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Growing Chives in Large Quantities #448518

Asked April 19, 2018, 4:26 PM EDT

My name is Alyce Kaehler
I live in a senior citizen facility.  We eat in a large dining room.  We have good food.  We also have two huge planters, water available)  on the west side of our facility  (lots of sun).  Would like to grow herbs, especially chives,in those huge planters.  Chives would be used by the chefs for the residence only.
Do chives:  1- grow well in the sun?  2-  need special soil amendments?  
3- water needs.?  4- pest problems?   5- disease problems?  6-  other problems known to you?   7- any suggestions?  Would appreciate any help you can give.

Larimer County Colorado

Expert Response

Chives prefer a full sun location and are tolerant of a wide variety of soils but will grow best in soils that are high in organic matter. Chives are most commonly propagated by dividing the clumps in early spring. Clumps should contain about 4-6 bulbs. They can also be grown from seed sown in spring. Seed may be slow to germinate and take 4-6 weeks to produce transplants. Plants grown from seed will produce variations in leaf texture and size. To keep plantings vigorous and from becoming overcrowded, divide plants every 2-3 years. Plants that are harvested frequently benefit from supplemental fertilizer during the season. Chives can self-sow and overtake a garden unless flowers are removed before they fade. Cut leaves toward the base about one inch above the soil. Flowers can also be harvested for use as an edible garnish. Leaves are used fresh and can be dried but will discolor and quickly absorb moisture. Chives can also be frozen for later use.
  • ‘Grolau’ Chives - This Swiss strain has been developed for indoor culture and greenhouse forcing. Extra strong flavor and thick, dark leaves. Less susceptible to becoming leggy.
  • ‘Nelly’ Chives - Fine texture leaves, blue-green in color, uniform upright habit.
  • ‘Profusion’® Chives - Prolific production of leaves and flowers. Flowers are sterile and don’t produce seeds. Good variety for pot culture.
  • ‘Staro’ Chives – Extra thick dark leaves.
  • Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) – Also called Chinese Chives. Similar in appearance to garden chives but leaves are flat and not round and flowers are white not pink. Growing to about 12-18 inches. Culture is the same as for garden chives. Distinct garlic flavor to the leaves. Excellent as an ornamental-edible border plant. Cultivar ‘Kobold’ is more compact and uniform.
  • Because chives are so prolific, recommend only one or two containers.
  • Pests are not a problem
  • Disease is not a problem

Charleen Barr Replied April 20, 2018, 11:10 AM EDT

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