- Plant Type: Perennial, zones 3 to 10
- Sun: Full sun/part shade
- Plant Size: 1 foot tall
- Culinary Use: Tubular leaves and purple flowers for mild onion flavor
Present year after year, cold hardy onion chives will impress you as the first herb to come up in the garden in spring and last to get frozen back in winter. Easy in a pot or the ground, their hollow, tubular leaves packed with oniony taste will be handy much of the year. Chives grow in compact, grass-like clumps that makes them perfect to plant as a border or edging. They’re also great for containers, even small ones. The clusters of edible purple flowers that top the plant in spring are nice extra for garnishing dishes.
Onion chives prefer full sun but can grow in part shade, especially in southern and desert climates. Plant in spring or fall in compost-rich soil, and enjoy many years of fresh-cut flavor.
Plant Spacing: 8 to 12 inches. Plants Per Person: 1 to 2 for fresh; more for an edible border, depending on your garden size and design.
Secrets to Success »
Chives are carefree once established; water until well rooted in their new home. If you harvest often, fertilize every few weeks with Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food. After a few freezes, cut the plants to the ground; they’ll return in spring. Our pots are thickly planted with seedlings, so you may divide the plants after the first year. This will give you more plants and the leaves will grow larger in diameter if they are not crowded.
Harvest and Use »
Clip leaves as soon as they’re large enough to suit you; cut from the outside of the clump, about ½ inch above soil level. Use chopped fresh leaves on salads, potatoes, or anywhere you want a bit of onion flavor. The leaves lose flavor as they cook, so add them at the end of a recipe. Toss the edible flowers on a salad or soup. Fresh is best, but you can preserve onion chives in oils, vinegars, or herb butters.
Try these garden companions »
- Potatoes, great topped with chopped chives.
- Rosemary in containers or a dedicated spot in the herb garden; both are long-lived and require little care.
- Parsley and tarragon, which mix well with chives in recipes.