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Chives

Allium schoenoprasum

Grown and known for its zippy onion taste, chives add fresh flavor to cuisines of all types.  Its bright green stems and purple pom-pom flowers make it a multitasker. Plant it in perennial beds or along cottage garden walkways. Add a few plants to container gardens where they will produce fresh new foliage from spring to frost. Both the foliage and the flowers are edible and added to salads, potato dishes, and meat entrees. Chives are easy to grow and a great herb for beginning gardeners. 

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Light:

Part Sun, Sun

Type:

Height:

From 6 inches to 3 feet

Width:

From 8 to 12 inches

Flower Color:

Seasonal Features:

Problem Solvers:

Zones:

3-10

Propagation

Plant Chives in an Herb Garden

Chives are perennials, which means they come back year after year. Create a garden made up of perennial herbs and enjoy easy-care, fresh flavors for years. Excellent perennial herbs for full sun gardens include sage, thyme, French tarragon, and lavender. Quick-draining soil is essential for these perennial herbs. Plant them in a raised bed to improve drainage, if needed.

These are the easiest herbs to grow.

Chive Care Must-Knows

Chives grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. They tolerate part shade well and will grow and blossom when they receive at least 6 hours of bright, direct light. One of the easiest herbs to grow, chives slowly increase the size of the initial plants and they self-seed, popping up around the garden. Easy to remove, any unwanted seedlings should be pulled. Deadhead plants just as the blooms begin to fade to prevent chives from self-seeding.

Divide chives every three or four years in spring right after new leaves emerge. Dig up the entire clump. Using a sharp spade, cut it into three or four divisions. Replant or share the divisions.

Here's more information about dividing herbs like chives.

Chives do not require fertilizer. In fact, over-fertilizing can be detrimental to chives. Like many herbs, chives have the best flavor when they have slow, compact growth. Soil rich in organic matter usually provides all the nutrients chives require. If the soil is low on organic matter, spread a 2-inch-thick layer of compost over each plant's root zone in early spring.

Their self-seeding habit makes chives a cinch to share with friends and neighbors. Dig up small plants in spring or summer. Pot them in a simple plastic nursery container and share with a friend. Exceptionally tough plants, chives tolerate transplanting well. Water deeply after planting and again a few days later.  

Also try garlic chives, a separate plant species with the same punch of flavor.

Harvesting Tips for Chives

Snip chives as needed with a pair of scissors or kitchen shears, cutting stems near soil. Fresh chives pack the greatest onion flavor; add them to dishes just before serving. Break up edible chive blossoms on salads for lively onion flavor, or sprinkle on egg dishes or cream soups as a garnish. Bottle blooms in vinegar for a lovely pink-tinted brew. To preserve chives, chop stems and dry or freeze in ice cubes.

Plant these easy herbs in containers.

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