Garlic Chives, Chinese Chives, Chinese Leek
Allium tuberosum

Family: Alliaceae
Genus: Allium (AL-ee-um) (Info)
Species: tuberosum (too-ber-OH-sum) (Info)
View this plant in a garden

Category:

Herbs

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us

Height:

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

Spacing:

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

Hardiness:

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)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Danger:

N/A

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Foliage:

Aromatic

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

4.5 or below (very acidic)

4.6 to 5.0 (highly acidic)

5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Regional

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

Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)

Peel, Arkansas

Sherwood, Arkansas

Alameda, California

Amesti, California

Castro Valley, California

Chico, California

Elk Grove, California

Los Angeles, California

Lucerne Valley, California

Merced, California

San Gabriel, California

Santa Barbara, California

Tracy, California

Aurora, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Colchester, Connecticut

Stratford, Connecticut

Bartow, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida (2 reports)

Hollywood, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Largo, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Emmett, Idaho

Niles, Illinois

Quincy, Illinois

Thomasboro, Illinois

Tuscola, Illinois

Washington, Illinois

Carmel, Indiana

Macy, Indiana

South Bend, Indiana

Wichita, Kansas

Ewing, Kentucky

Pleasureville, Kentucky

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Marrero, Louisiana

Cumberland, Maryland

Millersville, Maryland

Valley Lee, Maryland

Clinton, Massachusetts

Halifax, Massachusetts

Mashpee, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Southborough, Massachusetts

Livonia, Michigan

Owosso, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

Eveleth, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota (3 reports)

Marietta, Mississippi

Waynesboro, Mississippi

Goodman, Missouri

Jackson, Missouri

Marshall, Missouri

Blair, Nebraska

Jersey City, New Jersey

Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Plainfield, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Los Alamos, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Croton On Hudson, New York

Ithaca, New York

Lake Grove, New York

Durham, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Weaverville, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Cincinnati, Ohio

Fort Jennings, Ohio

Newark, Ohio

Vinton, Ohio

Edmond, Oklahoma

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Jay, Oklahoma

Ashland, Oregon

Albrightsville, Pennsylvania

Cranberry Twp, Pennsylvania

Hanover, Pennsylvania

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Valencia, Pennsylvania

Charleston, South Carolina

Clinton, South Carolina

Hampton, South Carolina

Laurens, South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Elizabethton, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Abilene, Texas

Austin, Texas (3 reports)

Belton, Texas

Boerne, Texas

De Leon, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas (3 reports)

Garland, Texas

Houston, Texas (3 reports)

Humble, Texas

Huntsville, Texas

Kingsland, Texas

La Porte, Texas

Pflugerville, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

Southlake, Texas

Spring, Texas

Wichita Falls, Texas

Ogden, Utah

Jonesville, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Radford, Virginia

Battle Ground, Washington

Colville, Washington

Freeland, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

Kinnear, Wyoming

Riverton, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

27
positives
1
neutral
6
negatives
RatingContent
Positive

On Nov 4, 2014, Bear_with_me from Vancouver, WA wrote:

When I was about 15 years old, I saw photos of Chinese Chives in a catalog, and ordered some seeds for my garden in rural Illinois. I grew up and moved many times, ultimately settling in South West Washington State. In my 50s, on a visit helping my parents in their yard, I saw clumps of Chinese Chives in a neglected part of their yard, dug them up, and planted them in my own garden. In a way, they are like an heirloom plant that I inherited from myself, 45 years later.

I had also obtained seeds of a commercial vegetable variety, that grows taller, with bigger leaves, and blooms earlier. I grow those in a raised bed. I have also grown them in 1/2 wine barrels to excellent result. My other half grew up in NE China were the plant is used, finely chopped, as a dumpling f... read more

Negative

On Jan 30, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The allium I grow under this name is a pestiferous self-seeder, and one of the more aggressive garden plants I've grown. Vegetative increase isn't troublesome, it's the self-sowing that's the problem.

The white September flowers are pretty. But seeds ripen and begin to fall before most of the flower buds have opened. To deadhead means sacrificing most of the flowers. And the seedlings don't pull up intact---the root doesn't come out without some careful trowel work.

From the number of positive reviews here, it does sound as if there are two different plants circulating under the same name. Dilys Davies' book indicates that A. tuberosum and A. ramosum are often confused, a confusion which goes back to Linnaeus. Both are called "Chinese chives."

Negative

On Apr 15, 2013, nmbirder from Albuquerque, NM wrote:

Extremely invasive. The worst thing in the world at the base of some nice rose plants. Can't kill it. Stinky.
Only redeeming factor is that several kinds of "good" wasps are attracted to the flowers.

Positive

On Sep 8, 2012, devildog2 from Humble, TX wrote:

Planted 2 2" pots in the yard in filtered sun about 7 years ago. Watered them occasionally the first few months; after that, they were on their own. They have bloomed and gradually increased until each is about 12" in diameter, but I haven't experienced the invasiveness--maybe because I deadhead. They survived the 2011 Texas drought with no problem.

