How to Plant Chive Bulbs

Overview

Chive bulbs are one of the easiest herbs to plant and they grow just as easily. Chives are part of the onion family and resemble the tops of green onions that grow in clumps. They are used as a garnish or to give a mild onion flavor to culinary dishes including soups and stews. They are great in potato or cheese soup. Chives grow in clumps of hollow, long green leaves with pompom-shaped flowers in purple, pink or white. There are two types of chives. One has just the onion flavor while the other has an additional flavor of garlic.

Step 1

Select a good place to plant chive bulbs. They require an area with about six hours of sun a day to grow to their fullest extent, although they will grow just about anywhere. The soil should be well-drained. Chives can be planted with other herbs and vegetables. They also grow well with flowers and look pretty in the flower garden. An added benefit is that they will keep aphids away from roses if planted nearby.

Step 2

Turn the soil over where chive bulbs are to be planted and add a few shovelfuls of compost. Bone meal can also be added but is not necessary. Chives like a soil pH of about 6.0 to 7.0 so do a soil test if unsure of your soil pH. Add a little bone meal to the hole before you plant them if desired.

Step 3

Dig a hole in the newly turned soil. Chives grow from tiny white bulbs with the leaves coming from the pointed side. The hole should be just deep enough to cover the tops of the bulbs. In most cases, when you get the bulbs the leaves will also be there so it is easy to see where the top of the bulb is. If there are no leaves coming from the bulbs, plant with the pointed side up. Plant five to six bulbs in the hole and cover with soil. Press down and water. Plant another bunch of bulbs 4 inches away.

Step 4

Remove any weeds that grow near your chive bulbs. Chives do not need much fuss. They will grow no matter what you do. Make sure to water them during dry weather; if planted in a pot, water every other day. Every two or three years divide the clumps so they will keep growing. Divide in March or October and plant the bulbs or give them to a friend.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not eat the chive bulbs. Unlike their cousins, the onion, the bulb is not very tasty. You only use the leaves for cooking. Do not take chives in the house during the winter. They like to have a cold period to regenerate. If they die back, do not worry--they will be one of the first plants to pop back up in the spring. If your chives are planted in a pot move it to a protected area in the winter like the porch or garage.

Things You'll Need

  • Chive bulbs
  • Pot with potting soil (optional)
  • Water
  • Trowel
  • Shovel
  • Compost (amount varies with how many chive plants planted)
  • 1/4 cup to 1 cup bone meal

References

  • How to Grow Stuff: How to grow chives
  • Kemper Center for Home Gardening: Allium Schoenoprasum
  • Self Sufficient: Chives
  • Grow Herbs: Growing Chives

Who Can Help

  • Harvest to Table: How to Grow Chives
Keywords: Growing chives, Planting chives, Cultivating chives