Growing Garlic Chives: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

Garlic Chives
Garlic Chives

Introduction: What are Garlic Chives?

Garlic chives are a flavorful and versatile herb that belongs to the Allium family. They are also known as Chinese chives, Oriental garlic, or Allium tuberosum.

Garlic chives are native to China and have been used in traditional medicine and cooking for centuries. They have a distinct flavor that combines the mild onion-like taste of chives with a subtle hint of garlic. The long, thin leaves of garlic chives are hollow and grow up to 20 inches (50 cm) tall.

Garlic chives are an excellent addition to a wide range of dishes, including salads, soups, stews, stir-fries, and omelets. They are also commonly used as a garnish for various dishes. The leaves and flowers are both edible and can be used in cooking.

Garlic chives are easy to grow in your garden or in a pot on your balcony. They prefer well-draining soil and full sun but can tolerate partial shade. They are also relatively low maintenance and can grow in a range of soil types. It can be harvested throughout the growing season by cutting the leaves and stems close to the base of the plant.

In addition to their culinary uses, garlic chives have also been studied for their potential health benefits. They contain various vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium. Some studies suggest that garlic chives may have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as potential benefits for heart health and blood sugar control.

Overall, garlic chives are a tasty and nutritious herb that can add flavor and depth to a wide range of dishes. Whether you’re an experienced cook or a beginner, garlic chives are an excellent herb to have in your culinary arsenal.

Choosing the Right Location for Garlic Chives

Choosing the right location is crucial for the successful growth of garlic chives. These plants prefer a spot that receives at least six hours of full sun each day. However, they can also tolerate some partial shade, especially in hot climates. It’s important to avoid planting in areas that are prone to waterlogging, as they don’t tolerate wet soil. A well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter is ideal. You can amend your soil with compost or other organic materials to improve its quality.

When selecting a spot for your garlic chives, consider their height. These plants can grow up to 12 inches tall, so you’ll want to avoid planting them in areas where they’ll shade out smaller plants. You should also consider the proximity to other plants in your garden. Garlic chives have a strong scent that can help to repel some pests, so planting them near other plants can be beneficial. However, they can also spread quickly and outcompete other plants if they’re not contained.

Overall, a sunny, well-draining spot with fertile soil is the best location. By selecting the right spot, you’ll set your plants up for success and ensure a bountiful harvest

Soil Requirements for Growing Garlic Chives

Soil quality is one of the most crucial factors for the successful cultivation of garlic chives. Choosing the right type of soil is essential to ensure optimal growth and development of these herbaceous perennials. Garlic chives grow best in well-draining soils that are rich in organic matter.

The ideal pH range for growing garlic chives is between 6.0 and 7.0. Soil pH levels can be tested using a soil pH meter or testing kit. If the pH of the soil is too low, it can be raised by adding lime or wood ash. Alternatively, if the pH is too high, it can be lowered by adding elemental sulfur or aluminum sulfate.

Garlic chives require fertile soil that is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The use of organic fertilizers such as compost, well-rotted manure, and bone meal is recommended to improve soil fertility. These organic amendments provide essential nutrients and also improve soil structure, which promotes better water and nutrient uptake by the plant.

It is essential to ensure that the soil is not too compacted as this can restrict root growth and prevent proper nutrient uptake. It requires loose, well-aerated soils to thrive. Adding sand or perlite to heavy clay soils can help improve soil structure and drainage.

In terms of soil depth, garlic chives prefer a soil depth of at least 6-8 inches (15-20 cm). This allows for adequate root development and ensures that the plant has access to sufficient water and nutrients.

In summary, garlic chives require well-draining, fertile soil with a pH range of 6.0-7.0, rich in organic matter and essential nutrients. The soil should be loose and well-aerated, with a depth of at least 6-8 inches (15-20 cm). By selecting the right soil for growing garlic chives, you can help ensure healthy and robust plants that produce an abundance of flavorful and aromatic leaves.

How to Plant Garlic Chives: Step-by-Step Guide

Garlic chives are a great addition to any garden or container, and planting them is a simple process that can be done in a few easy steps. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to plant garlic chives:

Step 1: Choose the Right Location

The first step to planting garlic chives is to choose the right location. The plants require full sun to partial shade, so select a spot in your garden that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. The soil should be well-draining and rich in organic matter. Garlic chives also do well in containers, so if you don’t have a garden, you can plant them in pots.

