How To Plant Chives From Seed [ Full Guide ]

Chives are a popular herb known for their mild onion flavor and are a great addition to any herb garden or kitchen. Planting chives from seeds can be a rewarding and straightforward process that allows you to enjoy the fresh, homegrown flavor of this versatile herb. In this guide, we will explore the step-by-step process of planting chives from seed, including selecting the right seeds, preparing the soil, choosing a suitable location, and understanding the benefits of growing chives from seed.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Chives From Seed

To plant chives from seed, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a suitable variety of chive seeds.
  2. Prepare well-draining, fertile soil for planting.
  3. Sow the chive seeds thinly and cover lightly with soil.
  4. Water the seeds gently and keep the soil consistently moist.
  5. Place the containers in a sunny location.
  6. Thin out the seedlings as they grow.
  7. Transplant the seedlings to a permanent location once they develop several sets of leaves.

Benefits Of Growing Chives From Seed

There are several benefits to growing chives from seed compared to purchasing mature plants. When you grow chives from seed, you have control over the entire growth process, from germination to harvest. Additionally, starting from seed allows you to choose from a wider variety of chive cultivars and ensures that the plants are free from any diseases or pests that could be present in store-bought chive plants. Growing chives from seed also provides a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as you witness the entire lifecycle of the plant.

Choosing The Right Seeds

When planting chives from seeds, the first step is selecting the right seeds. Chive seeds are readily available from garden centers and online suppliers. When choosing chive seeds, consider factors such as the variety, flavor, and growth habits. Common varieties of chives include common chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and garlic chives (Allium tuberosum). Common chives have slender, hollow leaves and produce purple, globe-shaped flowers, while garlic chives have flat, wider leaves and a slight garlic flavor.

When purchasing seeds, look for reputable suppliers that offer high-quality, non-GMO seeds. It’s also a good idea to check the expiry date on the seed packet to ensure that the seeds are fresh and viable for germination. Organic chive seeds are another option for those who prefer to grow their plants using organic methods.

Preparing Soil For Chive Planting

Chives thrive in well-draining, fertile soil with a slightly alkaline pH of around 6.0 to 7.0. Before planting chive seeds, prepare the soil to provide an optimal growing environment for the seeds to germinate and the plants to thrive. Start by choosing a sunny location for your chive bed. Chives prefer full sun but can also tolerate partial shade.

Begin by loosening the soil to a depth of at least 8 inches, removing any weeds, rocks, or debris that may hinder the growth of the chive plants. Incorporate organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to improve its nutrient content and drainage. This will provide a rich growing environment for the chive seeds and young plants.

Selecting A Suitable Location For Planting

Once the soil is prepared, choose a suitable location for planting the chive seeds. You can plant chive seeds directly in the ground or in containers if you have limited space or prefer to grow them indoors. When planting in the ground, select a spot with well-draining soil and good air circulation. Avoid areas prone to waterlogging, as excessive moisture can cause the chive seeds to rot before they germinate.

Incorporate the chives into your existing herb garden or plant them in a dedicated herb bed. Chives also do well when grown alongside other herbs and vegetables, as they can help repel certain pests. If growing in containers, ensure that the pots have drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating around the roots.

Planting Chives From Seed

Now that you have prepared the soil and selected a suitable location, it’s time to plant the chive seeds. Follow these steps for successful chive seed planting:

  1. Sowing the Seeds: Sow the chive seeds thinly and evenly over the prepared soil. Chive seeds are small, so avoid planting them too deeply. A light covering of soil, about 1/4 inch deep, is sufficient to support germination.

  2. Watering: After sowing the seeds, water the area gently to ensure that the soil is evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can cause the seeds to rot. Keep the soil consistently moist until the seeds germinate and the seedlings establish themselves.

  3. Sunlight: Place the containers or sow the seeds in a location with ample sunlight. Chive seeds require sunlight for germination and continued growth. A sunny windowsill or outdoor spot with at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day is ideal.

  4. Germination: Chive seeds typically germinate within 7-14 days under optimal conditions. Keep an eye on the soil moisture during this period and ensure that it remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.

