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Chives – Allium schoenoprasum - Advice and information 

Chives is native to cool regions of Europe, it grows on mountains, slopes and exposed rocky outcrops of ground. Chives are the smallest and mildest of the onion family and are extremely hardy plants. Chives are a regular occupant of cottage gardens. They are well suited to being grown in containers of almost any type, and are particularly happy in Terra Cotta pots.

Chives - a hardy perennial - reproducing itself from small bulbs – growing to 12 inches tall. It is propagated by division every three to four years; the bulbs are teased apart and replanted into rich soil, plant about 8in (20cm) apart in spring or autumn. Plants may be raised from seeds sown in shallow drills in April.

 The plant should not be cut until their second year. Whilst chives will grow almost anywhere, they seem to have a better flavour if grown in sunny, dry situations. Not being allowed to get too lush with watering or over-feeding.


Chives are mildly antibiotic, also an appetite stimulate and will help in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Almost any medical attribute than van be placed at the door of Garlic, can also be assumed for Chives - though slightly lesser in effect.


The common Chives plant is a veritable store of many vitamins and phytochemicals beneficial to human health. In particular, Chives is abundant in the Vitamins A and B, together with being a good source of Calcium and Iron.

Chives have a mild onion taste, chop and add to soups and stews. Include them in omelettes or add to sandwich fillings. Use the flower heads as a garnish. Add to mixed leaf salads or add finely chopped chives when making bread. Sprinkle over mashed potatoes for a wonderful alternative flavour.

 Growing Chives

Chives can either be grown from seed, or old clumps can be divided quite easily to give extra plants.

Seed Sowing Chives.

Herb Chives growing in potChives Seeds should be sown in the spring months - best in a pot of seed compost or other multi-purpose compost. When the seedlings are a few inches high, you can separate them into clumps of a dozen seedlings for quick establishment in their permanent growing position. The Chives will soon spread into sizable clumps.

Division of Chives

 Well established clumps of Chives can easily be divided at any time of year in the growing season - Spring to Autumn. (Best not to try dividing Chives in the winter months.

Chives are very happy in all manner of containers - don't let them dry out, and feed them annually with a dressing of Osmocote. Alternatively a liquid feed will do the job, but will have to be applied every three or four weeks. Use multi-purpose compost mixed 50/50 with garden soil for containers, and don't stand the container in full sun. It will be ok if sheltered by foliage from surrounding plants, or even in semi-shade.

Permanent position should be with plenty of humus rich soil, or top dress with multi-purpose compost each spring.

Problems with Chives Herbs

Chives - even though a member of the 'onion' family - does not suffer from onion fly or white rot normally. Thrips have been recorded as being a bit of a pest on newer plants.

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