Plant Guide > Herbs > Chives herb

Chives herb


Chives (Allium Schoenoprasum, Linn.) is a bulbous, onion-like perennial belonging to the Liliaceae. Naturally the plants form thick tufts of abundant, hollow, grasslike leaves from their little oval bulbs and mat of fibrous roots. The short flower stems bear terminal clusters of generally sterile flowers. Hence the plants are propagated by planting the individual bulbs or by division of clumps in early spring. Frequently chives are planted in flower borders as an edging, for which purpose the compact growth and dainty flowers particularly recommend them. They should not be allowed to grow in the same place more than three years.

Strictly speaking, chives do not belong with the herbs, but their leaves are so frequently used instead of onions for flavoring salads, stews and other dishes, and reference has been so often made to them in these pages, that a brief description has been included. For market the clumps are cut in squares and the whole plant sold. Treated in this way the greengrocers can keep them in good condition by watering until sold. For use the leaves are cut with shears close to the ground. If allowed to stand in the garden, cuttings may be made at intervals of two or three weeks all through the season.