How to grow Chives

Allium schoenoprasum

Chives are very tolerant of heavy harvesting, regular cutting of the leaves ensures a continuous supply of young leaves and prevents the plants flowering. Keep watered well in dry weather.

Growing Chives from seed

If sowing indoors, sow seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before transplanting, 1/4" deep and 1" apart in all directions. If direct sowing, sow at any time in the year when temperatures are favorable for germination. The best temperature for germination is 20-25°C. Do not exclude light as this helps the seeds to develop. Grow on in cooler conditions. Can be sown from early Spring, to late Summer.

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 0.98 inches (2.5 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.51 inches (1.3 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 15°C / 59°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Chives about 28 days before your last frost date .

Transplanting Chives

Chives will grow in any well drained soil, in full sun or partial shade. They are also ideal for pots and borders

Can be transplanted as soon as soil can be worked.1 Clumps may be divided and transplanted in spring after first season. Harvest often by cutting 5 cm from the ground.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Chives is a hardy plant.

Harvesting Chives

Snip greens as needed. The leaves can be snipped anytime after the plant is about 6" tall, cutting close to the ground-leaving about 2".

Cut leaves for salads, potatoes, soups anytime 70 to 90 days after planting when leaves are 4" tall or more. Stop harvesting three weeks before the first frost date to allow flowering and for the clump to expand.3

Seed Saving Chives

Chives reseed themselves readily. Collect the small black seeds from dried flower heads.

How long does Chives take to grow?

These estimates for how long Chives takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Days to Germination How long does it take Chives to germinate?
9 days

Average 9 days | Min 3 days | Max 24 days (197)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Chives?
+ 11 days

Average 11 days | Min 2 days | Max 330 days (16)

Days to Maturity How long until Chives is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 111 days

Average 111 days | Min 18 days | Max 691 days (24)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Chives?
= 131 days

When should I plant Chives?

Our when to plant Chives estimates are relative to your last frost date.

When to sow The number of days to sow Chives before or after your last frost date.
28 days before Last Frost Date

Chives Folklore & Trivia

Chives are mainly used for culinary purposes, however, they are a great blood cleanser. They’re not used in aromatherapy due to the odor but are used in some medical preparations for colds and coughs.2

Other names for Chives

Wild chives, Green Onions, Onion chives, Ciboulette

Allium schoenoprasum L.


1 Seed Savers Exchange packet

2 Asian Herbs

3 Harvest to Table

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