There are so many allies that we appreciate. Growing chives in a pot or garden bed is so easy that it is one of the first things most children grow. Their onion or garlic taste is mild enough that you can eat them straight away, but they are also great as a topping for your baked potatoes or other foods.

Not only the leaves are edible, but also the flowers are edible. Are you looking for a little color for your salads? Chive flowers are perfect for this purpose!

But did I mention how easy they are to grow? Because really, these are some of the best plants for the new gardener in your life. They grow easily from seeds, look good in the garden and are worth the time and effort.

So let's go through everything you should know about chives. Allium additives for your future feasting are available!

Good products for growing chives:

Brief instructions on care

The cultivation of chives is relatively easy and gives dishes a wonderful onion taste. Source: Juan_Sanchez

Common Name (s)Chives, onion chives, bulrush, garlic chives, Chinese chives
Scientific nameAllium schoenoprasum and Allium tuberosum
Days to harvest30-60 days
lightFull sun to partial shade
Water:Even and even moisture
groundRich, fertile, well-drained soils
fertilizer3-3-3 granular, every 2-4 weeks as required
PestsThrips, onion maggots
DiseasesSteaming (mildew based on fusarium or pythium)

All about chives

Allium schoenoprasumAllium schoenoprasum can produce many flowers if it is densely planted. Source: anro0002

First, let's talk about what we call chives. Allium schoenoprasum is the most common botanical name for this tubular leaf delicacy. It is widespread and can be found in the wild worldwide. In fact, it is the only species of Allium that is native to both the Old and New Worlds!

Chive bloom is a valuable commodity for pollinators and blooms in round inflorescences of pink-purple flowers on top of their landscapes (flower stems). Each flower has six long petals that form a star shape, and they are grouped in groups of 10 to 30 flowers per inflorescence. These flowers produce tons of nectar for insect pollination, making them one of the top ten nectar producers in the UK.

The portion we are most familiar with looks very much like a spring onion, but in miniature. The leaves are long, cylindrical and hollow and form in layers from the basal bulb. Several plants can be grouped closely together, creating a mat of this grassy plant.

But the landscapes and the flowers that form at their tips are also edible. The culinary use of chives goes back 5000 years. The Romans believed they had medicinal properties, and the Roma or Roma thought they were useful in fortune telling. Their common names ranged from "chives" or "onion chives" to "rush garlic" with many other variations.

Another species, Allium tuberosum, is more commonly known as "garlic chives" or "Chinese chives". This species looks a lot more like grass than its shallot-like counterparts and produces white inflorescences on flat leaves that have a light garlic taste. Like Allium schoenoprasum, Allium tuberosum grows from an onion, but can spread more easily by itself.

Both have similar growth habits. Neither reaches a height of more than one foot at its maximum size, and in fact the onion chives are often harvested at a height of about 20 cm. The garlic chives can be harvested at a similar level.

Plant chives

Allium tuberosumAllium tuberosum, the garlic chive, has flat leaves and a garlic taste. Source: F. D. Richards

Wondering how chives grow? If so, we go through the first stages of chive cultivation and then move on to the best conditions to get them.

When to plant

Chives are a perennial in the cool season, which means that they often rest in the summer months. Plant either in early spring so that they can ripen before the heat break, or in autumn so that they can grow well into winter. You need a soil temperature of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate.

Where to plant

Are chives perennial? Yes, and therefore you have to plan your internship accordingly. You will come back to the same place year after year.

Either set up a special bed where your chives can thrive, or consider growing chives in pots. Full sun conditions are best in cooler weather, but they can survive in partial shade as long as they get at least 6 hours of sunlight. This makes them a perfect plant to grow in some of these less optimal parts of the garden.

How to plant chives

It's easy to grow chives, but before you can grow it, you need to start it. For a good head start, sow them indoors 6-8 weeks before the final frost. You can then plant out chives as soon as all risk of frost is over.

You can also sow seeds directly in the garden once the soil has warmed up. Sow the seeds at a distance of about 5 cm and not deeper than 1 cm. Once they begin to emerge, thinly 4-6 inches apart.


Chives in the wildChives grow wild in several countries around the world, as well as in gardens. Source: anro0002

But now that we've talked about planting chives, it's also important how to grow them to maturity. Here is a brief overview of everything you need to make your chive plants happy!

Sun and temperature

In most climates, full sun is ideal for your chives to thrive. A goal of 6 hours of sunlight a day is at least okay, but 8 or more hours of sunshine are even better for good growth.

Most chives are hardy up to Zone 3 and perform best in the cooler seasons. Spring and autumn are perfect seasons for your chives. Temperatures up to the 1940s do not disturb them in the slightest. As soon as it falls into the 1930s, a thick layer of mulch protects the onions from cold damage.

Heat is where your chives can have a problem. Many chive plants will rest in the hottest parts of summer. You will return in the fall, so don't panic! Just make sure they have full sun so they can grow back at the right time.

Water and moisture

The best time of day to water your chives is in the morning. This gives enough time for the long leaves to dry and excess water to seep through the floor. If you want, you can opt for watering hoses at the base. This is usually a good choice too.

