If you haven’t started growing chives in your garden yet, you’re seriously missing out on one of the easiest and most rewarding plants. Trust me, make room for chives in your garden and you won’t regret it!

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 1

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) have this mild onion flavor that’s just perfect for adding a little zing to all kinds of dishes. Plus, their slender, vibrant green leaves and those cute purple pom-pom flowers? Totally edible and they add a nice pop of color to your garden and your plate.

Chives are part of the allium family, hanging out with onions, garlic, leeks, and shallots. They’re essential for any herb garden, veggie patch, or even a little food forest. And when I say chives, I mean both garlic chives and the common onion chives.

Honestly, chives don’t get the love they deserve. They’re incredibly resilient and can adapt to a lot of different conditions—basically, they’re the ultimate survivor plants.

They’re so easy to grow and add a fresh touch to your kitchen creations. On top of that, they’re awesome companion plants, helping to keep pests away naturally. And when they bloom, they look absolutely gorgeous.

If you’re still on the fence about growing chives, let me give you a few compelling reasons that’ll make you want to reconsider.

1: Chives Are an Essential Herb to Spice up Our Cooked Dishes

Of course the most well known benefit of Growing chives is all about adding a delicious their tasty greens to your cooking. These herbs can take your dishes to the next level with their special flavors. Whether it’s the gentle onion taste of regular chives or the stronger garlic flavor of garlic chives, they can really spice things up.

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 2

Chives are great substitutes for green onions (or shallots) in recipes. Personally, I love using this herb in early spring when its flavor is at its best and the garden is just starting to bloom.

You can mix chives into salads, omelets, cottage cheese, or roasted veggies. Don’t worry about measuring—just toss in a handful of chopped chives to liven up your dish.

Don’t forget about chive flowers! These edible blooms add a colorful and unique touch to salads. Here’s a fun tidbit: Dutch settlers used to plant chives in their pastures to give their cows’ milk a nicer flavor.

2: The Long and Fascinating History of Chives, Dating Back Millennia

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 3

Did you know chives have been cherished for thousands of years across various cultures? In Ancient China, around 4,000 years ago, chives were already popular for spicing up meals and serving as remedies for fatigue and digestive issues. Fast forward to Medieval Europe, and chives were flourishing in herb gardens. Monks and healers praised their digestive benefits and antiseptic powers, even believing that hanging bunches of chives around the house could ward off evil spirits and illness.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans also loved chives. They used them to soothe sore throats and as a potential antidote for poisons, adding them to various dishes for their strong, delightful scent. Indigenous peoples in North America got in on the action, too, using wild chives to flavor food and heal wounds with poultices made from mashed chive bulbs, highlighting their antiseptic properties.

Pretty amazing, right?

3: Chives Are Incredibly Easy to Grow—Even Lazy Gardeners Can’t Kill Them!

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 4

Thinking about starting an herb garden? Or maybe you’re looking for a low-maintenance addition to your existing one? Look no further – chives are the way to go!

Chives are the ideal herb for novice gardeners. They’re incredibly forgiving and robust, making your first gardening experience a breeze. They can handle both sun and shade, and you’ll quickly see your garden flourish without the frustration of plant failure. With chives, you’ll gain the confidence to try growing other herbs and plants.

Once planted, chives require very little attention. Water them regularly until established, then they become quite drought-tolerant. Forgot to water them? No worries, chives can bounce back. They need just a bit of organic fertilizer in spring and thrive with minimal fuss.

4: Chives Provide a Never-Ending Source of Flavorful Abundance

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 5

You know what I absolutely love about growing chives in my herb garden? I can harvest them all the time! These little green powerhouses grow like crazy and give me so much. Once you’ve got a chive plant established, it’ll keep on giving for years. Ever heard chives called a “cut-and-come-again” herb? It means you can keep snipping away without ever hurting the plant. Need some chives for your dish? Just snip off a few leaves, and you’re all set. This is important to keep your chives flourishing all season long.

To get the best out of your chives, grab a sharp pair of scissors or garden shears. Snip the leaves about an inch above the soil, being gentle to avoid damaging the roots. Always leave a bit of foliage so the plant can continue photosynthesis and get ready for more growth. After harvesting, give your chives a little drink of water to encourage quicker regrowth. They’re tough, but a bit of TLC helps them bounce back faster. In just a couple of weeks, you’ll see new shoots popping up, ready for your next dish.

