Chives Garden Guide

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Chives Care At A Glance

Chives Care At A Glance

  • Cool season, a perennial herb in the Allium family for full sun in pots or in-ground.
  • Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks prior to the last average frost date.
  • Prefers well-drained, organically rich soil with regular moisture.
  • Harvest as needed or allow plants to form attractive small, round purple flowers.

Planting Instructions

Seed Starting Indoors:

  • Use pre-moistened, seed starting mix free from fertilizer in 4 in. peat pots.
  • Sow 10-15 seeds 1/4 in deep with light cover, in each 4 in. pot.
  • Provide consistent bottom heat of 70°-75°F, and cover pots with a humidity dome or kitchen plastic wrap.
  • After emergence, uncover, remove from bottom heat, and place seedlings in bright direct sun or grow lights.
  • Maintain soil moisture as needed.
  • Once seedlings mature (4-6 weeks), harden off for 7-10 days before planting out.
  • Score the bottom of the peat pot, and plant pots as an entire clump with 10-12 in. spacing between each pot.

Direct Sowing:

  • After the threat of frosts, when soil temperatures have warmed to 70°F.
  • Sow 1-2 seeds per inch with a light cover of starting mix or peat, keep consistently moist.
  • Thin seedlings to 2-3 plants every 6-8 inches after emergence.


Chives - Allium Schoenoprasum

  • Round cylindrical leaves like onions.
  • Leaves and pink-purple blooms are edible, mildly spicy flavor like a weak onion.
  • Use for soups, dips, potato, fish, and seafood, and pair with breakfast egg dishes.
  • Note: Heat destroys the delicate flavor of chives, so add at the last minute while cooking.

Garlic Chives - Allium tuberosum

  • Plants have narrow flat leaves and white blooms.
  • Distinctive spicy garlic flavor is prized in Chinese dishes and is said to be indispensable for omelets.
  • Used in a similar culinary fashion as regular chives.


  • Easy and reliable perennial for zones 3-9.
  • Chives are good double-duty plants for edible perennial gardens, borders, or containers.
  • Prefers well-drained soil in a sunny location with consistent soil moisture.
  • Harvest leaves or blooms by cutting fresh leaves with scissors as needed.
  • Mature clumps of chives can be dug and divided in early spring.