Step 2: Prepare the Soil

The second step is to prepare the soil. Garlic chives prefer soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Test your soil’s pH level and adjust it accordingly. Add organic matter such as compost, aged manure, or peat moss to improve the soil’s fertility, moisture retention, and texture. Mix the amendments into the top 6 inches (15 cm) of soil.

Step 3: Plant the Seeds

Garlic chives can be grown from seeds or transplants. If planting seeds, sow them directly into the prepared soil about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) deep and 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Cover the seeds with soil and water gently to settle the soil. If using transplants, dig a hole that is slightly wider and deeper than the root ball of the transplant. Place the transplant in the hole and fill the space around it with soil, gently firming the soil around the plant. Water the plant well.

Step 4: Water and Fertilize

Water the garlic chives immediately after planting and keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Once the plants are established, water deeply once a week or more often during hot, dry weather. Garlic chives don’t require a lot of fertilizer, but a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 can be applied in early spring and midsummer.

Step 5: Mulch

Mulching helps to conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Apply a layer of organic mulch such as shredded leaves, straw, or grass clippings around the plants, keeping the mulch about 2 inches (5 cm) away from the plant stems.

Step 6: Harvest

Garlic chives can be harvested when the leaves are at least 6 inches (15 cm) long. Cut the leaves close to the ground with a pair of scissors or shears. Harvest regularly to encourage new growth and prevent the plant from flowering, as the flowers can be unappetizing and distract from the flavor of the leaves.

By following these simple steps, you can successfully grow and harvest your own garlic chives. Enjoy the fresh, flavorful addition to your culinary creations!

Watering and Fertilizing Garlic Chives

Watering and fertilizing are essential for growing healthy garlic chives. Here’s what you need to know about how much water and fertilizer to give your plants.


Garlic chives prefer well-drained soil that is moist but not waterlogged. They do not like to be constantly wet, so it’s important to allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions. The frequency of watering depends on the climate and soil conditions in your area. In general, you should water once or twice a week during the growing season.

When watering your garlic chives, it’s important to avoid getting the foliage wet. Watering the foliage can lead to fungal diseases. Instead, water at the base of the plant, preferably in the morning. This allows the leaves to dry off during the day, reducing the risk of fungal infections.

If you live in an area with hot, dry summers, you may need to water your garlic chives more frequently. During periods of drought, you may need to water every other day to keep the soil consistently moist.


Garlic chives benefit from regular applications of fertilizer to promote healthy growth. A balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is ideal for garlic chives.

Apply fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season, and again in mid-summer. Be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of the plant’s root system. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and frequency.

In addition to commercial fertilizers, you can also use organic fertilizers such as compost, well-rotted manure, or fish emulsion to nourish garlic chives. These organic options provide slow-release nutrients that will feed your plants over a longer period of time.

Watering and fertilizing are important aspects of growing healthy garlic chives. Proper watering ensures that your plants receive the moisture they need without becoming waterlogged, while regular fertilization provides the nutrients they need to thrive. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of flavorful garlic chives.

Companion Planting with Garlic Chives

Companion planting with garlic chives can be an excellent way to enhance the health and productivity of your garden. Garlic chives are known for their strong aroma and insect-repelling properties, making them an ideal choice for planting alongside other crops.

One great companion plant for garlic chives is tomatoes. Not only do tomatoes benefit from the insect-repelling qualities of garlic chives, but they also provide a natural support structure for the tall and slender garlic chive stems. When planting with tomatoes, be sure to space them out about 6 inches (15 cm) apart to allow for adequate air circulation.

Another great companion plant for garlic chives is carrots. These two plants work together to create a mutually beneficial relationship. Garlic chives help to repel the carrot rust fly, while carrots provide a natural barrier to soil-borne diseases that can affect garlic chives. When planting with carrots, be sure to plant them about 4 inches (10 cm) apart to allow for adequate growth space.

Other compatible plants for garlic chives include peppers, eggplants, and brassicas like broccoli and cabbage. These plants can help to repel pests and attract beneficial insects that can improve soil health and boost plant growth.

When companion planting with garlic chives, it’s important to consider the growth habits of both plants and ensure that they are compatible in terms of soil, water, and light requirements. Additionally, be sure to rotate crops each year to prevent soil-borne diseases from taking hold.

