Chives are hardy perennial plants that prefer the warm weather. Being a part of the onion family, chives often grow in an herb garden to cook. The leaves have a mild onion flavor. They have a slender stem with 6-10 inches long hollow grass-like leaves.
Their pinkish-purple flowers grow up to 12 inches tall in the spring. Once the chives are planted, they will grow well for years with good care. Garlic chives are very similar to chives and are present with a garlic flavor instead of onion.
They also have flat leaves with white flowers. They’re also good in a landscape and can proliferate in a container. The chive-like appearance, along with strong garlic flavor, makes it popular for seasoning in various cuisines.
What You Need To Know About Garlic Chives
It is better to be growing chive in warm climates with well-draining soil, but they can also tolerate shade and poor soil conditions. There are various kinds: Common Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum), Giant Siberian Chives, and Siberian Garlic Chives.
Garlic Chive (Allium tuberosum) seedlings are easily grown in 5-8 weeks and have incredible taste. By snipping them throughout the season, they can be used in an onion-like garnish. You can use every part of the plant in cooking dishes, including dumplings and broths.
Garlic chives are ideal for anyone looking for low-maintenance plants that are also edible. Garlic chives, also known as Chinese chives, are beneficial due to their varied nutrients that help strengthen our body.
1. Benefits Of Garlic Chives
Garlic chives contain significant nutrients in just 30 calories per 100 grams. It is low in fat and high in fiber and protein. It also contains high amounts of Vitamin C and is a good source of protein.
They are also a great source of Vitamin B6, B12.1, and Vitamin A. Vitamin A can help prevent osteoporosis in the later stages of life. When garlic chives are used in Chinese medicines, they are used as a warming agent.
Like other chive family members, garlic has a mustard oil that is rich in sulfur. It promotes digestion and blood flow as well. This also helps reduce blood pressure.
Mustard oil from the chives was used to heal wounds. Pork fat, along with garlic chives, is used to season a wok.
2. Varieties Of Chives
Garlic chive leaves are flatter than onion chive leaves, and the flower is usually white, and colors depend on the variety. Onion chives bloom sooner than garlic chives and have a mild flavor of onions. They differ from onion chives because of their solid stems and varying flavors.
Common chives consist of slender bulbs that produce thin tube-like blue-green leaves about 10-15 inches in height. The flowers come in white, pink, purple, or you can use the entirety of a chive. You can use every part of a chive.
The flowers can be used in a salad bowl and as a garnish, and the leaves can be cut up and added to cooked potatoes, sauces, and sandwiches. The bulb of the chives herb can be used as a mild onion as well.
Both garlic and common chives grow in grass-like clumps in your garden. While common chives are tube-shaped and grass-green, the garlic chives are flat, blue-green blades. This flavor has a stronger garlic undertone than onions. It is not as strong as real garlic but is an ideal substitute.
Snipping the leaves of the plant generously is how it is used as a seasoning and garnish. These plants are larger and lean towards being more vegetables than herbs.
There are 3 types of garlic chives, and each is used uniquely:
Common Garlic Chives (Gau Choy)
Though similar in looks to the common chives, the garlic chives have broad flat leaves and are not hollow. The flavor enriches slow-cooked dishes with a sauce like seafood stews and soups. They add extra flavor to stir fry. They also go well with egg dishes and prawns.
Flowering Chives (Gau Choy Fa)
They have hollow and light green stems with yellow buds. They have a stronger flavor than Gau Choy. They are purely used in stir-fries and salads. The yellow buds are edible and used in the garnish. They are easily available at supermarkets and Asian Grocers.
Yellow hives (Gau Wong)
These chives are grown in regions with no sun. In the absence of chlorophyll, the leaves do not turn green. They are considered a delicacy and served with vegetables in a stir fry. They can also be used as a milder alternative to the other garlic chives.
You can grow garlic chives by planting chive seeds on slightly acidic soil – pH between pH 6.2 to 6.8 – with high organic matter. The grown chives are slightly softer without extra frost protection.
Plant the chive seeds in a free-draining, proprietary potting mix and cover them with a lid. If transplanting the chives, you can increase their efficiency through division. Doing this every 3 years in springtime can invigorate the growth of the chives.
The recommended distance between each chives crop is about 15-30cm apart with high potassium feed like comfrey. This is all that’s necessary.
If the herbs are in-ground cover during Spring, you can get earlier harvests. They can grow up to 24 inches when well-watered.
Regular pruning of chives keeps them healthy and encourages growth. Picking the flower regularly during summer discourages underdevelopment. If planted in reasonably fertile soil, fertilizer won’t be necessary. Harvesting your chive regularly benefits from nitrogen top-dressing.
It is recommended to replant the crops in fresh soil every 3-5 years.
3. Care Of Garlic Chives
Taking care of your chive plants is a straightforward process. Water as needed because the plants enjoy moist soil. It is also recommended to use a slow-release fertilizer for the seedlings. After a long winter, the chives die out and return during springtime.
When harvesting chive plants, clipping the stems up to ground level (2-3 inches) will encourage the growth of the plants. To harness the best flavor from the chives, you need to remove the flower buds that are edible on their own.
The more buds you remove, the more will grow. The flowers can be harvested in 2 rounds – once during the summer and once in the fall.
Common Problems While Growing Garlic Chives
Like chives, Garlic chives don’t present many problems, but that said, they’re not problem-free. The few issues to look out for are listed below.
- Mildew: This shows up as white spots on the vegetation. The crops affected with mildew need to be removed immediately to prevent its spread. This can happen if plants are too close together. Some copper-based fungicides can reduce this kind of infection.
- Leaf spot: If there are marks on leaves, it could be a fungus. A fungicide is your best friend in these situations. The best bet for you is to ditch the plant.
- Rust: If there are brown spots on the leaves, it could be because of an infection known as rust. The cause is normally high humidity and overwatering. To prevent rust, it is good to water from below.
- Thrips: Thrips are bugs that feed on leaves and can spread disorders to your garden. This can be controlled by sticky traps or diatomaceous earth. Another way is to remove them by watering a rapid burst of water through the hose.
- Onion fly: These flies attack plants that belong to the allium family and affect the bulbous portion of the plant. The entire chive plant can die due to this, and one way to prevent this is through insect row covers and encouraging their predators to minimize damage.
Garlic Chives Vs. Garlic
With their white flowers, long green shoots, and garlicky flavor, garlic chives look very similar to regular chives. They also belong to the onion species. You can find garlic chives in a herb garden, your garden, and in supermarkets.
Garlic has bulbs with cloves in a membranous coat. Garlic is normally planted in the fall as the spring is too rainy and causes it to rot. Their planting technique is similar to that of onions.
If the soil is rich, the tops may need to be broken to prevent overgrowth. The bulbs are often planted 4-6 inches apart.
Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are herbs grown from seeds. This plant helps in the pollination and germination of seeds as it attracts bees and other beneficial insects.
To get the stronger and better flavor out of it, it is important to use the buds than the herbs. This crop has several benefits and is always the ideal substitute for the garlic flavor if you’re feeling lazy to peel garlic cloves.
With various health benefits, garlic chives stimulate the body and strengthen us. Though easy to maintain, it comes with its own set of challenges that you can easily overcome.
James Fields is the founder of Gardener to Farmer. His passion for gardening goes back to his childhood days when he would visit his grandfather during the holidays and help him with the plants in the backyard. This has now translated to creating a dependable resource for gardening.