Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chives
Allium schoenoprasum

Family: Alliaceae
Genus: Allium (AL-ee-um) (Info)
Species: schoenoprasum (skee-no-PRAY-zum) (Info)

18 vendors have this plant for sale.

107 members have or want this plant for trade.

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12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is resistant to deer

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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16 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral theNobody14161 On Jun 13, 2010, theNobody14161 from Kalamazoo, MI wrote:

There is a both an american native strain of chives and a european strain of chives. anyone know where I can get a native strain?

Positive pgcarroll On May 8, 2010, pgcarroll from Belleair, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

So, I'm not really certain that this is the type of chives that I have in the back yard, but the green parts look like what we have - not your "typical" round chives, but ours has rather flat leaves. Great flavor in anything we use it for (a favorite in homemade hummus), and this plant keeps going and going. We've had it in for about 7 years now, and it makes it through blast-furnace summers and freezing temperatures whenever we get them in the winter. I couldn't ask for a better herb. Ours has never flowered. On the issue of spreading, ours is not invasive and pretty much keeps to its original location; of course, it spreads a little bit, but this is not a problem at all.

Positive bonehead On Nov 19, 2009, bonehead from Cedarhome, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Keep one outside your kitchen door for quick clips. If the plant gets too thick, comb through it aggressively with a garden fork to thin out. I've not tried to bring some in for winter, sounds like a good idea since fresh is much better than dried or frozen.

Positive DenverJude On May 26, 2009, DenverJude from Denver, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:

beautiful in flower, tasty in food, drought tolerant and worthy of the flower garden. I love this plant!

Positive jic On Apr 6, 2008, jic from Camberley
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

A tough plant that is tolerant of a variety of growing conditions, but prefers well-drained soil. They are relatively drought-tolerant once established.

Chives are a versatile herb that work well in a variety of styles of cooking, even those in which their use is not traditional (eg Chinese). They are excellent finely-chopped as a raw garnish. Cooked, they develop a distinctive sweet taste. They are generally mild, but they can become very pungent in hot summers, especially if their soil is a little on the dry side.

I buy my chives in the little 'windowsill' pots they sell in the produce section at the supermarket. They are usually between a half and a quarter of the price of the pots sold in garden centres for planting out, and I've had little trouble transferring them to the herb garden. I have found that it's beneficial to let the pots acclimatise on the patio for a few days before planting them. This advice also applies to all supermarket 'windowsill' herbs (commonly chives, basil, mint, coriander, curly parsley, and flat-leaf parsley; others (eg sage) are not unknown). Leave the garden center for less common herbs or unusual/decorative varieties.

This winter, I attempted to bring a pot of chives indoors to provide a winter crop. They became heavily infested with aphids. Since I have never seen chives affected by *any* pests before, I can only assume that I weakened them by mistreating them in some way (overwatered? Underwatered?). I placed the pot outside, where a frost killed the aphids. The pot remains outside, and it has now bounced back with a healthy crop. I may attempt to bring it indoors again next winter.

Positive cmccrell On Jun 30, 2007, cmccrell from Honeoye Falls, NY wrote:

I have this planted in a self-watering tub on my deck. Hardy and, although it seeds profusely, it keeps fairly contained to the tub. Sprouts in very early spring...I was able to cut pieces for baked potato and sour cream while we were still getting snow showers.

Positive Photographer On Apr 10, 2007, Photographer from Moxee, WA (Zone 4a) wrote:

Visually this plant adds its own touch between other flowers in the garden. I much prefer an ornamental anything to the next worst thing that decides to grow in any bare spot.

Positive Gabrielle On Jan 23, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love chives, so this is a must have plant. It will spread fast if not deadheaded! I just cut the whole plant back and it sends up new shoots.

I have read that it is hardy in zones 3-10. Darkness aids germination of seeds. Blooms May-June in my garden.

Positive Gindee77 On May 20, 2005, Gindee77 from Hampton, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

They are a great little filler for a perennial garden. They are useful in cooking and the blooms are pretty spiky looking purple flowers.

Positive Breezymeadow On May 4, 2005, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

One of the easiest herbs to grow from seeds or transplants. Should be (& usually is) in every culinary herb garden. Grows well under various soil conditions, as well as in containers outdoors & in. Makes a lovely kitchen window addition for the winter.

I grew a long border of chives to edge an herb garden, as well as some roses, & when in bloom they were gorgeous. I didn't find them invasive at all, but I used the flowers liberally in salads & to make herb vinegars. The purple blooms turn white or white wine vinegar a lovely pink color & infuse it with a light onion flavor. Any flowers I didn't use in cooking, I consistently deadheaded before they threw seed.

Positive bc43 On May 3, 2005, bc43 from Jefferson, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have been growing chives here in zone 5 for about 7 yrs and have not found them invasive at all. On Long Island they did spread a lot but not up here.

Positive lmelling On Nov 9, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I was given a clump of of chives and planted them at the top of my hillside garden as one of the first plants I put in. It is true they are a little invasive, however, they can be controlled if you're willing to dig and pull out those clumps that spring up. What I've found is that they have become a good deer deterrent to the flowers around them and keep them out of that side of the garden. It's also nice to be able to go out and cut a few if I need them for cooking.

Positive treelover3 On Jul 30, 2004, treelover3 from Minneapolis, MN (Zone 5a) wrote:

One of the easiest of plants to grow. This plant will seed around, but the seedlings are very easy to remove.

Every garden should have at least one chives plant.

Negative conniecola On Jul 30, 2004, conniecola from Lincoln, NE wrote:

My Mother had chives in her garden. They are pretty, but VERY invasive, and if you don't like chives, chives, chives, and even MORE chives, don't plant them.

