After several years of failing with chives I finally learned that down here in Savannah, GA I need to put tender little chive plants into the ground in the early fall, so they can settle in and grow roots without being burned up in our summer heat. Which leads me to my questions:
1) Harvesting. What percentage of a chive clump can I cut at once, or if I "mow" it, leaving a couple of inches of green, will it grow back?
2) Dividing. Never had to do this before, so I'm baffled, but the chives are so strong and healthy now I think they'll probably go through the summer. My instincts tell me to divide in the early fall, so the "new" plants will have a chance to settle in just like the little ones did last fall.
We love chives (Vichysoisse just isn't the same without chopped chives), and they do freeze beautifully, so I'd love to keep the chives I now have, and increase them for the future. Any guidance will be gratefully received!
You can cut the chive completely at once, it will grow back. I cut them until about 1 inch.
I never divide my chives, they just grow wider. But if you want to divide them, I think the best time is early spring.
My chives do selfsow, so I have enough plants to eat chive when I want.
I agree with Jonna. I'm guessing I cut my chives back 2-3 times throughout the season, trying to get them right before they bloom. If you miss and they bloom, enjoy the blooms first, they are a pretty little ball, then whack them when the balls get too heavy and they flop to the ground. I've had the same two clumps for several years, which just get thicker. I did try to chunk some off last fall to overwinter inside as a house plant, which did not work for some reason, not sure why. It just languished in the pot.
I grow chives in a container...started them from seed several years ago. When we moved to our new home in 2009, I found a small patch of chives growing in the garden in an inopportune spot. I dug them up and put them in a matching pot. They are both doing very well and make a very pleasing presentation together!
I harvest as much chives as I need for whatever meal I'm preparing...usually try to trim the leaves from the back of the pot so they stay nice looking. BTW, chive blossoms are edible. I put them in a dish I make with orzo.
I just leave the pots out in the winter (they're in glazed pots) and let the birds pull off the dead leaves for building nests. They're back each spring, happy as clams!