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Growing Chives in Pots, Planting, Care – A Full Guide

Introduction to growing Chives in pots

Grow Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) in pots on the patio, in the garden, or right on the kitchen windowsill. This tender green herb is best fresh right from the home garden. Grow Chives in a sunny spot or in a partly shaded area. Growing Chives is easy to grow a culinary herb that you can enjoy all year round. Select a spot in sun or part shade that is not too dry for planting Chives.

In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • How long does a Chives take to grow
  • Growing Chives from division
  • Chives seed germination temperature
  • Chives plant care
  • Chives seed germination period
  • Chives plant spacing
  • Growing Chives from seed
  • How to trim Chives plant

A step by step guide to growing Chives in pots/containers

You can grow Chives from seeds or get the young Chive plants from the nursery. Once the plants are well established, then you can multiply them by division. Indoor Chives thrive on a south-facing window that receives at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight per day. Alternatively, you can grow plants under grow lights. Chives are an herbaceous perennial species in the lily family (Liliaceae) and also related to onion, leeks, and garlic. Chives grow in an upright clump of hollow plant leaves that reach about a foot high.

Choosing pots for growing Chives

Choose a right pot.
Choose the right pot.

Choose a pot that is at least 8 inches wide and deep. You can grow several Chives plants in such pot, generally 5 to 6 young plants together. This will form a small clump; this will become bushier after some time. Once you see your pot is overcrowded, split the Chive plants to multiply them. Grow Chives in 3 to 4 pots, so that rotate the harvest and have this herb successively, fresh and flavorful.

Soil and location for growing Chives in pots

At least 6 hours of sun a day is required for optimum growth, so place it at a sunny spot. When growing Chives indoors, then keep the pot in a south-facing window. Chives can grow well in part sun, receiving 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight, especially in hot tropical climates.

Use light and porous potting soil for growing Chive plants. You can treat it with aged manure or compost, mixing about 1/4 of it at the time of transplanting would be fine. This will improve the texture and nutritional value of the potting soil. Grow Chive plants in well-drained, sandy-loam, a soil rich in organic matter. Prepare planting beds in advance with aged compost and Chives prefer a soil pH level of 6.0 to 7.0. Avoid planting in wet soil that can encourage plant stem and bulb diseases.

Starting Chives from seed indoors

Chives can be grown from seed. Start them indoors about 8 to 10 weeks before the first frost if you plan to move your pots outside, or any time for an indoor herb garden.

Sow Chive seeds indoors from late winter until early summer; sow seeds in flats Seeds need darkness to germinate. Then, cover seed trays or pots with a piece of newspaper or cardboard to aid germination. Seeds must germinate in about 14 days at 21°C.  After seed germination, as seedlings begin to grow, remove the covering and place the seedlings under a fluorescent light or in a bright window. Let them grow on until they are 4 to 6 inches tall and then ready for transplanting.

If you’re eager to enjoy harvest right away, keep in mind that this won’t be your best option. It can take up to a full year for seed-grown plants to reach a mature enough stature that they’re ready to harvest.

Growing Chives from seeds in pots

  • Growing Chives this method is not difficult, but if you’re growing anything from seeds for the first time, it’s better to buy ready to grow plants from a nearby nursery.
  • Start sowing Chives seeds indoors one month before the last expected frost date or wait for the warm weather to arrive to start seeds outdoors.
  • If you’re living in a hot climate, grow Chives after the summer season.
  • Best Chives seed germination temperature is between 15 to 21°C. But you can grow seeds in the temperature range of 10 to 30°C.
  • Sow seeds about 1/4 inch deep in the seed mix, and keep them in a warm spot that receives indirect light.
  • Normally, you see the seedling appearing in 1 to 2 weeks (depends on the weather condition), and they’re ready to transplant in 3 to 4 weeks or 2-3 inches tall.