Positive

On Sep 3, 2012, trackinsand from mid central, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

i keep it in a pot and trim it regularly...so no problem with spreading out of bounds. i use it in the kitchen in place of garlic for many dishes.

Positive

On Mar 22, 2012, montsho from Tracy, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

An all purpose plant. Works in every situation. You can eat it, attract butterflies with it, deter pests, and use it as a companion plant to hide daffodil leaves. It does spread easily but all you have to do is pull up the ones you don't want.

Positive

On Jan 15, 2012, strawberryhill from 5a, IL wrote:

There are two types of garlic chives: The short ones with smaller leaves are Chinese chives, they are invasive if you don't cut the flower off before they become seeds. The taller type with bigger leaf is less invasive, mine hasn't spread for the past decade. Oriental stores sell the bigger and taller leaves for soup and dumplings. The short ones can be used in dumplings, and it's better-tasting than green onions.

Negative

On Sep 30, 2011, rabbitsdiner from Carmel, IN wrote:

I must say I am surprised at all of the glowing reviews for this plant. While beautiful in bloom, this invasive plant the most difficult I've ever battled! I loved it for the first few years. Now every year I dig out large amounts of this stuff. (And it weighs a ton in large amounts!)I am diligent in my deadheading. It still spreads like crazy. A few weeks ago I had enough and hit a bunch of it with round up. I don't think it's even noticed! I will try the "keep it cut low" approach. I'm my own worst enemy. I can never resist letting the darned things bloom! Too bad they are so pretty. Lovely but eeevil ! :-)

Positive

On Sep 25, 2011, BotanyDave from Norman, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

With these in the garden, I shall not want for green onions! :)

Positive

On Sep 20, 2011, BambooSue from Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I only WISH this plant would be invasive in my balcony. My seedlings simply fail to thrive, possibly due to the high wind here.

My mom used to grow these successfully in our Louisiana garden, but no matter how big a patch she planted, we always consumed them at a faster rate than we could grow them. In Chinese cooking, these chives are used as dumpling filler (25%-75% of the total fill, remainder using shrimp, pork, chicken, or tofu). THEY ARE MORE ADDICTIVE THAN CRACK. If you are tired of bland vegetarian dumplings, these are the way to go.

Positive

On Jan 22, 2010, musaboru from Ontario, CA wrote:

I am not sure if all clones are fragrant, but mine has flower with light and pleasant fragrance, it smells almost like fabric softener. I was surprised by that. I cut them and inside the scent was more noticable. Of course, the rest of the plant will still have that garlic/onion smell.

Positive

On Sep 1, 2009, Sunshinesw from Cape Coral, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I love these plants, it's like never ending supplies. I trim the Garlic Chives way down every 3-4 weeks eat some and give away a lot. It grow year round here, I've never seen flowers on mine due to trimming 3-4 weeks. They multiplies by the root system.

Positive

On Feb 13, 2009, redring from South Bend, IN wrote:

This chive is verry pretty. I do not tend to use it for cooking like my regular chive. I dont seem to get as many plant starts either. If you get a lot of plants just keep them cut low. Or else you can offer them to friends , family, freecycle maybe? I bet many people would be happy to take them. I gave chives to both my neibours last year.

Positive

On Nov 26, 2008, rntx22 from Houston, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Love them! So easy to grow, can't kill em! I have them in containers, I have never deadheaded, and have not seen them growing anywhere else. One of the containers I have them in does not have drainage holes, so after a lot of rain the container gets waterlogged. Even when I have forgotten to dump the excess water and they sit there for days and days in it, they survive - and look fine! I also have one container that I always forget to water for weeks and they survive it as well. Does better well-watered than when dehydrated though. Yummy.

Positive

On Jun 26, 2008, kittyluv from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

I planted from seed in april and have many plants that are doing great in 110 degree temperatures. I was really surprised at their hardiness. I haven't gotten flowers yet and I am looking forward to them.

Negative

On Apr 3, 2008, birder17 from Jackson, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant spreads by seed aggresively. I did get rid of it by diligently cutting off all the seed heads as they bloomed. It's pretty but I can't keep up with it.

Positive

On Aug 29, 2007, WaterCan2 from Eastern Long Island, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Good with baked potato and sour cream, its culinary uses are limited only by one's imagination. I bring my plant in before winter, now in it's 3rd season.

Positive

On Apr 28, 2007, ManicReality from Houston, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

I love these little things! One day at the organic farmers market, I was discussing and wishing with another gardener to grow chives. Next thing I knew these little guys popped up in my yard. How thrilling :) I remember playing with the little onions as a kid and thinking they were the neatest things in the world. They just sort of showed up, I'm hoping they spread themselves out, If I remember right, they will.

Positive

On Feb 23, 2007, award from Santa Barbara, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This plant has it all--beautiful blooms, hardy green foliage and great taste. My 2-year-old granddaughter sits in the garden and eats these chives every time she visits.

Positive

On Oct 10, 2006, Dinu from Mysore
India (Zone 10a) wrote:

These are also called Chinese Chives. Easy to grow perennials. Tasty to eat, with a subtle delicate flavour. If you want just a hint of garlic in any dish, without the overpowering odour of regular garlic, try snipping a few leaves of garlic chives into it. They are particularly good in quick, stir-fried dishes.