  5. Thinning: Once the chive seedlings have emerged, thin them out to ensure proper spacing and healthy growth. Remove the weaker or overcrowded seedlings, leaving about 4-6 inches of space between each plant. This gives the remaining seedlings ample room to grow and develop.

  6. Transplanting: Transplant the chive seedlings to a permanent location once they have developed several sets of leaves and are sturdy enough to withstand transplant shock. This can occur when the seedlings are approximately 4-6 inches tall.

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By following these steps, you can successfully plant chives from seed and start your journey to enjoying a bountiful harvest of fresh, homegrown chives.

Planting chives from seed is a rewarding and straightforward process that allows you to enjoy the pleasure of growing your own herbs from start to finish. By selecting the right seeds, preparing the soil, choosing a suitable location, and following the steps for successful chive seed planting, you can cultivate a thriving chive garden. Whether you choose to grow common chives or garlic chives, the flavorful and versatile herb will be a delightful addition to your culinary endeavors. Starting chives from seed not only provides you with a greater variety of cultivars but also gives you the satisfaction of nurturing the plants from the very beginning. With care and attention, your chive seeds will grow into healthy, productive plants that will provide you with a bounty of fresh chives for culinary use and enjoyment.

Planting Chive Seeds: Step-by-Step Guide

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are versatile and easy-to-grow perennial herbs that can be a great addition to any garden. Known for their distinctive onion-like flavor, chives are commonly used in culinary dishes to add a subtle hint of onion taste. These plants are not only delicious but also aesthetically pleasing, with their slender, green stems and attractive pinkish-purple flowers.

One of the most economical and efficient ways of growing chives is by planting them from seeds. This method allows you to have a greater variety of chive cultivars and ensures the health and freshness of the plants.

Step 1: Choosing The Right Time

Before starting the planting process, it is vital to select the appropriate time for sowing chive seeds. Chives thrive in cooler temperatures, so it is best to plant them either in early spring or fall. If you plan to sow the seeds in spring, aim for a period when the soil is workable and the danger of frost has passed. For fall planting, allow enough time for the chive plants to establish themselves before the first frost.

Step 2: Preparing The Soil

Chives prefer fertile, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Begin by clearing the planting area of any weeds or debris. Loosen the soil using a garden fork or tiller, going as deep as 6 to 8 inches. Break up any clumps and remove any large rocks or roots that may hinder root growth.

To improve drainage and increase soil fertility, incorporate organic matter into the soil. This can be achieved by adding compost, well-rotted manure, or aged leaf mulch to the planting area. Mix the organic matter thoroughly into the soil, ensuring it is evenly distributed.

Step 3: Sowing Chive Seeds

Chive seeds are small and can be easily scattered over the prepared soil. Using your fingertips or a small garden tool, create shallow furrows in the soil, approximately ¼ inch deep. Space these furrows around 12 to 18 inches apart to allow sufficient room for the chive plants to grow.

Carefully sprinkle the chive seeds along the furrows, keeping a distance of about ½ inch between each seed. It is important to note that chive seeds require light to germinate, so avoid burying them too deep. To protect the seeds from being blown away or eaten by birds, you may lightly cover them with a thin layer of fine soil or vermiculite.

Step 4: Watering And Germination

Once the chive seeds are sown, water the planting area thoroughly. Ensure the soil remains consistently moist throughout the germination period, which typically takes one to three weeks. To prevent the seeds from drying out or being disturbed by heavy rainfall, consider covering the area with a thin layer of straw or a plastic mulch.

During germination, maintain a moist but not soggy soil. Too much moisture can lead to rotting of the seeds or damping off of the seedlings. Monitor the moisture level regularly and water as needed, making sure not to overwater.

Step 5: Thinning And Transplanting

As the chive seedlings emerge and grow, they will become crowded if sown densely. To ensure proper spacing for optimal growth, thin out the seedlings when they reach a height of 2 to 3 inches. This can be done by carefully removing the excess seedlings, leaving a space of approximately 4 to 6 inches between each plant.

The thinned-out seedlings can be transplanted to another area of your garden or given away to friends or family who would like to grow chives. Be cautious when separating the seedlings to avoid damaging their delicate roots. Ensure that the transplanted seedlings are watered immediately to prevent stress and promote their establishment.