In summary, garlic chives make great companion plants for a wide variety of crops. Their insect-repelling qualities and aromatic properties can help to improve the health and productivity of your garden, while also creating a visually stunning and diverse planting scheme. Consider incorporating garlic chives into your garden design and reap the benefits of companion planting.

Common Pests and Diseases of Garlic Chives

Garlic chives, like any plant, are susceptible to various pests and diseases. Identifying and treating these problems early is key to ensuring the health and vitality of your plants.

One common pest of garlic chives is the onion maggot. These small, white larvae feed on the roots of the plant and can cause stunted growth and even death. To prevent infestation, avoid planting near other members of the onion family. Additionally, covering the plants with row covers can help keep the flies that lay the eggs at bay.

Aphids are another pest that can plague garlic chives. These small, soft-bodied insects feed on the sap of the plant and can cause yellowing leaves and stunted growth. If you notice aphids on your plants, try spraying them off with a strong stream of water or using an insecticidal soap.

Fungal diseases can also affect garlic chives, particularly in damp or humid conditions. One such disease is white rot, which causes the leaves to turn yellow and the bulbs to rot. To prevent fungal diseases, avoid overhead watering and ensure good air circulation around the plants.

Another disease that can affect garlic chives is rust, which causes orange or yellow spots on the leaves. To prevent rust, keep the plants well-spaced and remove any infected leaves as soon as possible.

In general, maintaining good growing conditions for your garlic chives is the best defense against pests and diseases. This includes providing adequate water, avoiding overcrowding, and ensuring good soil drainage. By keeping a close eye on your plants and addressing any issues promptly, you can help ensure a healthy and productive harvest.

Harvesting Garlic Chives: When and How to Harvest

Garlic chives are a versatile and delicious herb that can be used fresh or dried. They are relatively easy to grow and can be harvested several times throughout the growing season. Knowing when and how to harvest your garlic chives can help you get the most out of your plants.

When to Harvest

Garlic chives can be harvested when the leaves are about 6 inches (15 cm) tall. This is usually about 60-90 days after planting. You can harvest throughout the growing season, but it’s best to wait until the plants are well-established before you start harvesting.

You can tell when your garlic chives are ready to be harvested by looking at the leaves. When they are about 6 inches (15 cm) tall and have a rich green color, they are ready to be harvested. If the leaves are yellow or brown, it may be too late to harvest them.

How to Harvest

Harvesting garlic chives is easy. Simply use a pair of sharp scissors or garden shears to cut the leaves off at the base of the plant. You can harvest individual leaves or the entire plant, depending on your needs.

It’s important to be gentle when harvesting, as the leaves are delicate and can bruise easily. Be sure to handle the leaves carefully to avoid damaging them.

If you are harvesting your garlic chives for their seeds, wait until the flower heads have dried on the plant. Then, cut the entire flower head off and place it in a paper bag. Shake the bag gently to release the seeds.

Storing Garlic Chives

Once you have harvested your garlic chives, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. To store them, place the leaves in a plastic bag or wrap them in a damp paper towel and place them in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

You can also freeze it for later use. Simply chop them up and place them in a resealable plastic bag or freezer-safe container. They will last for up to six months in the freezer.

In conclusion, harvesting garlic chives is a simple process that can be done throughout the growing season. By waiting until the plants are well-established and using gentle handling techniques, you can ensure that your garlic chives are healthy and delicious. Remember to store them properly to extend their shelf life and enjoy them in your favorite recipes.

How to Store and Preserve Garlic Chives

Garlic chives are a popular herb used in many dishes for their distinct flavor and aroma. Whether you grow them in your garden or purchase them from the store, it’s important to store and preserve them properly to maintain their freshness and quality. Here are some tips on how to store and preserve garlic chives:


Garlic chives can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Simply place them in a plastic bag or airtight container and store them in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. Before storing them, make sure to remove any wilted or yellowed leaves and wash them thoroughly.


Freezing is a great way to preserve garlic chives for a longer period. First, chop the garlic chives into small pieces and place them in a ziplock bag. Press out any excess air, seal the bag, and place it in the freezer. Alternatively, you can also freeze the chopped garlic chives in ice cube trays by filling the tray with chopped chives, adding water, and freezing. Once frozen, remove the chive cubes and store them in a ziplock bag.


