Growing Chives

Botanical Name: Allium Schoenoprasum

Originating from Asia, chives are a slender, mild-tasting herbs. They add a subtle onion flavour to dishes, making them a popular garnish in salads and as a seasoning in various cuisines worldwide. They’re also rich in vitamins and minerals.

Do you want to learn about growing chives? If so, let’s dive in.

  • Growing Chives
  • Growing Chives
Planting Guide Image

Chives Planting Guide

Method

Direct

Sowing Depth

5 – 10 mm

Season

Spring, Summer and Autumn

Germination

7 – 14 Days @ 18 – 21 °C

Hardiness / Life Cycle

Hardy Perennial

Row Spacing

30 cm

Plant Spacing

30 cm

Position

Full Sun

Days Until Maturity

6 – 9 Months

Storage

Put in a glass jar in the crisper of the freezer.

When to Plant Chives in Australia

What growing
region am I in?
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Cool Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Mar Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Temperate Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Mar Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Jun Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Sub-Tropical Plantable in Jan Plantable in Feb Plantable in Mar Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jul Plantable in Aug Plantable in Sep Plantable in Oct Plantable in Nov Plantable in Dec
Tropical Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jul Plantable in Aug
Arid Plantable in Apr Plantable in May Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jul
Cool Temperate Sub-Tropical Tropical Arid
Jan Plantable in Jan Plantable in Jan Plantable in Jan
Feb Plantable in Feb Plantable in Feb Plantable in Feb
Mar Plantable in Mar Plantable in Mar Plantable in Mar
Apr Plantable in Apr Plantable in Apr Plantable in Apr Plantable in Apr Plantable in Apr
May Plantable in May Plantable in May Plantable in May Plantable in May Plantable in May
Jun Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jun Plantable in Jun
Jul Plantable in Jul Plantable in Jul Plantable in Jul
Aug Plantable in Aug Plantable in Aug
Sep Plantable in Sep Plantable in Sep Plantable in Sep
Oct Plantable in Oct Plantable in Oct Plantable in Oct
Nov Plantable in Nov Plantable in Nov Plantable in Nov
Dec Plantable in Dec Plantable in Dec Plantable in Dec
What growing
region am I in?

Introduction to Growing Chives

Chives, with their delicate onion flavour and graceful appearance, are a delightful addition to any Australian garden. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice, cultivating chives can be a rewarding and straightforward experience. This guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of growing robust chive plants in your Australian garden, ensuring a bountiful supply of fresh, aromatic herbs for your culinary endeavours.

Chives Benefits

Chives offer various health benefits in addition to their culinary appeal. Here are some notable benefits:

  1. Nutrient Rich: Chives are a rich source of essential nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron and calcium, contributing to overall well-being and supporting a healthy immune system.
  2. Antioxidant Properties: Chives contain antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and combat harmful free radicals in the body. These properties can contribute to better cardiovascular health and may potentially lower the risk of certain chronic diseases.
  3. Anti-inflammatory Effects: Compounds found in chives have anti-inflammatory properties that may help alleviate inflammation-related conditions in the body, potentially offering relief from symptoms associated with arthritis and other inflammatory disorders.
  4. Digestive Health: Chives possess certain compounds that aid in digestion and promote a healthy digestive system. They can help stimulate appetite, improve digestion, and alleviate digestive discomfort such as bloating and indigestion.
  5. Potential Cancer Prevention: Some studies suggest that the organosulfur compounds present in chives may have cancer-preventive properties. These compounds may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, although further research is needed to establish conclusive evidence.
  6. Cardiovascular Support: Chives may contribute to cardiovascular health by helping to regulate cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Their nutrient content, particularly their rich reserve of allicin, may aid in maintaining optimal heart function and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

 

Growing chives and regularly including them in your diet can be a simple way to incorporate these health benefits into your daily routine. Whether consumed fresh in salads, soups, or as a garnish, or used as a flavouring agent in various dishes, chives can offer both culinary delight and potential health advantages. However, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before making significant dietary changes, especially if you have specific health concerns or conditions.

How Long do Chives Take to Grow?

Growing chives is relatively quick compared to some other herbs. Typically, they take approximately 80 to 90 days to reach full maturity. However, it’s important to note that you can start harvesting chives for culinary use when they reach a height of around 15 centimetres, even before they have fully matured. Regularly trimming or harvesting chives encourages further growth and ensures a continuous supply of fresh chives throughout the growing season. By maintaining a healthy growing environment and providing adequate care, you can enjoy a steady harvest of chives from early spring to late autumn.

Growing Chives in Pots

Growing chives in pots is a convenient and practical option, especially for those with limited garden space. Follow these steps to successfully cultivate chives in pots:

1. Select a Suitable Pot: Choose a pot that is at least 20 centimetres deep with adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Opt for a pot with a diameter of about 30 centimetres to allow ample space for the chive roots to spread.

2. Choose the Right Soil: Use a well-draining potting mix that is rich in organic matter. Chives prefer slightly alkaline soil with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. Consider adding some perlite or sand to improve drainage and aeration.

3. Plant the Chives: Plant chive seeds or young chive plants in the pot, ensuring they are spaced at least 15 centimetres apart. Plant the seeds or seedlings about 1 centimetre deep in the soil and water thoroughly.

4. Provide Adequate Sunlight: Place the pot in a sunny location where the chives can receive at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. If natural light is limited, consider using a grow light to supplement the sunlight.

5. Water Regularly: Keep the soil consistently moist, but avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. Check the soil regularly and water when the top inch feels dry to the touch.

