Looking to add some flavor and color to your meals? Chives are a great addition to any home garden, providing plenty of delicious flavor and strong scents!
Grow your chive plants and find out how to care for them so they yield the best possible harvests. Check out our other Care Guides for edible herbs like Coriander Guide, Rosemary Guide, Citronella Guide, and Basil Guide. Learn what distinguishes these flavorful herbs from green onions and garlic chives.
What are Chives?
Chives are a type of herb belonging to the Allium family. In addition to fresh chives, there are also garlic chives and Chinese chives, which offer slightly different flavors. Chive plants are an onion family members with sword-shaped leaves that grow in clusters. Chive plants are an onion family members with sword-shaped leaves that grow in clusters. The plant has been cultivated since ancient times and is popular in European, Asian, and North African cuisines. The leaves can be harvested multiple times per season, as only the top few inches are taken each time. Chives are an excellent source of vitamin K and contain some iron, copper, manganese, and phosphorus. Its edible flowers can be added to salads, sauces, and garnishes.
Chives are rich in many antioxidants, including lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C, and quercetin. Chives can be used fresh or dried for various dishes, such as soups, salads, potatoes, cheeses, and meats. Like other alliums, chives contain compounds that protect cells from DNA damage and reduce inflammation. Chives also repel aphids, thrips, and other insects, making them useful companion plants in a vegetable garden. Chive leaves can be used in various herbal remedies for menstrual cramps, digestive issues, and headaches.
Fresh chives have a mild onion flavor, while garlic chives feature a more intense garlicky flavor and Chinese chives are more pungent and salty.
All three flavorful herbs need proper care to yield abundant harvests!
Planting Chive Seeds or Bulbs
Chives are a fast-growing and easy-care herb that almost anyone can grow. They’re often started from seeds, although you can also purchase bulbs. Seeds can be started 6-8 weeks before the last frost date indoors, then transplanted outdoors when the weather warms up in spring.
Bulbs or clumps should be planted in early to mid-spring after all danger of frost has passed. Plant them 4 to 8 inches apart in well-drained soil with lots of organic matter.
This herb is a great addition to an edible garden as it adds a mild onion flavor and texture to dishes but grows quickly and easily in direct sun or partial shade. If you’re also looking for something that looks nice, try planting chive blossoms.
These delicate purple flowers add color, texture, and depth to your garden beds. While chive blossoms are beautiful when fresh, they also dry nicely and make stunning bouquets that last for months.
Caring for Chive Plant
There are some ways in caring chive plant.
Proper care is essential for harvesting fresh, flavorful chives. Once planted, water every 1-2 weeks during dry spells with about an inch of water. Regularly apply a balanced fertilizer to provide nutrients and encourage new growth.
The flowers could be picked for use or left on the plant to attract beneficial insects for pollination, but pinch back the blooms when they begin to fade. It will thrive in full sun or partial shade and should be kept in soil that drains properly. Regular deadheading helps keep the chive plants from self-seeding around the garden.
Caring for chives is relatively simple, but the rewards are great. These perennial herbs with a mild onion flavor add a delightful taste to salads, sauces, soups, and other dishes. It can also be dried for long-term use. To ensure that these hardy plants thrive each season, it’s important to practice regular care and maintenance.
Watering in dry weather, providing nutrients through fertilizer applications, and removing spent blooms or seeds from the plant help encourage vigorous growth throughout the growing season. With proper care, it will return yearly to dress up your culinary creations with fresh flavor!
Harvesting and Storing Chives
Chives are one of the easiest herbs to harvest and store. Harvest chives when they are at least three inches in height. Take care not to over-harvest, and cut above the second set of leaves with clean scissors.
The stems will store longer if you keep them damp. After harvesting, use within a few days, or blanch and freeze bunches of chives as single stems or in oil/butter cubes for later use. Chive flowers can be enjoyed fresh or frozen in ice cubes for later use. So, it pairs wonderfully with vegetables, soups, salads, eggs, potatoes, pasta – and much more!
Chives vs Green Onions
Chives and green onions share many similarities but also have some key differences. Also, it are an herb from the onion family, while green onions are a vegetable in the allium family.
Chive leaves are thinner and grass-like, while green onions leave stems that resemble scallions or garlic. Moreover, it has a milder flavor than green onions, with a hint of garlic flavor, while green onions have a bolder taste.
Both chives and green onions are versatile and can be used in various dishes. It can be snipped into small pieces, added to salads, garnished over main dishes, or mixed into compound butter.
Meanwhile, green onion stems can be grilled or roasted to bring out the sweet onion flavor or finely diced as an aromatic in soups, stews, and stir-fries. Additionally, the bloom of the chive plant is edible as well! It has a mild onion flavor with a hint of garlic that pairs wonderfully with salads, vegetable dishes, and even ice cream.
In conclusion, chives are a healthy and versatile addition to various dishes and easy to grow and care for. Their mild flavor and sweet onion aroma make them a great choice for any meal.
They are low in fat and calories and contain vitamins and minerals to boost your nutrition. With its versatility, ease, and health benefits, it’s no wonder chives have become a go-to herb in many kitchens.
Elyssa Goins is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mom of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has been published in a Scientific Journal, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.