Allium Species, Chives, Wild Chives, Flowering Onion

Allium schoenoprasum

Family: Alliaceae
Genus: Allium (AL-ee-um) (Info)
Species: schoenoprasum (skee-no-PRAY-zum) (Info)
Synonym:Allium acutum
Synonym:Allium alpinum
Synonym:Allium broteroi
Synonym:Allium buhseanum
Synonym:Allium foliosum
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage


This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Medium Purple

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gaylesville, Alabama

Juneau, Alaska

Seward, Alaska

Glendale, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Canehill, Arkansas

Peel, Arkansas

Brea, California

COARSEGOLD, California

Clovis, California

Glen Avon, California(2 reports)

Lawndale, California

Los Angeles, California

Lucerne Valley, California

Merced, California

Mission Viejo, California

Mountain View, California

Pedley, California(2 reports)

Rubidoux, California(2 reports)

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

Sunnyslope, California(2 reports)

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 16, 2017, Adrienneny from New Jersey 6b, NJ wrote:

I grew this from seed. The flowers pack a spicy flavor. It took three seasons to get it looking like the photo I posted. I'm guilty of overwatering it but it's holding up like a champ.


On Jun 13, 2010, theNobody14161 from Mahtowa, MN 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?


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.


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.


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!


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 ... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Chives are Deer Resistant!


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.


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 ... read more