How to grow Chives

Kitchen essentials, perfect for omelettes and salad.

How to grow 
Chives are simple to grow and perfect for pots. Sow seed in March to April direct into the ground or in containers, or buy plants from the garden centre.

How to care for chives
Chives like a rich, moist soil in a fairly sunny position. Ensure pot-grown plants are well-watered so they produce fresh leaves. The pompom flowers produced in summer are also edible.

Chives die right back in winter but you can keep a supply going by potting some up in September to grow on a sunny windowsill. Rejuvenate plants by dividing them every three or four years.

How to harvest 
Cut leaves with sharp scissors about 1cm from ground level. Add chives at the end of cooking or their flavour will disappear.

Recommended varieties
The normal species (Allium schoenoprasum) has mauve flowers, although you can find white-flowered varieties. ‘Forescate’ is a more vigorous variety with bright pink flowers.