Quick Guide in Growing Chives in Herb Garden
Chives are a perennial plant that belongs in the onion family. It's a popular herb in traditional Asian dishes. Chives pair well with savory meat and poultry dishes because of their bright, herbaceous flavor.
If you're new to gardening, we highly suggest growing chives because this cool-season herb is so easy to grow. Even if you're growing from seed using an herb garden kit, you won't have trouble growing chives. And within just a few short weeks, they're ready to harvest! Using an herb kit, you can also grow chives indoors!
Want to learn more about chives - how to prepare your garden for chives, when to plant the herb, and what varieties are best for you? Continue reading this guide!
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Types of Chives
There are varieties of chives used to season everyday dishes: the garlic chives and the common chives.
Common chives (Allium schoenoprasum): This herb has small, slender bulbs with tubular, thin leaves with a distinct blue-green color. Common chives do not grow too big; it reaches about 10 to 15 inches in height. The herb produces edible flowers that are white, pink, or purple, depending on the variety. It’s cold tolerant and is perfect for growing in zones 3 to 9.
Garlic chives (A. tuberosum): AKA Chinese chives, garlic chives look similar to the more popular common chives, but these have flatter leaves with a deep green color. Garlic chives grow taller too, about 20 inches in height with edible flowers and bulbs. This herb imparts a mild garlic flavor. Garlic chives are less cold tolerant than common chives, so these are best grown in zones 4 to 9.
When’s the Best Time to Plant Chives
Because chives thrive in a cool climate, they’re best grown in the spring and fall seasons when the weather’s mild. In the summer, when the heat gets unbearable, chives tend to go dormant until the cold season rolls in.
If you use an herb garden kit and grow chives from seed, grow the seeds indoors for 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost. You’ll need to check the local weather advisory to determine the best time to grow the chive seeds. Keep the temperature to between 60º and 70ºF (15º and 21ºC for faster germination. It will take some time before the chive seeds germinate, so be patient! Once the seedlings are ready for transplanting, work the soil in the spring season.
Preparing Your Garden for Chives
Where’s the best place to grow chives in the garden? Chives thrive in the full sun, although they could grow well in a spot that gets a light shade too (south and Southwest). Use moist, rich, and well-draining soil for faster growth. We suggest adding about 4 to 6 inches of mature compost to give chives the best start. Work the compost into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.
Plant the herb as soon as the soil is workable early in the spring season. Plant outdoors only when the threat of frost has passed.
How to Plant Chives
Choose a sunny spot in the garden, then sow the seeds. While it takes several days before the seeds germinate, the seedlings only take a short time to grow. Once established, minimal care is only needed to grow chives.
Space to grow: You have to give the seeds more room to grow, so space these out about 4 to 6 inches apart in all directions. If the seedlings grow too closely, they won’t produce more leaves.
Amendments: Give the soil a boost of nutrients by adding aged compost and other rich, organic matter to ensure healthy growth. Encourage better blooms and thicker leaves by adding water-soluble plant food into the soil. Top dress with a nitrogen-heavy fertilizer in late spring or early summer to ensure greater yield during the harvest season.
Watering: Check the soil each week, then water only when the top inch of the soil is dry to the touch. Water consistently if the temperature rises.
Weed-control: Add a layer of mulch to control weed growth and maintain soil moisture. Mulch also protects the chives’ small bulbs, which grow near the surface of the soil.
Harvesting: Once the leaves are large enough, you can start harvesting. The flowers are also edible, although we suggest removing them so that the seeds won’t spread all over the garden. Allow divided plants to grow for several weeks before harvesting for better yield.
How to Grow Chives in a Pot
Chives do not grow too big, so they’re perfect for a container garden. There are two ways to grow chives in a pot, growing from seed using an herb garden kit and transplanting starter plants.
Growing from Seed: To start, choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight every day or a partly shady area. Sow the seeds in a 6-8 inch diameter pot with draining holes at the bottom. Just sprinkle the chives seeds in the pot and cover them with 1/4 inch soil. Get a spray bottle and spray with water to keep the soil moist but not wet. Water the chive seeds regularly, and they'll sprout within several weeks. Fertilize the soil every two weeks from spring to late summer.
Transplanting Seedlings: If you use starter plants, choose a sunny spot or a partly shady area to grow the herb. Plant the individual chives plant in a 6-8 inch diameter pot. If you have a bigger pot, you can plant multiple chives plants, but each should have room to grow. Use a light, well-draining potting mix to cover the transplanted starter plants in the same depth as the soil they came in from the nursery. Water the chive plants only when the ground feels dry to the touch. Work organic compost into the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.
How to Grow Chives in a Pot
With an herb garden kit, anyone can build a beautiful herb garden and use fresh herbs whenever! And chives make a terrific addition to an herb garden.
To grow chives in a pot, you can’t go wrong with an herb kit. Chives grow best in very fertile soil, and herb kits like the ECOgardener herb kits come with the perfect growing medium for chives - coconut coir soil. The kit also comes with compact growing pots so you can turn any spot into a mini herb garden, indoors and outdoors!
Growing herbs from seed has never been easy with the ECOgardener herb kit. It makes the perfect gift for beginner gardeners who want to try their hand at growing herbs. But don’t take our word for it; shop now and start building an herb garden you’d be proud to show off.