How to Grow Chives – A Guide to Growing Chives
Chives come in two varieties – the one most people know, Ordinary garlic with the pink flowers which has a mild onion flavour; the other is Chinese or garlic chives which has white flowers and a mild garlic flavour.
You can grow both varieties of chives easily in a pot in most types of soil, they like light shade or full sun. This makes them ideal to grow on a windowsill in the winter. If planted outside in the summer the bees will love the flowers which are also edible.
Varieties of Chive
Ordinary chives have pink flowers and a mild onion flavour.
Chinese or garlic chives have white flowers and a mild garlic taste.
Pests and Problems with Chives
If you allow the flowers to form on your chives it will stop more leaves from growing so regular harvesting is recommended unless you want to use the flowers.
Sowing & Growing Chives
Seeds should be sown thinly between March and July. A small pot or modules are ideal and should be kept in a warm place between 20 to 25ºC .
The chive seeds can take up to three weeks to germinate.
It is best only to thin if very overcrowded.
The seedlings can be transplanted into soil or multi-purpose compost in 15–20 cm (6–8 inch) pots.
Chives are a perennial so they die back over the winter (unless grown indoors). The plants will re-emerge again in the spring. This is the time to split pot grown plants and replant in to two pots. This will stops it being pot bound.
The leaves are best cut with scissors at ground level.
Cutting will encourage more leaves to grow.
Chives grown outdoors can be harvested between May–October.
Eating & Storing Chives
The flowers (but not the flower stalks on Ordinary chives) are edible and make an attractive garnish.
The mild flavour and the texture of chives will be spoilt by intense cooking. It is best to snip the leaves into small pieces and add to cooking just prior to serving.
With either a mild garlic or mild onion flavour chives are a great accompaniment to all sorts of salads. Chives are versatile and can be used to add subtle flavouring to chicken, white fish, cheese, eggs as well as mayonnaise, soups and sauces. Well worth a small pot growing on your windowsill.