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A hardy perennial, extra fine leaved chives or Allium schoenoprasum’ fine leaved’ are reliable and attractive plants in their own right, notwithstanding their excellent attributes as a culinary herb. Chives are easy to grow, both from seed and transplanted as young plants, and will tolerate almost any decent soil conditions. Dying back completely in the winter, chives are one of the earliest to brave the spring, and put on growth quickly and efficiently, thus allowing for an extended period of leaf production.
The deep green cylindrical leaves are finer than common chives, but still can create an excellent border or edging plant, and the purple globular flowers, held above the leaves, are a fabulous addition to the herb garden as a spectacle of colour. Chives grow well in most situations, and will flourish in pots, and can be cut down to within 3cm of the ground when harvesting. In autumn or spring, larger clumps can be split and replanted.
Both the leaves and flowers of Chives make an excellent accompaniment to most food, and the leaves are especially complementary to eggs and cheese, lifting a simple omelette to new heights, while also serving as an excellent garnish. Salads and tomatoes are improved with the addition of chives, as they give a mild onion flavour.