5: Chive Blossoms Are Edible and Actually Very Tasty

With a flavor similar to chive stems but milder and with a hint of earthiness, these edible flowers are perfect for adding a delicate taste to your dishes. Eat them raw for a lovely pop of color in salads or use them as a fancy garnish.

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 6

One of my favorite uses for these blossoms is making chive blossom vinegar. It’s fantastic for homemade salad dressings, giving them a unique, fresh flavor. Harvest the flowers at their peak for the best taste, and you might even be tempted to use them in floral arrangements—if you don’t eat them all first!

Onion chive blossoms usually appear by early summer, while garlic chives bloom a bit later. Each tiny floret can produce a small, round seed when dried, so it’s wise to gather the blooms before they spread seeds all over your garden. But if they do spread, relocating them is easy.

There are endless ways to get creative with chive blossoms in the kitchen. Brighten up salads and crudité platters, or add them to egg, pasta, and potato dishes. Fry them like zucchini flowers, make a pretty pink vinegar, or mix them with goat cheese for a fresh twist on cheese and onion.

6: Chives Make Excellent Companion Plants

Chives are not just great for keeping pests at bay; they’re also wonderful companions for various vegetables. They easily blend into mixed beds, thriving alongside supportive plants and promoting overall garden health. For example, chives paired with tomatoes can boost growth and flavor, making them an unbeatable team.

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 7

They also help repel the beetles that love to munch on rose bushes, keeping your flowers looking beautiful. Plant chives near cucumbers and gherkins, and you’ve got a perfect crop safety net, protecting each other from common threats. Most experienced gardeners, however, advise against planting chives too close to garlic, chili peppers, or a few other crops.

It’s important to be aware of which plants don’t get along with chives. For instance, garlic, cabbage, and shallots aren’t the best neighbors for them. Beans and chili peppers can also create issues when grown nearby. Keeping these mismatches in mind can help you avoid any unpleasant surprises.

7: You Can Grow Chives as Ornamental Plants

Chives aren’t just for herb gardens! These versatile plants bring lush greenery from early spring to late summer, with their neat, grass-like leaves adding elegance and structure to any bed or container.

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 8

And the flowers? Simply stunning! Onion chives bloom in vibrant spheres of white, pink, purple, or red in early summer. Garlic chives offer charming white star-shaped flowers later on. These colorful clusters transform your garden into a vibrant, ever-changing canvas.

Plant them along pathways, at the edges of garden beds, or in containers. Chives effortlessly enhance any space, making everything look neat and cared-for. Plus, their resilient nature means they’ll thrive without much fuss from you.

8: You Can Plant Chives as a Deer-Resistant Ground Cover!

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 9

Chives are a fantastic addition to any edible landscape. With their attractive, grass-like look, they swiftly fill empty spaces and add lush greenery to your garden.

Unlike Liriope, chives are deer-resistant and can handle occasional foot traffic. They make a lovely, practical, and hardy ground cover, enhancing your garden’s beauty effortlessly.

9: Chives Require Minimal Space

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 10

Chives have a shallow root system, which makes them perfect for tucking into corners of raised beds or filling in small patches of bare soil. Even when planted directly in the garden, their compact nature ensures they won’t hog much space. Think of them as tiny space-savers, happy to thrive in the smallest areas.

They’re also fantastic for companion planting. Chives fit in beautifully between other vegetables and herbs, like leafy greens and strawberries, helping other plants while conserving space. Plus, as chives grow in clumps, you can divide them over time to spread them throughout your garden or share with friends.

10: Chives Are a Hardy Perennial That Return Reliably Year After Year

Chives are remarkably resilient herbs that thrive in a wide variety of climates. As hardy perennials, they return year after year, making them a wise choice for any herb garden. These green stems are not just tough but also extremely versatile, showcasing their sturdiness in impressive ways.

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 11

Chives endure harsh winters and flourish in scorching summer heat. In regions with milder winters, like gardening zones 9 and 10, chives grow continuously throughout the year. They don’t take a break; they keep producing fresh, green shoots even when other plants slow down. If you live in such a climate, you’re in for a constant supply of these flavorful herbs, perfect for your culinary creations without having to wait for spring.

In colder climates, chives prove their toughness by enduring winter conditions with grace. They might die back in the harsh cold, but come spring, they bounce back with renewed vigor. For me, my chives were always the first sign of life after a long, cold winter, bringing vibrant greenery to the garden as if celebrating the season’s arrival.

Whether it’s cold or warm, chives embody the phrase “come rain or shine,” making them a resilient and dependable addition to your herb garden.

