardener
James H. Schutte
Chives, Cultivated Chives, Garden Chives
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.
9 - 1
4 - 9
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
Full Sun, Partial Sun
8"-24" / 20.3cm - 61.0cm
6"-12" / 15.2cm - 30.5cm
Late Spring, Early Summer
World/Pandemic, North America, Europe, Asia
Spring, Summer, Fall
White, Pink, Lavender
Green, Light Green
Green, Yellow Green
Alpine, Cutflower, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall
Preferred Commerce. All Rights Reserved.