Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are a variety of chive that is known for its hardy growth and sweet, garlicky leaves. Also known as Chinese chives, these perennial plants are often used in Asian recipes and for medicinal purposes. Allium tuberosum is an attractive plant, with long, slender leaves and small white blossoms that bloom in late summer with a pleasing scent reminiscent of violets. Once established, garlic chives need only basic care.
Garlic chives are hardy in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) growing zones 4 though 8. These herbs can grow in full sun or partial shade, and tolerate high temperatures better than many other varieties of chives.
Allium tuberosum tolerates periods of moderate drought, but thrives with regular watering. Water often enough to keep the soil slightly moist but not water-saturated. Moisture in the soil can be retained by surrounding the plant with a thin layer of organic compost or mulch.
The garlic chive prefers soil that is rich in organic material and loamy. Well-draining soil is a must, as standing water can quickly cause the rhizomes of this plant to rot.
Garlic chives are fast-growing plants that bloom in late summer. Pinch off the flower stalks before they can bloom to promote bushier plants with more leaves. Watch for insect pests, which can ruin the tasty leaves before you harvest them. If you see bugs on the leaves, blast them off with a strong stream of water. Cover the plants every fall with a thick layer of straw mulch to protect them from hard freezes. Dig up and divide the bulbs every three or four years.
The leaves of garlic chives can be cut off anytime without harming the plant. Most home gardeners wait until they are fairly long--around 4 inches--before harvesting them. Cut them off at the base of the plant, leaving about 2 inches.