University of Maryland Extension

Chives

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

flowering chives
Photo: Susan Levi-Goerlich

Description

Chives are small, dainty, onion-like plants that grow in clumps reaching about 10 inches in height. They are a hardy perennial with decorative, light purple flowers.

No herb or vegetable garden should be without chives. A perennial member of the onion family, this culinary herb lends a flavor more delicate than onion to salads, soups, sauces, herbal butters, and vinegars. The bright green hollow leaves can be used fresh or frozen and the edible lavender flowers can be used in salads as well as flower arrangements. Chives can be started from seed or grown from transplants in spring in full sun and well-drained soil. Begin to harvest when plants are about 6 inches tall by snipping leaves from the base of the plant. Divide plants every three years in the spring. As a bonus, this easy to grow perennial makes an eye catching edging for ornamental beds or containers outside your kitchen door while providing fresh flavor all season. 

Culture

Chives demand little care other than dividing when they become overcrowded. They are easily propagated by division or from seed and make attractive border plants. Leave 12" between rows and plants. Can be grown indoors. 

Harvesting

Finely cut the tops of the leaves as they grow and are use fresh. 

Use

Chives are used to impart a delicious, subtle, onion-like flavor to foods. 

chives growing in garden

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