Content Detail

Chives is a perennial bulb often grown as an herb for its edible leaves. The dense clusters of light pink to purplish-white flowers have a honey scent and add ornamental interest to the summer garden. 

  • Family (English) Amaryllis
  • Family (botanic) Amaryllidaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches), Medium plant (12-24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9, Zone 10
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer
  • Flower color and fragrance Pink, White
  • Shape or form Mounded, Upright
  • Growth rate Fast


Chives is a 10 to 12 inch high clump forming plant that grows from a bulb.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to Northern Europe, Asia, and Siberia.

Attracts birds or pollinators:

Butterflies, bees, and other pollinators are attracted to this plant.

Leaf description:

Hollow, cylindrical, deep green leaves can reach 14 inches long. Allium forms congested clumps of edible leaves used to flavor salads and soups.

Flower description:

Dense, globular clusters of small bell-shaped, light pink, honey scented flowers. Blooms in early summer. Flowers are edible.

Fruit description:

Flowers produce small black seeds.

Plant care:

Best in full sun in well-drained soil. Does not tolerate wet conditions. Grown for its edible leaves and flowers. Deadhead after flowers fade to prevent seeding. Cut to the ground in late fall. 

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Bulbs will rot in wet soil. Resistant to deer, rabbits, black walnut toxicity, and drought.

Forescate Chives (Allium schoenoprasum ‘Forescate’):

A cultivar that is 12 to 18 inches high and 18 to 24 inches wide with grass-like edible foliage and rosy-pink flower clusters.

Schnittlauch Chives (Allium schoenoprasum ‘Schnittlauch’):

Dense clumps of 12 inch high leaves have rosy-pink flower clusters.


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