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​How to Grow ​​​Chives

​Great for dressing up potatoes and spicing up salads, this easy-to-grow Allium’s pinkish-lavender flowers make an attractive clump or edging in flower gardens.


GROWING GUIDE

Growing Notes

  • While chives will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, they prefer slightly acid soil (pH 6.2 to 6.8) with moderate fertility and high organic matter.
  • Chinese and garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are slightly less hardy, only to Zone 4 without extra winter protection.
  • Chinese and garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) grow up to 2 feet tall.
  • leaf
    The common garden chive has pinkish lavender flowers. The cultivar ‘Forescate’ has rose red flowers. 'Corsica" and 'albiflorum' have white flowers. Chinese and garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) have white flowers.
  • leaf
    Spreading clump of upright, grass-like leaves.

SEEDS

START

Seeds or Seedlings

GERMINATION

7 to 21 days, 45F to 95F

SEED LIFE

3 years

PLANTING

SOIL

Low Fert., Damp, Acid, Droughty

SUNLIGHT

Full Sun, Part Shade

SEEDS

6" to 9" apart

SEEDLINGS

12" to 18" apart

DAYS OF HARVEST

42 to 50

Maintaining

In spring or fall, direct seed onto well-prepared seedbed (covering very lightly), or transplant established plants. (If starting from seed, plants probably won’t be large enough to harvest for at least a year.)

Regular cutting helps keep plants vigorous and healthy and encourages spreading. Keep flowers picked to discourage dormancy in warm weather.

No fertilizer is needed if planted in reasonably fertile soil. Plants harvested frequently benefit from nitrogen top-dressing.

Divide and replant clump in fresh soil every three to five years.

​HARVESTING GUIDE


As long as weeds are kept under control, and they are watered when the weather is very dry, chives will continue to grow.

As soon as the leaves have reached several inches in height, you can start removing the needed portions.

Begin by removing the outer-edge leaves and working inward. Cut the leaves with scissors, leaving 1-2 inches above the ground.

Once flowers appear, purple pom pom flowers on onion chives or white flowers on garlic chives, cut the stems back.

To promote new growth, cut back whenever the height exceeds six inches

Saving Seeds

Allow your existing chive plants to blossom and watch for when they start to dry out and lose their color
If the chive plants are in a windy location or in a place they can be bumped, put a bag over the the flower heads and tighten the opening with a string or rubber band. This will catch the seeds so don't fall away.

Allow flower heads to completely dry out.

Cut the flower heads off of the plants and put them in a bag that has extra room in it for the flowers to bounce around in it.

Shake the bag, dislocating all the tiny black seeds out of the flower heads. The seeds will be about the size of a flea, so look for them carefully.

Store the seeds in a cool and dry location, such as a refrigerator drawer.

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