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Chives and How to Grow Them

Common Chive Flower (2013-06-09 13-07-03a)

Photo © 2013 Gary J. Sibio. All rights reserved.

The photo was taken in our garden in Chicago, Illinois using a Panasonic FZ50 camera with a Canon 500D (+2) multi-element close-up lens. I used ACDSee Ultimate 10.4 to adjust the lighting and boost the contrast and vibrance.

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Order: Asparagales : Family: Amaryllidaceae : Subfamily: Allioideae

Chives are easy to grow, even if you have a brown thumb. If I coan’t kill them, no one can. One summer we put some chives under the porch and forgot all about them until the next spring. The plant survived.

The name came from the French word cive, which, in turn, came from the Latin cepa which means onion. Chives are actually a type of onion. In fact, they are the smallest species of edible onion. Since onions are related to lilies, chives are related to lilies although you certainly wouldn’t guess that by looking at them.

There are several species of chives:

  • Common Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
  • Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)
  • Great Siberian Chives (Allium ledebourianum)

Chive plants can be purchased at your local garden shop. Often you can find them for sale in grocery stores. If you have a friend with some, ask them to split off a bunch for you. You can grow them from seed but, if you choose to go that route, it will take two years to get even a small plant. Plant your chives in well-drained soil and make sure they get a lot of sun.

Common Chives grow in clumps and can grow to between 6 and 12 inches tall. They produce a small, purple flower. The Herb Society of America recommends cutting off the flowers before they go to seed.

To use your chives, just cut off some of the blossoms, chop them up and mix them with whatever you want. You can mix them into a spread or even fry them.

Text © 2017 Gary J. Sibio. All rights reserved.

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Written by Gary J Sibio

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