6. Fertilise Occasionally: Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertiliser every four to six weeks during the growing season to promote healthy foliage development. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate dosage.

7. Prune and Harvest: Regularly trim or harvest the chive leaves, starting from the outside and working your way in. This encourages continuous growth and ensures a fresh supply of chives for culinary use.

By following these steps, you can successfully cultivate vibrant and flavourful chives in pots, adding a fresh and aromatic touch to your culinary creations, even in a limited space.

Growing Chives from Cuttings

Growing chives from cuttings is a simple and effective method to propagate these herbs. Follow these steps to successfully grow chives from cuttings:

1. Select Healthy Chive Plants: Choose well-established and healthy chive plants from which to take cuttings. Look for plants with robust growth and vibrant green leaves.

2. Prepare the Cuttings: Using sharp, clean scissors or garden shears, snip 10 centimetre sections just below a node, which is the point on the stem where leaves emerge. Make clean, diagonal cuts to maximise the surface area for root development.

3. Remove Lower Leaves: Strip off the lower leaves from the cuttings, leaving only a few leaves at the top. This helps direct the plant’s energy towards root development rather than leaf production.

4. Plant the Cuttings: Place the prepared cuttings in a glass of water or a pot filled with moist potting mix. Ensure the cuttings are secure and upright in the water or soil.

5. Provide Optimal Growing Conditions: Place the cuttings in a warm, well-lit area, but avoid direct sunlight, as this can cause excessive drying. Maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level to facilitate successful root development.

6. Monitor Growth: Check the water level or soil moisture regularly to ensure the cuttings remain adequately hydrated. Within a few weeks, the cuttings should develop roots and can be transplanted into their permanent growing location.

7. Transplant to a Larger Container or Garden: Once the cuttings have established a healthy root system, carefully transplant them into a larger container or directly into your garden. Ensure they receive adequate sunlight, water, and proper care to support their continued growth and development.

 

By following these steps, you can easily propagate chives from cuttings and expand your chive garden with healthy, thriving plants for culinary use and aesthetic appeal.

Companion Plants for Growing Chives

When planning your garden for growing chives, it’s important to consider companion planting to promote the overall health and productivity of your crops. Chives, with their natural pest-repellent properties, can be beneficial when planted alongside certain companion plants. Here are some ideal companion plants for chives:

  1. Carrots: Chives can help repel pests such as carrot flies when planted alongside carrots. Additionally, the presence of chives may improve the flavour and growth of carrots.
  2. Tomatoes: Chives act as natural deterrents for pests like aphids and spider mites, which can affect tomato plants. Planting chives near tomatoes can help protect them from these common pests and improve their overall health.
  3. Fruit Trees: Chives can aid in deterring pests from fruit trees, such as apple trees, by repelling insects that can cause damage to the fruit. Additionally, the presence of chives can attract beneficial insects like hoverflies and bees, which contribute to pollination.

 

By incorporating these companion plants alongside chives, you can create a harmonious and thriving garden ecosystem, fostering a healthier and more robust environment for your plants to flourish.

Onion Chives vs Garlic Chives

Onion chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are both members of the Allium genus and share several similarities, yet they also have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Here’s a comparison between onion chives and garlic chives:

Onion Chives (Allium schoenoprasum):

  1. Flavour Profile: Onion chives have slender, hollow leaves with a mild onion flavour and a subtle hint of garlic.
  2. Appearance: They typically have thin, round, and hollow green stems that resemble grass.
  3. Culinary Use: Onion chives are commonly used in various dishes, including salads, soups, omelettes, and as a garnish for their mild onion taste.
  4. Growth Habit: They form dense clumps and are known for their rapid growth, making them a popular choice for herb gardens.

Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum):

  1. Flavour Profile: Garlic chives have flat, broad leaves with a more pronounced garlic flavour, providing a stronger and more distinct garlicky taste compared to onion chives.
  2. Appearance: They feature flat, broader, and more substantial leaves compared to the thin, hollow stems of onion chives.
  3. Culinary Use: Garlic chives are often used in Asian cuisine, imparting a strong garlic flavour to dishes such as stir-fries, dumplings, and noodle dishes.
  4. Growth Habit: They form dense clumps similar to onion chives, but their growth rate is slightly slower.

 

Both onion chives and garlic chives are versatile and flavourful herbs that can add a distinctive taste to a wide range of culinary creations. The choice between the two often depends on the desired flavour profile for a particular dish or the specific preferences of the gardener or cook.

Conclusion

In conclusion, growing chives in your garden, whether in the ground, pots, or indoors, can be a rewarding and straightforward endeavour, providing a fresh and aromatic addition to your culinary creations. By following the guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can successfully grow vibrant and robust chive plants, ensuring a bountiful supply of these versatile and flavourful herbs throughout the year.

From choosing the perfect spot for your chives to understanding their companion plants and the differences between onion chives and garlic chives, this guide has equipped you with the necessary knowledge to embark on a successful chive-growing journey. With proper care, regular maintenance, and an understanding of their growth requirements, you can enjoy a continuous harvest of fresh, aromatic chives, enhancing the flavours of your dishes and adding a touch of greenery to your garden or indoor space.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting your gardening adventures, incorporating chives into your garden can not only elevate your culinary experiences but also contribute to a healthier and more vibrant garden ecosystem. Embrace the joys of growing chives, and enjoy the satisfaction of harvesting these delightful herbs for your culinary delights.