How to grow & care for chives
Chives are an easy to grow, perennial herb with gentle onion or mild garlic flavoured leaves. Plant chives amongst your vegetables, where their fragrant foliage is said to ward off pest insects. Chive's grass-like foliage and pink pompom flowers also look attractive in pots or along the edges of garden beds.
Chives are suitable to grow in all climates - in cold regions they may become dormant or stop actively growing during winter, but they’ll re-emerge with new growth when the weather warms up in spring.
Top 5 steps to growing chives
- Choose a full sun or part shade position in your garden or grow in pots
- Improve the soil before planting by adding compost and organic fertiliser
- Harvest chives as needed using sharp scissors
- Large chive clumps can be divided and replanted to increase your crop
- Chive flowers are also edible and they make a pretty edible garnish
- Chive seeds or seedlings
- Scotts Performance Naturals™ Organic Based Soil Improver
- Scotts Performance Naturals™ All Purpose Organic Based Fertiliser
- If growing in pots, Scotts Performance Naturals™ Premium Organic Based Potting Mix
- Garden trowel
- Defender™ Snail & Slug Pellets
Chives can be grown from seeds or seedlings, in full sun to part shade spot. Although chives are frost tolerant it’s best to wait until there is no risk of frost if sowing seed.
Chives are best grown in moist, but free-draining soil. Before planting enrich the soil with Scotts Performance Naturals™ Organic Based Soil Improver and Scotts Performance Naturals™ All Purpose Organic Based Fertiliser - dig these through the top 10-15cm of soil.
In the warm regions chives can be planted year round, while in cold areas it’s best to plant in frost free months.
Planting in the garden
Plant chives seedlings in small clumps, 20-25cm apart and water them in well.
Lightly mulch the soil around established chive plants with an open organic mulch to retain moisture.
Growing from seeds
Direct sow chive seeds into your prepared garden beds or Scotts Performance Naturals™ Premium Organic Based Potting Mix if growing in pots. Sow seeds 5mm deep in groups of 3-4 seeds, allowing 20-25cm between groups apart and cover lightly with soil.
Keep the soil moist while the chive seeds germinate which will take 10-14 days. Mulch around seedlings when they are 5-10cm tall to retain moisture.
Planting in pots
Chives can be grown in medium to large pots that are 30-40cm deep by the same width. Fill the pot with Scotts Performance Naturals™ Premium Organic Based Potting Mix and sow seeds 5mm deep and 20-25cm apart or plant seedlings 20-25cm apart.
Mulch around established chive plants with an open organic mulch to retain moisture.
Harvest chive leaves when you need them - using sharp scissors cut the leaves close to the base of the plant. To keep the plant continuously growing only ever remove ⅓ of the plant at any harvest.
Regular harvesting will promote more growth. If you don’t want to use the flowers or save seeds (from the flower heads) then cutting them off will encourage more leaf growth.
Pests & Diseases
Chives are relatively pest and disease free - in fact chives are said to repel aphids!
Slugs and snails can cause significant damage to young chive plants. Protect your young chive crop by setting beer traps (saucers filled with beer) or use Defender™ Snail & Slug Pellets.