Growing and Saving the Seed Of Chives

Latin name Allium schoenoprasum is a perennial member of the onion family. Winter tolerant and great for greenhouse production, it has great light garlic flavor and is popular with Asian chefs. Chives can handle less light than other herbs and will thrive in poor soil.



Native to boreal areas of Eurasia and possibly North America (this is debated).


  • Ornamental
  • Chives are a popular culinary ingredient.




  • Seeds germinate in 7-14 days.
  • Plant 1/8 inch deep.
  • Direct seed around last frost date, or set outside at about that time.
  • Keep seeds consistently moist until germination.
  • Ideal germination temperature of 55-60 F.


  • Well adapted to even poor soil, but for very best production, provide moist, well-drained, rich soil.
  • Prefers full sun but will tolerate part to even heavy shade.
  • Chives like to be consistently well watered. Divide clumps in spring every 3-4 years.
  • Perennial chives that get divided are much more productive.


  • A typically pest-free plant, chives are interplanted in the garden to help ward off certain insect pests.
  • Thrips can be a pest of chives.
  • Release and encourage beneficial insects like predatory mite, pirate bugs and lacewings to combat thrips.


  • Chives will not cross pollinate with other alliums like onions or garlic, making it easy to save seed.
  • Chives are a biennial seed crop, so you will save seeds in the second summer.
  • Allow onions to shoot up spikes of purple flowers.
  • Let seeds become dry on the plants. Pick seeds when they are hard and dark black; then you can bring them indoors to finish drying.
  • Once dry, separate the seeds from the husks or leave them on and plant them husks and all.