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How to Plant Chives

Chives are edible herbs with a mild flavor. If you’re wondering how to plant chives, you’ve come to the right place! Planting chives is simple and rewarding. What’s more, chives are nutritious and attractive with lovely purple blooms.

A potted chive plant next to harvested chive leaves on a cutting board.

Keep reading to learn all about how to grow chives, including how to start chives from seed, when to fertilize, how to harvest, and more.

Why Grow Chives?

Chives have a mild onion flavor that works well with many different dishes. They’re perfect for topping baked potatoes, adding to egg dishes, or sprinkling onto a salad.

The entire plant is edible, including the roots and flowers!

Closeup of a bundle of chives being chopped. Knowing how to plant chives means you can grow your own kitchen herbs.

Chives are nutrient-dense, meaning they are low in calories while being high in nutrients. Chives have many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help your body function at its best.

Chives are perennial so they’ll come back each year. Starting chive seeds is the gift that keeps on giving! You’ll get to enjoy a harvest of fresh chives for many years to come.

How to Plant Chives

Learning how to plant chives is relatively simple and the payoff is huge. After a little bit of work getting your chive plants established, you can enjoy a continual harvest of fresh chives for months to come.

Healthy plants require minimal care and will keep producing all through the season plus they’ll come back again the next spring.

Choosing the Right Location

Chives can be grown indoors or outdoors as long as you provide favorable conditions. Thankfully, chives are not too fussy. They only need a few basic things like warm soil, adequate light, and room to grow.

Chives don’t need large containers. Medium-sized pots are perfectly adequate. Larger containers work well too if you have them or chives can be planted directly in the ground.

Purple flowers on chives plants.


Chives like rich, well-draining soil that stays moist. They prefer a soil pH between six and seven. If you’re not sure what pH your soil has, you can test it at home with a soil test kit.

If your soil pH is too high or too low, amending it to adjust the pH level is simple. You can add an acidifier to lower the pH or hydrated lime to raise the pH.

When growing chives in containers, use a good-quality potting soil.


Chives do best in full sun. Put them in a spot where they’ll get at least six to eight hours of sunlight a day. if you don’t have a sunny spot, chives tolerate partial shade but they won’t grow as well.

A sunny window usually works well for growing chives indoors. If you don’t have a place to grow chives where they’ll get adequate sunlight, you can use a grow light.

Person planting chives in a garden.

Planting Chive Seeds

To plant chive seeds outdoors, wait until all danger of frost has passed.

Plant seeds directly in their permanent growing location and cover them with 1/4 inch of soil.

Chive seeds take a long time to grow. It can be as many as two to four weeks before sprouts emerge. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see sprouts popping up in a few days, it’s totally normal!


To keep chives healthy, make sure the soil stays moist, especially around the roots. For in-ground chives, watering once a week is usually enough.

Chives grown in pots may need to be watered more often because soil in containers dries out quicker.


Chives planted in soil that is rich in organic matter shouldn’t need a lot of fertilizer. Incorporating a slow-release fertilizer when planting is usually enough for chive plants grown in the ground and large garden beds.

For chives grown in smaller containers or pots, liquid fertilizer can be applied about once a month to make sure chives have enough nutrients available to thrive.

How to Start Chive Seeds Indoors

A starter tray of chive seedlings.

Starting chive seeds indoors is a great way to get a jumpstart on the garden season. Seeds can be planted indoors as early as six to eight weeks before the last frost.

Chives grow best at around 70 degrees. If your room isn’t warm enough, you’ll need a heat mat to keep the plants warm.

Growing Chives from Seed

To start chive seeds indoors, you’ll need some basic seed-starting equipment.

Seedling Starting Equipment

Hoss Germination Mat

Indoor Seed Starting Light Kit

SunGrow Black Gold Seed Starting Mix

Potting Mix

48 Cell Seed Starting Kit

Small Containers

Gardening Gloves

Garden Shovel

Spray Bottle

Watering Can

Garden Labels

High-quality equipment makes seed starting easy and you can use it over and over again.

Setting up Your Space

Set up your equipment in a location where it will be convenient but out of the way.

Fill seed starting trays with a good quality seed starting mix. Seed starting mix provides the perfect environment for seeds to germinate and grow. You can create your own seed starting mix or use a prepackaged mix.

Starting Chive Seeds

Chive seeds next to chive leaves.

Sprinkle several seeds per cell over the seed starting mix and cover to a depth of 1/4 inch. Water thoroughly and wait for sprouts to appear. Remember it can take two to four weeks for chive seeds to sprout so don’t worry if it takes a while.

Keep the soil moist and warm as you wait for seedlings to emerge. A small spray bottle is ideal for watering seedlings because it won’t disturb the seeds. A humidity dome is helpful for keeping seedlings moist and warm.

A humidity dome over a starter tray of seeds.

Once seedlings emerge, make sure they have plenty of light either in a sunny window or with a grow light.

Transplanting Chives

After about four to six weeks you can transplant chive seedlings outdoors or to a more permanent location indoors.

Space plants at least four inches apart and water thoroughly.

How to Harvest Chives

Woman using shears to snip chive leaves from a plant.

To harvest chives, simply snip the leaves as they grow. Use sharp scissors and cut the leaves near the base of the plant. This encourages the plant to continue growing.

Chives are best used right away but they can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a few days.

Wrapping up How to Plant Chives

A bundle of chives next to a bowl of chopped chives.

Now that you’ve learned how to plant chives, why not learn how to plant some more herbs? Visit the Seed Starting page to find planting guides for many different herbs plus flowers and vegetables. Not only that, you’ll find helpful tips, product recommendations, and much more.

Inspired to start your own herb garden? Then learn more about planting and growing specific herbs with our guides and info posts!