How to Grow Chives

How to Grow Chives

Growing chives is simple to do, especially since it is a low-maintenance plant that requires no fuss or elaborate care. Read this article to gather some valuable information on how to grow chives.
Gardenerdy Staff
The scientific name of chives is Allium schoenoprasum. It belongs to the Allium family, and happens to be a small species of onions. This perennial evergreen grass-like plant grows to a height of 45 cm. It can be identified by its slender stems and leaves, purple-colored flowers, and small bulbs. If you are growing chives at home, it'll make all the difference in the world to use it as a flavorsome garnish for a dish. The best part is that the entire plant is edible, where the bulbs can be used as a substitute for onions. Let's take a look at how you can grow this beautiful plant at home.
Growing Chives from Seeds
To grow chives from seeds, you have to first purchase the seeds from a convenience store, flower shop, or garden center. There are two common varieties of chive seeds that are used for growing chives―standard and garlic. The standard variety produces chives with an onion flavor, whereas the other carries a garlic flavor. The steps involved while growing chives are as follows.
Soil Preparation
Chives can be grown in almost all types of soil, provided that it has good drainage. The ideal pH range of the soil should fall between 6 to 7. Uproot weeds present in the soil (if grown directly outdoors) before planting the chive seeds. You can add some organic compost to further enrich the soil.
Planting
Sow a few seeds in a pot a little before spring. Keep the pot in a warm and dark place; water it regularly. The warmth, moisture, and nutrients, are all that it needs to sprout. The seedlings will emerge within 10 days. After a month, when they are big enough, you can transfer them to an outdoor location where it can receive a good amount of sunlight. In general, this plant requires partial sunlight in a semi-shaded region during the summer.

The plant cannot thrive as nicely if it is not exposed to adequate amounts of sunlight. Place the seeds at a depth of 10 cm in garden soil. It can also be grown indoors in pots or containers. While growing chives in a pot, you should keep it near a southern or western window where it can receive direct sunlight.
Watering
After planting the seeds, you have to water it regularly until the roots take form in the soil. While the plant can tolerate drought conditions, it does better when the soil is uniformly moist, but not wholly saturated with water. Therefore, you must water the plant as soon as you notice that the compost has dried out. If you are planting chives indoors, make sure that the pot/container has a little opening at the bottom to release excess water; this can cause damage to the roots, otherwise.
Weeding
Weeds overpower a plant for its nutrients and moisture. Chives cannot compete with other plants for the same. As a result, weeds may adversely affect a plant's growth. Regular weeding is crucial, in order to grow healthy chives. First, dig up the bulbs carefully from the soil, and then remove the weeds right from the roots. Once you've uprooted them all, plant the bulbs back into the soil as previously mentioned in step one.
Feeding
The only time you have to feed the soil with additional nutrients, is once the seeds are sown. Later, you do not have to feed the chive plants with manure unless the condition of the soil is extremely poor. If that is the case, you have to add organic compost to the soil once a month.
Trimming
When the chive plant is big enough, cut 2-3 inches of the top. Trimming promotes the growth of fresh, new shoots.
Harvesting
Chives are a fast growing plant and you can start harvesting them a year from planting them. As soon as you notice the appearance of flowers, get rid of them or the leaves will lose their quality. In the first year, harvest the plant in moderation and remove only two-thirds of the new growth. From the second year, more aggressive harvesting is permissible. Use scissors while harvesting and make sure to leave behind 2-3 inches of the plant; do not cut the chives too close to the bulbs or you will stunt the growth of new shoots.
Chives have several health benefits too―they're a good source of vitamin C and other nutrients such as potassium, flavonoids, and saponin. With time, you'll be an expert in planting and harvesting chives.