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Chives, a delicious herb


Chives are aromatic herbs that are easy to grow. You’ll get an abundance of spicy leaves!

Key chives facts:

Name – Allium schoenoprasum
Family – Alliaceae
Type – Herbs and spices, perennial

Height – 8 to 16 inches (20 to 40 cm)
Exposure – full sun

Soil: ordinary  –  Flowering: summer  –  Harvest: May to October

Caring for this plant from planting to harvest will ensure as years go by that you’ll have nice growth. In the ground or in a pot on the balcony or windowsill, here are all the tips on how to grow them.

Sowing and planting chives

A patch of chives in the ground

How to sow chives

If sowing chives from seed is what you want, best sow directly in the plot anytime from April to May.

  • The sowing of chives is very easy to succeed.
  • Let some of the blooms go to seed so that you can make self-sowing possible.
  • Once the blooming is over, simply shake a few dried flower heads around to make seeds fall off, these will grow into new chive sprouts.

You can plant young sprouts purchased in pots from stores all spring and summer long.

If a neighbor grows chives, just split the bunch in half with a spade or sharp knife, and plant each half: one back in place, the other in your own garden!

Chives in full bloom with pastel violet flowers.Chives, excellent for growing in pots

For growing in pots, on a balcony or a terrace, keep them potted and water regularly, every time the soil is dry.

  • In pots, better to plant in part shade, avoiding at all costs areas of sweltering heat.
  • Watering is required as soon as the surface soil is dry.
  • A larger pot will help chives grow correctly.

Caring for chives

Chive leavesOnce settled in, chives don’t require any care, they grow on their own and multiply quickly.

  • Cut most of the flower stems off regularly to avoid having the plant bolt.
  • But you can let a few of the stems bear flowers and seeds, in order to support self-sowing. This is the key to seeing your chives grow more and more.

Before winter, protect chives from the cold and you’ll be able to harvest all winter long.

  • What is best is to place your chives under a garden cloche or to put them in a small greenhouse.
  • Chives can grow in winter if temperatures stay above 50 to 55°F (10 to 12°C).
  • The leaves die off at the end of fall if it gets too cold, but they’ll start sprouting from their bulbs as early as February if the weather gets warmer.

All there is to know about chives

Harvesting chivesFragrant and spicy, chives are excellent plants to pair with mixed salads, sauces, fresh cheese and omelet during the whole summer and until the beginning of fall.

These easy-growing plants only ask that you be a bit careful not to overwater, or you might make the bulbs rot.

This plant is also quite ornamental thanks to its summer blooming, and it can spread along edges, pathways and flower beds.

The cute flowers form pom-poms about an inch across that are almost always pastel purple. They’re edible, too! Simply chop them up as you would the spice itself. Used in dips, they’ll give a rare, attention-seeking purple touch!

Smart tip about chives

Chives feel comfortable both inside and outside the house.

You can grow them all winter long in the garden or on a windowsill indoors.

The only concern is to provide as much light as you can, and protect them from freezing.

Images: 123RF: barmalini, Matuka Adam; Pixabay: Barbara Baldocchi, Leonie Schoppema, Andreas Lischka
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