Very pretty plant with fresh green leaves and round white flower heads with star-shaped little flowers. It needs very little water and hardly any care. Grow this in a pot or hanging basket in your kitchen adn snip off just as many leaves as you need each time. The more you snip, the more leaves they will produce.

The also make excellent cut flowers and are also good for drying - hang a bunch of them upside down to dry and use in dry flower arr... read more

Positive

On Aug 13, 2006, pajaritomt from Los Alamos, NM (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love this plant. I use the leaves stir fried with meat or seafood. I sprinkle flowers on salads. It does spread readily over time, but I find more uses over time so I so not object so far. The lacy flowers are lovely in late summer. One can cut them off before they go to seed to slow spreading. It is easy to dig out as well.

Positive

On Mar 16, 2006, Kauai17 from Leander, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love this herb. It grows great here in Tx. It survived the freezes and has come back very healthy this year. I prefer cooking with this herb over regular chives. I like that the leaves are broader and I prefer the stronger taste.

Positive

On Mar 12, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

Very pretty in bloom, but be sure to deadhead or they'll take over! Blooms in August-September in my garden.

Negative

On Feb 1, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I agree with hemlady. If you allow Garlic Chives to seed, they'll spread like wildfire. I found out the hard way. I'll stick with plain old chives.

Positive

On Jan 21, 2006, Burnet from Ashland, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:

Unlike regular chives, which tend to flop and fall over unless regularly trimmed throughout the season, clumps of garlic chives stay green, tidy and attractive for months. This makes them more useful as a low-maintenance edging.

Positive

On Sep 25, 2005, wetdogfarm from Eveleth, MN (Zone 3a) wrote:

Definitely hardy to zone 3a. I have had it here for years with no die out. I have always deadheaded it, it has remained one polite clump for years. Great late season plant for migrating butterflies, especially Milbert tortoiseshell.

Positive

On Sep 5, 2005, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I ADORE this herb!

The leaves can be used in any of the ways one would use regular chives, & are also cooked as a vegetable in itself in Chinese cuisine.

The lovely white flowers also retain the garlic/onion taste of the leaves & can be used as tasty salad additions or food garnishes, but are quite sweet-scented & are a butterfly & honeybee magnet in the garden.

While the seed heads are attractive & provide winter garden interest, this plant is a prodigious self-sower & can become invasive if not deadheaded religiously. However, the young seedlings are easily pulled &/or transplanted.

Positive

On Jul 29, 2005, angelam from melbourne
Australia wrote:

I grow, and eat, this plant in volume. It does self seed easily, but it is easy to remove seed heads before the seeds mature. I was surprised at the comment that they were too strong to eat raw, as that is the way I always eat them. I then read that the leaf bases should be avoided raw, I tried them and tend to agree. The leaves themselves however are very pleasant. I find them prone to aphid after flowering and ususally cut it down to the ground and let it come again. The flowers are attractive and bees love them.

Positive

On Jul 7, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I use it as decoration on plates at eating time, on baked potatoes, in salads. I started growing it last year. Doing great.

Negative

On Sep 18, 2003, hemlady from Melvindale, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:

This plant is very invasive. My neighbor planted them along the fence line several years ago. I now have them coming up all over the place in my yard. To prevent further spread, I cut off the seed head before it blooms to prevent the plant from seeding and further spreading.

Positive

On Sep 11, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I have grown this plant from seed for years, and love to cook with it. It is a wonderful plant to attract pollinators to the garden, and I have envelopes full of the medium sized, hard, black seeds which I have saved to make borders (like liriope) in my future perennial herb and veggie garden, which is currently under construction. They do reseed rampantly, so cut off those seed heads and save the seed for your friends. I dried the seed heads in paper bags with holes cut in the sides, hung up in a warm attic area. A very small patch of plants will produce voluminous seed!

The plants are quite hardy and stay green until really cold weather, and here in Northcentral Florida I hope my garlic chive borders will stay green all year long. These are large plants, much bigger... read more

Positive

On Jun 13, 2003, troy from Hanover, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Great for culinary use, but I have had some trouble starting saved seed. I feel it is best left to fall on the ground to come up in the spring unless you are collecting to trade or sell the seed.

Positive

On Jan 4, 2003, blush from fonthill, ON (Zone 6b) wrote:

Terrific lacy white addition to the late summer garden here in S.Ontario. Get rid of those seeds...a rampant self seeder

Neutral

On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Garlic chives is a clump-forming onion family member which may be grown for both culinary and ornamental purposes. Features chive-like, gray-green leaves up to 12" long which may be used in cooking in the same manner as chives (Allium schoenoprasum). Tiny, star-shaped, white flowers with brown striped tepals appear in loose clusters (umbels to 2" wide) atop leafless 9-18" stems in late summer into fall. Plants will colonize, and a small planting can expand rather quickly. All parts of the plant have an oniony smell when cut or crushed, however the flower scent is more suggestive of violets.