Hints For Growing Chives

We're been raising and eating flavorful chives for 5,000 years.

October 27, 2015
Chives flowering
PHOTOGRAPH BY RANDEN PEDERSON/FLICKR

Chives are bulb plants, although the bulbs are so tiny that you might not realize they're there. Chives produce beautiful, globelike pink and lavender blossoms. A perennial, chives grow to about 18 inches high and thrive in Zones 3 to 9.

Related: 9 Herbs That Make Any Meal Healthier

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Growing Guide 
Soil preparation: Chives prefer well-drained soil. Add aged compost to the soil before planting. 

Planting: In spring, plant chive 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. 

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Organic Fertilizer 

Harvesting Hints 
Use scissors to cut chives about 2 inches above the soil. Before the chive 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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