Chives, Allium

The delicate onion flavor of chives is best enjoyed fresh. Mix chives into dips or sprinkle them on salads and baked potatoes.



Chives grow best in full sun. The soil should be fertile, moist and well drained, but chives adapt to most soil conditions. These plants are easy to start from seed, but they do like the soil temperature to stay above 65° F before they germinate, so seeds started directly in the garden are unlikely to sprout before late spring or early summer.


Chives are decorative enough to be included in a mixed or herbaceous border and can be left to naturalize. In an herb garden, chives should be given plenty of space to allow self-seeding.


A. schoenoprasum forms a clump of bright green, cylindrical leaves. Clusters of pinkish purple flowers are produced in early and midsummer. Varieties with white or pink flowers are available.

Features: foliage; form; white, pink or pinkish purple flowers

Height: 8–24"

Spread: 12" or more

Hardiness: zones 3–9

Notes: Chives spread recklessly as the clumps grow larger and the plants self-seed. Chives are said to increase appetite and encourage good digestion.

Back to top

Tips in your inbox


Sign up for my monthly E-Newsletter for botanical business news and tidbits for plant and gardening lovers!