Chives are bulb-forming herbaceous perennial plants.
They are a commonly used culinary herb. Chives taste between mild onion and garlic. It has edible purple flowers that are used in salads. In addition, chives have insect-repelling properties that can be used in gardens to control pests.
You can grow chives indoors easily.
Botanical Name: Allium schoenoprasum
Types of Chives
Onion Chives or Common Chives, Garlic Chives, Giant Siberian Chives, and Blue Chives are the different types of chives.
Chives can be grown from seed. Once they're well-grown, you can divide them for multiplication.
Growing Chives from Seeds
It's not hard to grow chives from seed. If you live in a warm climate, plant chives after the summer season, while in a cold environment, sow the seeds one month before the last frost date or when warm weather sets in.
Sow seeds 1/4 inch (1 cm) deep in the soil and keep them where they receive indirect sunlight. The seedlings usually appear within one to two weeks, depending on the weather conditions. They're ready to be transplanted after three to four weeks when they reach two to three feet tall.
Growing Chives from Division
This method of propagation involves dividing clumps into smaller pieces.
Find an established chive plant. Soften the soil around the plant by watering. Dig the plant without damaging the bulbs. Separate the small plants from the clump. You can plant 3-4 small plants together in an 8-inch deep pot with the same width.
Choosing a Pot
Select a pot that measures at least eight inches in diameter and depth. You can plant five to six chive plants in one such container. Then, when the plant becomes bushier, divide it and propagate.
If you plant only one chive in chives, it takes too long to spread and become bushier. So, it is suggested to plant 5-6 of them together.
Chives need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. If you're growing them indoors, put the pot in a south-facing window. In tropical climates, they prefer 4-5 hours of daylight.
For growing chives, use light and porous potting soils. Add aged manure or organic fertilizer when planting to potting soil. This will help increase their nutrient content and improve the overall quality of the soil.
Regularly water plants so that they don't get too dry. Check whether the topsoil is dry before watering.
Ensure the soil is moist but not soggy; allow the excess water to drain away from the bottom of the container. If you're growing it for its flowers, you may reduce watering to encourage flowering.
In winter and rainy seasons, reduce watering.
Add compost during the mid-season to encourage good growth. You can also supply liquid fertilizers once in 2-4 weeks.
Prune the dead flowers regularly. After 60-90 days of planting, the herb will be ready to harvest. Then you can trim the leaves regularly. Remove dead and yellow leaves.
Pests and Diseases
Chives are susceptible to various types of insects, including spider mites, mealy bugs, scale insects, aphids, and even white flies. If any such infestations occur, spray the chives regularly with organic insecticides.
Root rots can be prevented by avoiding overwatering.
Chives are ready to pick once they reach about 6 inches tall. Cut off the leafy tops with sharp kitchen shears and leave the bottom 2 inches intact. Use the leaves immediately, or store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Dr. Vandana K.