11: Bees, Butterflies and Pollinators All Love Chives!

Growing chives in your garden is like inviting a host of friendly helpers to join your gardening party. One of the coolest perks is how these charming herbs attract beneficial insects, turning your garden into a lively and buzzing paradise.

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 12

Chive flowers are natural magnets for various pollinators, helping to create a vibrant and healthy garden. When they bloom, their bright and fragrant flowers are simply irresistible to bees, butterflies, and more.

Bees, in particular, can’t get enough of chive blossoms, especially the vibrant purple blooms of common chives. These hardworking insects are crucial for pollinating many garden plants. With chive flowers providing a steady supply of nectar, bees are more likely to visit your garden often, supporting plant reproduction along the way.

Butterflies also find chive flowers delightful. Their flat, cluster-like blooms make perfect landing pads. As these beautiful insects flit from flower to flower, they transfer pollen, helping plants to seed and fruit.

Hoverflies and parasitic wasps are other garden allies attracted to chive flowers. Hoverflies lay their eggs near aphid colonies, and once the larvae hatch, they help control these pests naturally. Parasitic wasps use chives as a base to hunt down caterpillars and other garden invaders, keeping your plants safe.

12: Chives Help Deter Harmful Insects and Pests

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 13

Chives, with their unmistakable onion-like scent, are your garden’s secret weapon against pests. These hardy little plants are perfect for lining the edges of your vegetable garden or nestling under fruit trees, creating an effective barrier. Their strong aroma is a big deterrent for many garden pests that find it unbearable.

For instance, aphids—those tiny sap-suckers that drain the life out of plant leaves—are completely repelled by the sulfur-heavy smell of chives. Japanese beetles, known for their destructive love of roses, are also kept at bay, protecting your beloved blooms. And those pesky caterpillars munching on your greens? They don’t stand a chance against chives’ potent defense.

Chives are also invaluable under fruit trees, acting as little bodyguards against moth larvae and fruit flies, keeping your apple trees safe. When planted with companions like carrots, celery, and cucumbers, chives help fend off common pests while also adding a delightful flavor to your dishes.

A row of chives standing tall along your garden’s edges creates a protective barrier, much like a castle moat, ready to repel any insect invaders.

13: Chives Are Easy to Preserve and Store Well

Chive stems or blossoms are incredibly versatile and easy to store for long-term use.

Freezing is a quick method. Finely chop the chives, spread them on a baking sheet, and freeze for 2 hours. Then transfer the frozen chives to airtight containers or freezer bags and return them to the freezer.

Drying chives is also effective. Use a dehydrator set to 95°F for 1-2 hours, or bundle and hang them in a dark, ventilated place for a week. Once dry, crumble and store them in airtight containers.

For storing fresh chives, wrap the chopped chives in a damp paper towel, place them in a plastic bag or airtight container, and refrigerate. They’ll stay fresh for weeks.

How to Care for Chives

Once your chives are settled in the garden, they pretty much take care of themselves. Still, there are a few things you can do to keep them thriving and yielding those tasty green shoots time and again.

13 Reasons Why You’d Be Crazy Not to Grow Chives in Your Garden! 14
  • Plant your chives in a sunny spot. If your garden has a bit of shade, don’t fret; they’ll still grow, but you might miss out on the charming purple flowers.
  • Chives love well-draining soil. Before planting, mix in a layer of compost to give them a nutrient boost. Avoid the summer heat when planting; spring or fall is ideal.
  • While chives can handle a bit of drought, they prefer consistent watering. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Apply mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and keep the weeds at bay.
  • Give your chives a once-a-year treat with some fertilizer. A nitrogen-heavy fertilizer in late spring or early summer works wonders, especially if your soil isn’t nutrient-rich. A good top-dress of compost in spring or early summer can also boost growth.
  • After the flowers bloom, snip them off. This prevents seeds from spreading everywhere.
  • Every 3 to 4 years, divide your chives in the spring. Split them into clumps of at least ten bulbs and let the new clumps grow for a few weeks before you start harvesting again. This keeps the plants productive.
  • Watch out for damping-off fungus, a result of overwatering and overcrowding. Keep the soil well-drained and avoid planting chives too close together.
  • One of the best things about chives is their natural resistance to pests. You won’t have to worry about insects ruining your crop.
  • Keep that soil consistently moist to ensure lush growth. Regularly harvesting the blooms not only prevents unwanted spread but also encourages more leaf growth.
Amber Noyes

Written By

Amber Noyes

Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers’ markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.