Schnittlauch, Cebolleta, Ciboulette, Erba Cipollina, Little Onion
Chives are a perennial plant and smallest member of the onion family, which includes garlic, leeks and shallots. The purple 'pom-pom' flowers look spectacular on a well-established plant. The small, grasslike, hollow leaves are most often used, finely chopped, to add to salads, or any savoury meals, particularly sauces, soups and casseroles. The flowers which form are attractive additions to the garden and and can be added to any savoury dish for both flavour and colour.
Average height: 25 to 30cm
Aspect: Sunny position. Avoid windy sites
Soil type: Will grow in most soil types. Prefers well drained, fertile, humus rich soil which ranges from mildly acidic to mildly alkaline
Sowing period: Indoors in autumn. Outdoors in April or May.
First signs of blossom: 6 - 8 weeks
Average flowering period: 3 months
Contents: Approximately 50 seeds
Chives are effectively used to edge flower beds. They grow well in containers, so can easily be placed near your back door for easy harvesting, or planted within a small backyard or courtyard garden. The flowers are not only great to eat, but they are also very popular with bees and other pollinating insects.
Companion planting - If you are also growing carrots, then try planting them next to chives. The mild onion smell from the chives may help to deter carrot fly.
To get the best from your chives, do not start harvesting the leaves until the plants are fairly well established with a good root system - late summer in the first year of growth. Emerging flowers should also not be removed until July in the first year, again, to allow the plant to establish itself. Cut chives as you need them. Use scissors and leave 5cm of leaf on the plant. Start by harvesting the outside leaves, and work inwards.