Chives are a perennial member of the onion family that sport beautiful edible flowers. Chives are cool-season, cold-tolerant perennials that are best planted in early spring for a late spring and early summer harvest.
Be mindful when planting this herb, as it will take over your garden if the flowers are allowed to develop fully (the flowers scatter the seeds). However, this plant is easy to dig up and move if it does end up invading other parts of your garden.
Types of chives to grow
The two species of chives commonly grown in home gardens are common chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and garlic chives (A. tuberosum):
- Common chives consist of clumps of small, slender bulbs that produce thin, tubular, blue-green leaves reaching 10-15 inches in height. The edible, flavorful flowers may be white, pink, purple, or red, depending on variety. They can be grown in zones 3 to 9.
- Garlic chives (also called Chinese chives) look similar to common chives, but their leaves are flatter, greener, and get to be about 20 inches in height. As their name suggests, their leaves have a mild garlic flavor (bulbs are more intense). Flowers are white, and are larger and less densely-clustered than those of common chives. Garlic chives are not quite as cold hardy as common chives, so they are recommended for zones 4 to 9.