Neutral CatskillKarma On Jul 30, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

Like the way these grow like weeds here, but they self seed everywhere. Very pretty. I do chopped chives for winter use.

Positive kadawn74 On Jul 29, 2004, kadawn74 from Portland, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is one of the first plants I ever planted, and I remember it being in the yard as a child, always with the purple heads. Last year, for Thanksgiving, I cut what was left, diced it into small pieces, and mixed with cream cheese to put onto celery. It was a nice twist on an old standby. Currently they are growing great under the shade of a lot of potato plants, getting only 2 hours of sun in the afternoon.

Positive RabidWolf On May 16, 2004, RabidWolf from Stoughton, MA wrote:

Planted from division, in sunniest location available in condo patio, approx. 5 years ago, when also planting tomato plants and annuals. Later closed bed and filled with stone mulch, except for this Chive. Lives year-round on the immediate opposite side of a fence from an old Rhododendron and Dogwood. (Roots were a problem when initially creating the original planting bed.)
NO OTHER effort whatsoever. Never even water it!
Location is next to roof run-off, however. Occasionally (every other year) remove dead growth at end of winter, along with other leaf debris.
Always a pleasure to see, even if I forget to use when cooking!
Massachusetts, USA.

Positive Moda127 On Sep 30, 2003, Moda127 from Morristown, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:

Chives are Deer Resistant!

Positive Weezingreens On Feb 23, 2003, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Chives do well in our South-central Alaskan USDA zone 3 climate. The clumped bulblets can be divided periodically, and it will also self-seed around the plant. I've also started plants indoors in the spring from seeds I gathered the previous fall.

I grow chives among the flowers where it's lovely purple-lavender blooms add their own color and texture to the bed. Harvested chive foliage can be used fresh or dried and kept in an airtight dark container for winter culinary use.

Neutral Baa On Dec 2, 2001, Baa wrote:

A bulbous perennial widely grown across the Northern Hemisphere but are truely native to Northern Europe.

Has clumps of grass like, bright green, upright, cylindircal, hollow leaves which have the Allium marker of the distinctive onion smell. Bears tiny, purple or white, bell shaped flowers tightly packed into a rounded head which also carry the mild onion smell.

Flowers May-July

Likes a well drained, fertile soil in full sun. Will form a clump where happy and spreads by small rhizomes. May tolerate some shade and slightly moist soil too.

A must for any culinary herb garden, flower heads and leaves are edible and have a mild onion taste. The leaves are used in salads (flower heads can be used in salad too) mainly but impart a delicate flavour to sauces, soups, cheeses, herb butter, eggs and fish. To use Chives effectively in cookery the flower heads should be removed as they appear and the leaves cut as close to the ground as possible.

Chives are a good companion plant in the flower and vegetable garden too and will help to deter blackfly from roses and carrot fly from finding carrots. A Chive tea can also be made to spray on plant leaves prone to mildew.

Chives have been used as an aid to digestion and to treat anaemia.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gaylesville, Alabama
Juneau, Alaska
Seward, Alaska
Glendale, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Canehill, Arkansas
Peel, Arkansas
Brea, California
Clovis, California
Glen Avon, California (2 reports)
Lawndale, California
Los Angeles, California
Lucerne Valley, California
Merced, California
Mission Viejo, California
Mountain View, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
Yosemite Lakes, California
Aurora, Colorado
Denver, Colorado (3 reports)
Clearwater, Florida
Dacula, Georgia
Fayetteville, Georgia
Hawkinsville, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Chillicothe, Illinois
Hampton, Illinois
Hinsdale, Illinois
Jacksonville, Illinois
Lake In The Hills, Illinois
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Niles, Illinois
Oswego, Illinois
Thomasboro, Illinois
Washington, Illinois
North Manchester, Indiana
Wichita, Kansas
Cynthiana, Kentucky
Falmouth, Maine
Skowhegan, Maine
Cumberland, Maryland
Frederick, Maryland
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Quincy, Massachusetts
Stoughton, Massachusetts
Westford, Massachusetts
Owosso, Michigan
Pinconning, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Stevensville, Michigan
Braham, Minnesota
Grand Portage, Minnesota
Lake George, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Young America, Minnesota
Mathiston, Mississippi
Marshall, Missouri
Saint Louis, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Auburn, New Hampshire
Munsonville, New Hampshire
Roswell, New Mexico
Ballston Spa, New York
Deposit, New York
Hilton, New York
Honeoye Falls, New York
Ithaca, New York
Jefferson, New York
West Kill, New York
Woodstock, New York
Clayton, North Carolina
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Medora, North Dakota
Fort Jennings, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Greenville, Ohio
Lorain, Ohio
Newark, Ohio
North Ridgeville, Ohio
Vinton, Ohio
Enid, Oklahoma
Owasso, Oklahoma
Ashland, Oregon
Grants Pass, Oregon
Portland, Oregon (2 reports)
Brookhaven, Pennsylvania
Milford, Pennsylvania
Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Summerville, South Carolina
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Abilene, Texas
Belton, Texas
Deer Park, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
Pflugerville, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Logan, Utah
Payson, Utah
Jonesville, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Radford, Virginia
Bellevue, Washington
Colville, Washington
Freeland, Washington
Kalama, Washington
Moxee, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Stanwood, Washington
White Center, Washington
Altoona, Wisconsin
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Marinette, Wisconsin
Merrimac, Wisconsin
Pulaski, Wisconsin
Spooner, Wisconsin
Wittenberg, Wisconsin
Kinnear, Wyoming
Riverton, Wyoming
Robertson, Wyoming

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