Seed Swaps


Allium schoenoprasum

Chives is part of the Allium genus and its scientific name is Allium schoenoprasum.

The smallest member of the onion family, chives are a common herb that grows in clumps of small, dark green spear-like leaves that are hollow. The flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by bees and butterflies. Because of their clumped growth habit, they are rarely referred to in the singular.

The leaves are usually chopped up and used to add a mild onion-like flavor to soups, stews, salads and other dishes. Chives are more pleasing in taste when they are used fresh, and the leaves can be snipped anytime after the plant is about 6" tall, cutting close to the ground-leaving about 2". One of the best ways to store chives is by freezing the chopped pieces flat on a cookie sheet. After completely frozen, scoop them up into a plastic zip-type bag. Doing it this way gives you the ability to use as needed. It also retains the flavor. Chive flowers can also be used in salads and vinegars, and impart their own strong flavor. Chives can be over-wintered indoors for “winter harvesting”.

Chives do not need a lot of care. You may want to divide up the clumps every few years to share with your friends. It’s a great way to start a friends herb garden!

This variety has a spicy fragrance and typically grows to 3.0 cm (1.17 inches imperial) in diameter, blooming in the following colours:   Electric purple and   Bright lavender. The mature flowers are of a pompon form. This variety typically produces fruit in the following colours:   Ao green. The leaves of this particular variety normally show as   Ao green and   Apple green

Chives grows as a perennial and is a flowering edible herb / vegetable. Being a perennial plant, it tends to grow best over several years (approx 3 years and greater).

Chives is known for its clump-forming habit and growing to a height of approximately 25.0 cm (9.75 inches). This plant tends to bloom and harvest throughout the year.

Try planting Chives if you'd like to attract bees to your garden.

Chives is great for inexperienced gardeners and those that like low maintainance gardens.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Chives have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Chives

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Sun

  • Medium

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.

Plant in a location that enjoys full sun / partial sun and remember to water moderately. Zone 3 to 9 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Chives requires a sandy, clay and peat-rich soil with a ph of 5.2 - 8.3 - it grows best in weakly acidic soil - weakly alkaline soil. Keep in mind when planting that Chives is thought of as hardy, so this plant will survive close to or on freezing temperatures.

See our list of companion Plants for Chives to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

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.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

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.

Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!

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.

Latest Chives Reviews

  • filling out nicely

    0 stars

    patanne about growing Chives
  • Cut back

    0 stars

    SarahSmile about growing Chives
  • Chives are amazing. Once it rained a lot when my chives were flowering, and the flowers got soggy, and new chive seedlings started growing out of the flower; they hadn’t even touched the ground!

    5 stars

    Cassian about growing Chives, spare

See all Chives reviews and experiences »


Chives Forums

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    If you grow any plants that are in this group, this is the group for you!! Find out how to plant, grow, nurture, and...

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