Chive plant spacing or seed spacing of Chives

  • Prepare the planting site by breaking up the soil with a spade to a depth of about 6 to 8 inches, then mixing in 3 to 4 inches of compost.
  • Create a trough in the prepared soil that’s about 1/2 inch deep and sprinkle the Chive seeds all along the length of the trough. If planting more than one row of Chive plants, separate the troughs by about foot.
  • Cover the seeds with soil and water once or twice a day, or as needed to keep the soil consistently moist. The Chive seeds will germinate within 1 to 3 weeks.
  • Thin the Chive seedlings once they are a couple of inches tall. Pinch and pull enough seedlings so that the remaining plants are spaced apart by 4 to 12 inches.

Chive seed germination period

Chive seeds will germinate in the soil in about 15 to 21 days but can germinate in as few as 10 to 14 days in dedicated propagation media such as Oasis Root cubes, Rapid Rooters, or Grodan Stonewool.

Process of growing Chives in a pots

  • Plant individual Chive plants in a 6 to 8-inch diameter pot, or plant multiple plants about 6 inches apart in a larger pot. Use pots that have holes in the bottom of the pot to facilitate good drainage.
  • Use a light, well-draining potting mix for growing Chives. Plant Chive seedlings the same depth in the container that they were in the nursery pot and leave 1/2 inch between the lip of the pot and the soil line to allow room for watering and fertilizer.
  • Grow Chives in a sunny spot where they will get at least 6 hours of direct sun per day. Water Chives after planting until water starts to drain through the holes in the bottom of the pot, and then allow the soil to dry out slightly before watering again.
  • Water the soil throughout the growing season when the top about 1 inch of the soil starts to dry out. A simple way to test the soil moisture is by inserting a finger into the soil near the edge of the pot.
  • Fertilize every 2 weeks from spring through late summer using a balanced, granular fertilizer like a 3-3-3 formula. Use 1 tablespoon for a 6- to 8-inch diameter pot. But for larger pots, between 10 and 12 inches, use 2 tablespoons. Sprinkle the fertilizer onto the soil at the base of the Chive plant. Discontinue fertilizing Chives in the winter to allow the Chive plants to rest.
  • Harvest Chives when they grow about 6 inches tall. Cut the green leaves about 2 inches above the soil line using a sharp knife or small garden clippers. Harvest Chives continually through the growing season every 2 to 3 weeks by removing the top growth when it gets 6 inches tall.
  • Then, cut off the flower when it forms to encourage more foliage growth. Chive flowers are edible and also have a mild, fresh flavor.

Gardening tips for planting Chives indoors

To begin growing Chives indoors, first fill a 6-inch clay pot with a well-draining potting medium that you have pre-moistened. The soil must form a ball when squeezed, but not be soggy or dripping water. Keep the soil moist and Chives grow best when watered frequently, as long as there is proper soil drainage. Water regularly to the plant, being careful not to overwater. Allow soil to go almost dry between watering, and then soak thoroughly.

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Water the potted Chives when the soil surface begins to feel dry, then providing water until the excess moisture drains from the bottom of the pot. Water the Chives once a week, providing about 1 inch of water each week. Cut off the purple flowers on the plants after blooming to prevent self-seeding. Use clean shears for pruning and harvesting. Removing old blooms also keeps the plants attractive.

Broadcast Chive seeds over the pre-moistened medium and cover with a fine layer of the pre-moistened soil, about ¼ inch deep. Place in the lighted area and seeds may be kept moist until germination with a mist of water, weak plant food, or weak compost tea. Chives germinate within 2 weeks, often more quickly. Growing Chives indoors offers a handy and easy way to season your food and also brighten your space.

Growing Chives from divisions

This method of propagation is common, easy, and requires division of clumps;

  • First, find an established plant, which will be actually several Chives plants growing together.
  • Water your Chive plant well to soften the soil around it and dig from the sides of the clump without damaging the delicate root system and bulbs.
  • Separate young little Chives plants from the main clump gently to form new clumps.
  • Each new clump can have 3 to 5 plants, and you can plant them together in 8 inches wide and deep pot.
  • You can divide Chives in spring, late or after the summer, and in fall or autumn. After flowering appears, fall is the best season to do this.