Chives are moderately drought-resistant, but prefers regular and even moisture. If they make sure they get water regularly, the plants can grow more and repeat harvesting. Try to keep the soil moist but not damp. Using mulch around the plants can slow down the evaporation of soil moisture.


The ground for your chives should be moist as stated above, but must also be rich and well-drained. Sandy soil can provide good drainage, but should be heavily mixed with compost to store nutrients and moisture.

It is recommended to work in 6 to 8 inches of good, rich composted material before planting if you are planting in a bed. Use high-quality potting soil in containers, which is enriched with a lot of composted cow manure or horse manure.


Chive flowersOnion and chive flowers tend to be purple in color. Source: AnneTanne

A balanced granular fertilizer such as a 3-3-3 NPK formula can be applied every 2-4 weeks throughout the growing season. This provides plenty of food for your plants. Scrape the fertilizer lightly into the soil around the base of the plants and pour it well.

It is also an option to use manure or composted plant material as a fertilizer if it has aged well. This provides your plants with a little less nutrients, but improves the soil overall.


Pruning a chive plant is more about harvesting than plant care. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't crop! Indeed, pruning can promote additional growth if done correctly.

Since we will deal with the harvest in a moment, we will concentrate on maintenance for the time being. Deadheading used flowers make your plants look healthy. It also reduces the likelihood of seed spreading outside of your planting area.

When chives rest, some of their leaves turn yellow. Cut them close to the ground and compost them. If your plant suffers from disease or pest damage, you can also cut these leaves off. However, avoid composting sick material.


The chive plant is propagated by seeds or by division.

While we talked about planting chives in the garden above, division is a fairly simple process. Select a large and thick chive chunk in the spring and carefully remove it from the ground. Be sure to loosen the soil to reduce the risk of damaging the roots.

Dust off excess soil with your fingertips and then gently pull apart clumps of 3-5 bubbles. Make sure that each lump has a good root system, and then replant the onion tufts.

Harvest and store

Onion chivesChive leaves are tubular, similar to spring onions, but with a different taste. Source: anro0002

Now that you know how to care for your chives, let's talk about how to properly harvest it. You can enjoy the mild onion taste right away, but we'll also talk about storage!


Questions about when to harvest chives? They don't really have a set harvest time. Most people will harvest chives when they need the onion taste they offer.

Wait for the chives to be 8 to 12 inches in size. Use sterile secateurs to cut the chives near the base of the plant. As with spring onions, you can cut off the entire green part of your chives as long as you let them grow about an inch above the ground.

If you want to use the chive landscapes or flowers for cooking, cut them close to the base of the plant. You will know that it is time to harvest the landscapes when they are at least 30 cm tall and have a tapered tip. For flowers, wait until they are in bloom and brightly colored, and then harvest them before they start to fade.


Garden fresh chives should be eaten immediately after harvesting to get the best taste. However, if you can't eat them right away, you can keep them as soon as you get them out of the garden.

Fresh chives can be placed in a plastic bag with the air pressed out. This way, they keep in the fridge for a few days, but quickly begin to wither.

For longer storage, finely chop the chives and place in ice cube trays. Use just enough water to cover the chives, then freeze it. Thaw in a colander over a bowl so the water can drain before use.

While chives can be dehydrated, they lose much of their taste. Freeze drying is a better way to prepare chives for dry storage.


Garlic clovesGarlic chives have white flowers that differ significantly from onion chives. Source: S.R.G – msucoo93

Chives are absolutely delicious and definitely worth a place in your garden. But what new problems could you encounter while growing these delicious delicacies? Let's talk about it!

Growing problems

Occasionally, a chive chunk can get old enough that the Middle dies out. However, this does not mean that the rest of the facility is not viable. Carefully remove the plant from the ground so as not to damage the roots and pull the living vesicles from the outside of the lump. You can then compost the center and replant the newly divided segments.


Chives are prone to two common pests.

Thrips are really fond of chive flowers. When growing them, you should watch out for these pests, as they suck vital juices out of the plant. Neem oil or insecticidal soap keep these nuisances away from your chives.

As with shallots, spring onions or most other allies, it is Onion maggots poses a risk to your chives. This nuisance are the larvae of the onion fly, which dig into the onions and destroy them. Apply useful nematodes to the ground as they are a useful predator that eats the maggots. Useful nematodes can also reduce the risk of thrips!


Attenuation is a fungal problem that lives in the soil. Caused by fusarium or pythium fungi, newly germinated plants fall over and die. Older chives can also cause root rot. Some biofungicides such as MycoStop work against the spread of fungi. Only plant seeds from sources that guarantee disease-free seeds.

Wrong mildew can cause spotty discoloration or gray, fuzzy looking stains on the leaves If the leaves stay in place too long, they can turn yellow and hang. Copper-based fungicides or neem oil are effective against this problem.

frequently asked Questions

Q: Do chives grow back after cutting?

A: Definitely! These perennials will continue to grow for years.

Q: How long does it take for the chives to grow?

A: It can take between 30 and 60 days for the chives to fully grow, ripen, and be ready for harvest.

Q: Should I let chives bloom?

A: You can if you want. The ability of the plant to form new leaves is not affected. However, if you want to avoid sowing seeds yourself, remove the flowers as soon as they start to fade.

The green thumbs behind this article:
Lorin Nielsen
Lifetime gardener