Step 6: Caring For Young Chive Plants

Once the chive plants have been thinned and transplanted, it is important to provide them with the appropriate care to foster healthy growth. Here are some essential tips for caring for young chive plants:

Watering And Drainage Requirements For Chives

Chives prefer evenly moist soil but can tolerate slightly dry conditions. Avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. It is better to water deeply and less frequently rather than providing light, frequent waterings. Aim to water the chive plants when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch.

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Ensure that the planting area has adequate drainage to prevent waterlogging. Poor drainage can result in root diseases and stunted growth. If the soil does not drain well, consider incorporating organic matter or amending the soil composition to improve its drainage capabilities.

Providing Adequate Sunlight

Chive plants thrive in full sun but can tolerate partial shade, especially in hotter regions. Ideally, they should receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Insufficient sunlight can lead to leggy growth and reduced flower production. If your garden has areas with partial shade, consider planting chives there, as this can help extend their growing season.

Fertilizing Chive Plants

Chives are not heavy feeders and generally do well without excessive fertilization. However, to promote healthier growth and enhance flavor, it is beneficial to enrich the soil with organic fertilizers. Before planting, you can incorporate compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to provide initial nutrients.

During the growing season, you can supplement the soil with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer or a liquid organic fertilizer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding application rates and frequency. It is important not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth and reduced flavor intensity.

Step 7: Harvesting Chives

One of the great advantages of growing chives from seed is that they can be harvested in their second year. During the first year, chive plants focus on establishing their root system, and excessive harvesting can hinder their growth. However, in the second year, the plants will produce an abundance of slender, green leaves that are ready to be harvested.

To harvest chives, simply snip the leaves close to the base of the plant using scissors or pruning shears. Harvesting should be done regularly to encourage the growth of new foliage and prevent the plants from going to flower. Chive leaves can be used fresh or dried for culinary purposes, adding a mild onion flavor to various dishes.

Planting chives from seed can be a rewarding and economical way to grow these delicious and versatile herbs in your garden. By following the step-by-step guide provided, you can ensure a successful germination and establishment of chive plants. Remember to choose the right time for sowing, prepare the soil adequately, and provide appropriate care to foster healthy growth.

By providing sufficient water, adequate sunlight, and occasional fertilization, you can encourage robust foliage and flavorful chives. With proper maintenance, your chive plants will flourish, providing you with a fresh and aromatic herb to enhance your culinary creations. So, grab your chive seeds and get ready to enjoy the delights of homegrown chives straight from your garden.

Weed Control And Mulching Techniques

Chives are a popular herb that can be easily grown in home gardens. They not only add a fresh and mild onion flavor to a variety of dishes but also have beautiful blooms that can be used as an edible garnish. While chives can be grown from transplants or divisions, planting them from seed is a cost-effective and rewarding method.

Before planting chive seeds, it is important to prepare the soil and ensure proper weed control. Weeds can compete with chive plants for nutrients and sunlight, resulting in stunted growth or even the death of the plants. Start by removing any existing weeds from the planting area. A hand weeder or hoe can be used to carefully remove the weeds while avoiding damage to the soil.

Once the area is free from weeds, consider adding a layer of mulch to further prevent weed growth and conserve moisture. Organic mulches such as straw or wood chips are recommended as they break down over time, improving the soil structure and fertility. Apply a thin layer of mulch around the chive plants, taking care not to cover the seedlings or young plants completely.

Dealing With Common Pests And Diseases

Like any other plant, chives are susceptible to various pests and diseases. However, by practicing good gardening techniques and taking preventive measures, you can minimize the chances of infestations and keep your chive plants healthy.

A common pest that affects chives is the onion fly. These small flies lay their eggs at the base of the plant, and once hatched, the larvae burrow into the leaves and bulbs, causing damage. To prevent onion fly infestations, consider using floating row covers to physically block the flies from accessing the plants. Additionally, practicing crop rotation can help break the pest lifecycle, as the onion fly is generally less abundant in areas where allium plants have not been grown in recent years.

