Monday, May 26, 2014

Chinese Chives (Garlic Chives)

Have you ever tried growing chives before? I grew my potted chives from seeds and I started off with a packet of seeds which I bought off the rack from the supermarket. The amount of seeds from each packet is not much. And I have been buying and adding seeds to the same pot every now and then, because I want ed the pot to be full of chive plants!  Most of the seeds sprouted young seedlings, but only about a quarter grew to mature plants. So I kept adding more seeds from time to time.

This pot of Chinese Chives, also known as Garlic Chives, started with a packet of seeds back in 2010, which I have posted here, they are about 3-1/2 years old. I have since then added more seeds to the pot and though most of the seeds sprouted tiny seedlings, only about a quarter of them grow into mature plants. Though it is not much, but it is enough to make a plate of delicious omelette, for garnishes and I sometimes used it in fried noodles as well. 

I have harvested the leaves many, many times over the years.

My second pot of chives, which I sowed from seeds about 6 months ago. I had better luck with the seeds this time round.  I have sowed two packets of seeds for this pot, and most of them have germinated into seedlings. They young plants are doing well right now.

And I have scattered more seeds in between about a week ago, and the small seedlings are already beginning to appear.

Did you know that chives plants can last for years and years? I have read from somewhere, (unfortunately could not remember the source), that these plants can live up to 30 years if they are well taken care off. I believe so, as my mother-in-law has a bunch of chives in her garden, which she has planted from seeds more than 10 years ago, and her plants are doing great.

From my observation on growing chives :
  1. Sow the seeds directly into the pot or container as the young seedlings are really fragile and difficult to transplant.
  2. When the seeds have sprouted tiny little seedlings, keep them away from direct sunlight, our hot weather here with the blazing sun, can be very cruel to the little seedlings, they will wilt and die from the scorching heat, I know! I placed the seedlings in the morning sun, and move them to partial shaded area around mid-afternoon, when the weather is extremely hot. And if it rains, remember to put them under shelter, away from the rain! 
  3. Keep the soil moist but not overly wet, and make sure the soil do not dry out.
  4. When the plants have established, you may place the pot under the sun in its permanent spot, remember to water the daily so that the soil does not dry out.
  5. Once the plants have mature, ready to be harvested, cut about 3" to 4" from the the base, the stems will soon grow more leaves real quick. Harvest the chives to encourage more leaves to grow. If you are not ready to harvest the leaves as yet, trim off any yellowing leaves so that new ones will grow, otherwise it will affect the rest of the leaves into turning yellow as well.
  6. The plants do not need to be fertilized very often. I used organic fertilizer every few months or so.
  7. So far, my chives plants are practically pest free! I do not have any problem at all with the plants being infested by bugs or pests. I'm lucky so far, I guess!

Sometimes the chives that we bought from the market has the flower buds on the tips of the leaves, but have you seen the full bloom of the flowers before? Well, here are some pictures, taken from my little pot of chives.
The flower stalk of the chives will grow much taller than the rest of the leaves, it really stands out in height.

The cluster of flowers are beginning to show itself.

The full bloom of one tiny flower

More blooms.

Six tiny petals to a flower, so tiny, yet so pretty!

I've read that the flowers of the chives are rich with nectar, that explains the little black bees that have been swarming around the chive plants this week. 

Beautiful little flowers, aren't they? Interesting to see the formation of seeds from the flowers. Notice the triangle green seed pods, am waiting for it to dry and hoping to collect some seeds, at the moment there are a few stalks with flowers. 

I'm linking this post to Garden Tuesday @ Sidewalk Shoes

Happy Gardening !


  1. do you pull out the roots when you harvest the chives? great blog thanks :)

    1. Hoi, cousin! Where got people pull out the roots? Just cut (see note 5 above) to harvest and they will grown new leaves.

    2. Hi Let's Go,
      You are Phong Hong's cousin? How nice of you to stop by. :)
      Sorry for the late reply. Like Phong Hong says, there's no need to pull out the whole plant. Cut the leaves about 2-3 inches from the ground, at the point below where the leaves starts to separate. You would have the whole bunch of leaves still attached to part of the stem. Or you could just cut a few leaves at a time. The leaves will soon grow again.
      Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Hi Joyce! Ooohh...the flowers are so pretty! I have a pot of chives in my garden, courtesy of my dad who brought it all the way from Kuala Terengganu. It is the only plant in my garden that has survived neglect! I am now appreciating chives as they are great in meatballs. Yum! I have yet to see mine flower. Or maybe I missed it.

    1. Hi Phong Hong,
      How nice of you dad to grow for you the chives! You must have harvested the chives many times that they do not have time to flower! Haha! Next time, leave one centre leave on the plant, hopefully it will flower. The flowers are small but very pretty!

  3. Never planted them before! The flowers are so beautiful! You have capture them so amazingly!

    1. Thanks Malar! Try growing them in a container. Once they are established, they do not need much care. Just harvest them for continuous growth!

  4. Joyce, very nice and bountiful chives! I want to plant more of them but with my stomach acid problems I have to eat less chives, onions, garlic… so bummed since I love cooking with them! I can't eat too much tomatoes or peppers either. I hope this is not forever. At the moment I have plenty of snow peas and lettuce growing in the garden. I'm waiting for more harvest of other vegetables!

    1. Hi Priscilla,
      Sorry to hear about your stomach acid problems. Hopefully your condition will improve real soon. It is nice to hear about your snow peas and lettuce. I never had much luck with lettuce. The seedlings keep dying on me! Looking forward to see your veggie harvest. Take care!

  5. ma che bello il tuo blog..
    Tutta natura!!
    Io amo il giardinaggio , le piante in generale..amo la vita.
    Complimenti..è meraviglioso!!
    Un abbraccio.

  6. The chives flowers are lovely! I'm thinking of growing chives too.

  7. I succeeded in growing chives only at the 3rd attempt. At first attempt I failed, because I dried the soil out, next time I overwatered :(

  8. Hi Joyce,
    I see you have been growing Chives while I was away and linking up to Pam's Garden Tuesday too!!!

    Would you believe I have never actually grown Chives from seed? We have wild chives all over the yard so I never bothered. I usually mow them down with the lawn more, lol...Now that I see those cute little flowers and know that they can last for 30 years, I will have to buy me a packet of Chives seeds and give them a try!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Joyce, I can't wait to "whip up" some chive and sour cream dip already!!!

  9. Love to see these dainty blooms Joyce! Yes they are lovely. Thanks for the pictures!! Btw I think this plant repels pests, so that's why it doesn't attract them. The last I planted something similar, it disappeared after a few heavy rains...

  10. Can you share some of your seeds. I bought 4-5 rounds of seeds - none sprout or germinated. Not sure what when wrong...

    1. Hi Jenny,
      I'm so sorry that I have no more seeds left. When I buy the seeds, I would use them all up, as there are not many seeds in a pack. Sometimes the seeds can be very difficult to germinate. I have had many failures as well. Make sure that the seeds you buy are not expired. Hope you have better luck on your next try!