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Bonnie Plants Garlic Chives (aka Chinese leeks) impart an onion flavor with distinct garlic overtones. Young leaves are most tender and work well in egg dishes, soups, marinades and Asian cooking (dumplings, pot stickers, and dipping sauces). White, edible flowers appear in summer, and attract pollinators and other beneficial insects. Gather stems for bouquets or deadhead to keep plants from self-sowing. (That kind of growth tends to be aggressive in colder regions.) Give garlic chives full sun for best flowering and upright growth. The strappy-leafed clumps make an attractive edging in herb or vegetable gardens. Tolerates frost.
- Type Perennial in zones 3 to 10
- Planting time Spring, fall
- Features Flat, grass-like leaves with mild, part onion-part garlic flavor
- Light Full sun
- Soil Fertile, moist but well-drained
- Spacing 12 to 15 inches
- Plant size 18 to 24 inches tall, up to 12 inches wide
- Garden use Containers, herb and flower gardens
- Culinary use Use leaves fresh, dried, or frozen in water or oil
Quick Guide to Growing Chives
- Plant chives in early spring 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. They’re a wonderful option to use as a perennial garden border among flowers or in a culinary container garden.
- Space chives 8 to 12 inches apart in an area that receives full sun and has nutrient-rich, well-drained soil.
- Give your native soil a nutrient boost by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter. Consider a premium bagged potting mix for growing in containers.
- Check soil weekly and water when the top inch of soil becomes dry.
- Encourage better blooms and leaf production by regularly feeding with a water-soluble plant food.
- Harvest leaves once they are large enough to eat. The flowers are also edible.
Add to dishes at the very end of the cooking process, because their mild flavor is destroyed by heat. The purple flowers of onion chives, which are also edible, float beautifully in soup. In late summer, dig up a couple of plants, pot them, and move them to your windowsill for a nice winter source of fresh snips.