Chives can also be affected by fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and downy mildew. These diseases can cause the leaves to develop a whitish or grayish powder or spots on the surface. To prevent fungal infections, ensure proper spacing between plants to improve air circulation and reduce humidity. Water the plants at the base rather than overhead, as wet foliage can promote fungal growth. If symptoms appear, promptly remove and destroy infected plant parts to prevent the spread of the disease.

Harvesting Chives: When And How To Do It

Chives can be harvested once they have reached a height of 6 to 8 inches and have developed a sufficient number of leaves. Harvesting at this stage ensures optimal flavor and encourages new growth. To harvest the chives, simply use a sharp pair of scissors or garden shears to cut the leaves close to the base.

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When harvesting, it is important to leave at least 2 inches of growth above the soil to allow the plant to recover and continue growing. Avoid cutting off more than one-third of the plant at a time to prevent stressing the chive plant. Regular harvesting will help maintain the size and shape of the plant and encourage new growth.

If you prefer to use the chive flowers for culinary purposes, allow a few plants to bloom. The flowers can be harvested when they are fully open for the best flavor. They can be used fresh as a colorful garnish or dried for later use. Harvesting the flowers before they go to seed can also prevent self-seeding and potential invasiveness in the garden.

Additional Tips And Considerations For Successful Chive Planting

Here are some additional tips and considerations to help ensure a successful chive planting:

  1. Planting Location: Chives prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Choose a well-draining location in your garden that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

  2. Soil Preparation: Before sowing chive seeds, prepare the soil by incorporating organic matter such as compost or aged manure. This will improve soil fertility and provide essential nutrients for healthy plant growth.

  3. Seed Starting: Chive seeds can be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date, or direct sown outdoors after the threat of frost has passed. When starting seeds indoors, sow them in seed trays or pots filled with seed starting mix. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide sufficient light for germination.

  4. Transplanting: Once the chive seedlings have grown to a height of 3 to 4 inches and have developed a few sets of true leaves, they can be transplanted into their permanent location. Space the plants 6 to 12 inches apart to allow for proper airflow and growth.

  5. Watering: Chives prefer evenly moist soil, so water the plants regularly, especially during dry periods. Avoid overwatering or allowing the soil to become waterlogged, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases.

  6. Fertilizing: Chives are generally low-maintenance plants and do not require much fertilization. However, a light application of balanced organic fertilizer in early spring can help promote healthy growth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates.

  7. Dividing Chive Clumps: As chive plants mature, they tend to form clumps. Over time, these clumps can become overcrowded and result in reduced growth and vigor. To prevent this, divide the clumps every 2 to 3 years in early spring or late summer. Carefully dig up the clumps, separate them into smaller sections, and replant them in well-prepared soil.

  8. Saving Seeds: Chives produce attractive purple flower heads that eventually produce small seeds. To save chive seeds, allow the flower heads to fully mature and dry on the plant. Once dry, carefully collect the seeds and store them in a cool, dry place until the next planting season.


Growing chives from seed is a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy their fresh, mild onion flavor and beautiful blooms. By following the tips and recommendations outlined in this article, you can ensure successful chive planting and a bountiful harvest. Remember to provide the chive plants with proper soil preparation, weed control, and protection against pests and diseases. Harvest the leaves at the correct stage and consider using the flowers for culinary purposes. With proper care, your chive plants will thrive and provide you with a steady supply of this versatile herb for years to come.


What Is The Ideal Time To Plant Chives From Seed?

Chives can be planted outdoors in late spring, once the soil has warmed up. They can also be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date.

How Should I Prepare The Soil For Planting Chive Seeds?

Chives prefer well-drained soil with a neutral pH of 6.0-7.0. It is recommended to add compost or well-rotted manure to the soil before planting to improve drainage and provide essential nutrients.

How Deep Should I Plant Chive Seeds?

Chive seeds should be planted about 1/4 inch deep in the soil. Too deep of planting can prevent the seeds from germinating, while planting them too shallow may result in them drying out.

How Often Should I Water Chive Seeds?

Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, until the seeds have germinated. After the seedlings emerge, reduce watering to once or twice a week, depending on the weather.

When Can I Expect To See Chive Seedlings?

Chive seeds can take 2-3 weeks to germinate. Once they have germinated, you will see small, grass-like seedlings emerging from the soil. They will continue to grow and develop into mature plants over the next few weeks.