Chives flowering

Chives: A Growing Guide

Easy to grow, chives are among the earliest and freshest spring herbs.

April 8, 2011

Allium schoenoprasum

Chives are bulb plants, although the bulbs are so tiny that you might not realize they're there. These plants produce beautiful, globelike pink and lavender blossoms. A perennial, chives grow to about 18 inches high and thrive in Zones 3 to 9.
Growing Guide 
  • Soil preparation: Chives prefers well-drained soil. Add aged compost to the soil before planting. 
  • Planting: In spring, plant seedlings in full sun. Keep mulch away from the bases of the plants to improve air circulation and prevent disease problems. Chives compete poorly with other plants, so weed diligently. 
  • Spacing: Plant clumps of up to six chive bulbs 5 to 8 inches apart. Divide large clumps of chives about every 3 years. Dig up the plants and divide them into small clumps with four to six bulbs each. 
  • Fertilizing: Avoid heavy applications of nitrogen. 
Harvesting Hints 
Use scissors to cut chives about 2 inches above the soil. Before the plants flower, harvest from the outside edges of the clumps. After flowering, cut back the entire plant to remove the spent flowerstalks. 
Trivia Tidbits 
Chives have been added to foods for nearly 5,000 years. Native to Asia, they were probably first used by the Chinese. Colonists brought chives with them to America. 

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