Drying is another way to preserve garlic chives. First, tie the garlic chives together with twine or a rubber band and hang them in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Once they’re fully dry, remove the leaves from the stem and store them in an airtight container. You can also dry the garlic chives in a dehydrator at 95°F (35°C) for 2-4 hours.


Pickling garlic chives is a great way to add a tangy flavor to your dishes. To pickle garlic chives, mix 1 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once the mixture boils, add the garlic chives and let them simmer for a few minutes. Then, remove the garlic chives and place them in a jar. Pour the pickling liquid over the garlic chives, making sure they’re fully covered. Seal the jar and store it in the refrigerator.

By following these tips, you can easily store and preserve your garlic chives to enjoy them in your dishes for a longer period. Remember to always wash your garlic chives thoroughly before storing or preserving them.

Culinary Uses of Garlic Chives: Delicious Recipes to Try

Garlic chives are a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes to add a unique flavor and aroma. In this section, we will explore some delicious recipes that showcase the versatility of garlic chives.

  1. Garlic Chive Dumplings

Garlic chive dumplings are a popular dish in Chinese cuisine. To make these dumplings, mix together minced pork, chopped garlic chives, soy sauce, sesame oil, and other seasonings. Spoon the mixture onto a dumpling wrapper and fold it into a small parcel. Steam the dumplings for a few minutes until cooked through, and serve with a dipping sauce.

  1. Garlic Chive Pancakes

Garlic chive pancakes are a savory breakfast or snack item that can be enjoyed any time of day. To make these pancakes, mix together flour, water, chopped garlic chives, salt, and pepper. Heat a frying pan and cook the pancakes until golden brown on both sides. Serve with soy sauce or a spicy dipping sauce.

  1. Garlic Chive Scrambled Eggs

Garlic chives add a subtle yet distinctive flavor to scrambled eggs. To make garlic chive scrambled eggs, whisk together eggs, chopped garlic chives, salt, and pepper. Heat a frying pan and cook the eggs until they are set and lightly browned. Serve with toast or fried rice for a delicious breakfast or brunch dish.

  1. Garlic Chive Pesto

Garlic chive pesto is a delicious and easy-to-make alternative to traditional basil pesto. To make garlic chive pesto, blend together garlic chives, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Serve the pesto over pasta, grilled chicken, or as a dip for fresh vegetables.

  1. Garlic Chive Soup

Garlic chive soup is a comforting and flavorful soup that can be enjoyed on its own or as a side dish. To make garlic chive soup, sauté chopped garlic chives in a pot with butter or oil. Add chicken or vegetable broth, diced potatoes, and seasonings. Simmer the soup until the potatoes are cooked through and blend until smooth. Serve hot with croutons or a drizzle of cream.

These are just a few of the many ways to use garlic chives in your cooking. With their unique flavor and versatility, garlic chives are sure to become a staple ingredient in your kitchen.

Conclusion: Tips and Tricks for Successful Garlic Chive Gardening

Growing garlic chives can be a satisfying and enjoyable experience for both novice and experienced gardeners. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your garlic chive garden thrives and produces a bountiful harvest.

One of the most important things to remember when growing garlic chives is to provide them with the right growing conditions. These plants prefer a well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and slightly acidic. They also require regular watering and full sun exposure to ensure proper growth.

Another key factor in successful garlic chive gardening is proper fertilization. These plants benefit from regular fertilization with a balanced fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You should also consider using organic fertilizers, which can help improve soil health and reduce the risk of chemical buildup.

To ensure that your garlic chives remain healthy and productive, it is important to take steps to prevent pests and diseases. Keep your garden clean and tidy, and remove any debris or fallen leaves that can harbor pests or diseases. You may also want to consider using natural pest control methods, such as companion planting or introducing beneficial insects.

When it comes to harvesting garlic chives, it is best to pick the leaves as needed, rather than harvesting the entire plant at once. This will help ensure that your plants continue to produce fresh growth throughout the growing season. You can also store harvested garlic chives in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or freeze them for later use.

In conclusion, growing garlic chives can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, provided you follow the right tips and tricks. By providing your plants with the right growing conditions, proper fertilization, and adequate pest and disease control, you can ensure that your garlic chive garden thrives and produces a bountiful harvest.

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