Chives plant care

Pests – Chives plants are generally pest-free. Onion thrips can attack Chives growing in a commercial onion producing region, but thrips are unlikely to bother plants that are regularly watered.

Diseases – Chives have no serious disease problems; however, in high humidity, if Chives plants are crowded fungal diseases can develop.

Harvesting your new Chives

Your new Chives plant will begin to grow in a few weeks after transplanting. Allow the plant to adapt for about 4-weeks before harvesting then it can adjust to the new environment.

Once the plant is established, begin harvesting by trimming foliage, leaving at least 2 inches of plant growth above the soil. The Chives plant will continue to grow and produce more Chive foliage. When spring rolls around, harden off Chive plants and transplant to larger pots or in the garden.

Why should you trim Chives?

Pruning isn’t required in order to grow and harvest fresh Chives. But, it is beneficial to the plant. Thus, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of trimming Chives regularly. Below are a few reasons why it’s important to prune Chives;

Promotes new growth – Trimming back Chives will help to promote new plant growth. The tender new growth is the stuff that tastes the best.

Keeps the plant looking nice – If you don’t prune Chives, the Chives plant can become overgrown, woody, and flop to the ground. Also, cutting Chives back in the fall will keep the garden looking tidy.

Prevents Chives from spreading – Chives are aggressive re-seeders. Then, if you don’t remove the flowers before they set seed, you will find tiny plants growing all around your garden.

When to prune Chives

When it comes to both pruning and deadheading Chives, it’s very important to get the timing right. But don’t worry, Chives plants are very forgiving. So, you don’t have to worry too much about it. Here’s how to know when to trim Chives plants;

When to cut back Chives – Chives are extremely cold hardy and start growing in late winter or early spring. Thus, it’s best to cut them down to the ground in late fall. You can also cut them back again after they’re done blooming to promote plant growth.

When to deadhead Chives – You can start deadheading Chives as soon as the flowers begin to fade in the early summer season. Once the flowers turn brown, the Chives seeds will be viable. Thus, don’t wait too long to deadhead them, or the seeds will start to scatter.

Commonly asked questions about growing Chives in pots

You may also check this: Growing Dragon Fruit from Cuttings and Seed.

Commonly asked questions about growing Chives.
Commonly asked questions about growing Chives.
Are Chives easy to grow?

Chives are hardy perennials that are very attractive, tasty, and easy to grow. In spring and summer, Chives boast globelike flowers that are very popular as edible garnishes. Generally, use Chives as a perennial edging or border plant in a flower bed or herb garden.

How much time does it take for Chives to grow?

Sow Chives in the garden or set out divisions as early as about 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost in spring. The seed will germinate in about 2 to 3 weeks at 15°C.

Should I deadhead Chives?

You can start deadheading Chives as soon as the plant flowers begin to fade in early summer. Once the flowers turn brown, the Chives seeds will be viable. Thus, don’t wait too long to deadhead them, or the seeds will start to scatter.

How do you get seeds from Chives?

To collect Chive seeds, shake the flower heads over a container. You could clip the flower heads off the plant and drop them into a paper bag. Then fold over the top of the bag and then shake it to release the Chive seeds from the flower heads.

Why are my Chives turning yellow?

Chives continue to proliferate as they grow, with their purple flowers producing seeds that wind scatters, the plants need to be divided every 3 to 4 years. When a plant runs out of growing space or some of its leaves get old, those leaves may yellow at the tips and die.

Do Chives grow back after cutting?

Cut back Chives 30 days after transplanting them to the garden, or about 60 days after the Chives seeds germinate. Select plants that have grown about 6 inches or taller but haven’t yet flowered.

The conclusion of growing Chives in pots/containers

Chives gardening is wonderful and you can easily grow this herb right from your balcony, kitchen, terrace even in backyards. The above information may be used even for growing chives herb in Polyhouse. You may also like Medicinal Plants Contract farming and Advantages.


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