How To Grow Chives


Average Days To Maturity: 80 days

Distance Between Rows: 12 inches

Spacing Between Plants: 6-8 inches apart

When To Plant: Charley recommends planting Chives in mid to late April, but experienced gardeners can plant earlier and protect the young plants with buckets and milk jugs or start them out in a cold frame or small greenhouse. Because Chives are hardy and considered perennials, you can plant them 4-6 weeks before the last scheduled frost in the spring.

Planting Tip: When growing Chives in a pot or container, make sure there is good drainage. This can be achieved by putting a layer of gravel or small rocks in before the dirt.  If planting in the ground, keep the soil free of weeds and water it a bit so that it is moist when you plant.  You do not necessarily have to have an herb garden for Chives because the blooms look great in the flower bed and can help keep pests and some disease from your other plants.

Chives are probably the easiest herbs to grow indoors or out.  Be sure to divide the bulb clumps every few years.  Just dig them up gently and pull them apart.  You can then plant them in other locations or share them with your friends.  In the winter you can dig up some and bring them indoors in a pot to have a fresh supply year round.  Don’t stress if they die back in the winter when planted outdoors, they will come back in the spring.

Preparation and Care: If the soil that you are planting in is poor, then work some compost into the soil or work in some low nitrogen fertilizer such as 5-10-10.

You will need to hoe or VERY shallowly till or cultivate the soil around the plants to keep the weeds under control. Be sure to keep it shallow and not damage the roots.

Make sure there is plenty of air flow around the plants to prevent rot and disease.

Watering: It is recommended that you water Chives when the soil is dry to the touch making sure that you do not overwater.  The soil needs to have proper drainage but make sure that it retains enough water to stay moist and not soggy.

Water your garden (tomatoes and everything else) once a week with a 8-12 hour soaking. This will allow the soil to absorb an adequate amount of water and also limit the time you spend each week watering.  If you use a sprinkler to water, do this during the day so that the plants will have some time in the evening to dry out before dark. This will limit the chances of disease. If you use a soaker hose, you can water at night. Watering with a soaker hose at night is best as it limits the amount of water lost to evaporation and keeps the plants dry which limits the chances of disease. During dry periods you may need to water more often (every 4-5 days), and watering at night is important in water conservation during droughts.

Fertilizing:  Chives do not require a lot of fertilizing if your soil has plenty of nutrients.  If your plants begin to perform poorly, add some 5-10-5 in the spring to help perk them up.  If it’s later in the season, you can use liquid fertilizer but make sure you use half of the recommended dosage.  This can be done every 4-6 weeks if needed.

Harvesting: You can begin harvesting your Chives when the stems are around 6 inches tall.  Use scissors to snip the leaves leaving 1-3 inches above the ground.  The blooms can also be used as garnish.  When the plants are finished blooming in the Summer, cut them back to encourage new growth.

To dry Chives, hang them or lay them flat in a well ventilated and warm area.  It is recommended by some that you store the leaves whole until you are ready to use them and then chop them up.  Others suggest that you chop them and freeze them for later use.

Chives are healthy containing many vitamins such as A and C as well as other minerals.

Common Insect Problems

Chives are not bothered by many insects, in fact they can be planted in your garden to dissuade aphids.

Common Disease Problems

It has minimal disease issues.

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