Garden Plant Guides

Tower Garden Grow Guide: How to Grow Chives

Add some zest to your garden with looks and taste.
GROWING INFORMATION
Chives
DIFFICULTY
1 out of 5 leaves
TIME TO HARVEST
2-3 weeks
INDOOR VS OUTDOOR
Both
BEST TOWER POSITION
Top

Why We Love Chives

In the same family as garlic, onions, and shallots, chives are a mainstay in most herb gardens. Great for beginners, chives provide a plentiful, delicious harvest with very little maintenance. With a similar aroma and flavor profile as onion, they are also very versatile in the kitchen. Rich in flavonoid antioxidants, this great herb also helps promote heart health, protect against cancer, and fight inflammation.

Download the Chives Grow Guide PDF.

Varieties

  • Fine Leaf Chives – Thinner, smaller, and a good choice for fresh use.
  • Purly Chives – Thicker leaves and is a little more productive.
  • Staro Chives – Large, thick-leafed variety that’s better for freezing or drying.
  • Nira Chives – Big, bulky plants that grow upright for ease of harvesting.
  • Garlic Chives – Attractive, edible flowers that bloom in midsummer and make a great addition to bouquets.

Planting Your Seedlings

What You’ll Need

View more information on starting your seeds.

  1. Germinate your seeds. This step will take roughly 1-2 weeks. Chives seeds should be ready for transplant (about 1–2 weeks) when they have a good root system growing from the rockwool cubes.
  2. Place one seedling cube into each net pot or growing clip on your Tower Garden Growing System. We recommend planting chives near the top of your Tower Garden.
  3. Gently press the seedling cube until it touches the base of the net pot or growing clip.

Growing Conditions

Temperature: 50–80° F

Light exposure and watering cycle can be controlled by our digital timer, but for manual reference:

Light

For outdoor – minimum 6-8 hours of full sunlight daily

For indoor – set grow light timer for 14-16 hours on, 8-10 hours off

Watering Cycle

Please set the Tower timer to “O” for outdoor growing or “I” for indoor growing.

Maintenance & Pest Prevention 

  • Check water and pH levels at least weekly.
  • Keep roots away from pump.
  • If not in full sun when outdoors, rotate garden regularly for even growing.
  • Clean pump monthly.
  • Check regularly for pests.
  • Remove dead plant debris.
  • Destroy diseased plant material.

More information on Tower Garden maintenance is here, as well as extra help for pests and troubleshooting.

Harvesting

  • You can harvest chive leaves once your established plants are 6” tall.
  • To harvest, use scissors to simply cut the stem, leaving 2” of plant material.
  • Don’t cut all the leaves of a clump of plants off at one time: stick to no more than half. This allows that same clump of plants to be cut over and over again throughout the growing season.
  • Before the plants flower, harvest from the outside edges of the clumps.
  • Cut your chive plants regularly to encourage new bulblets to develop and to prevent leaves from becoming tough and flowers from forming.
  • You can dry them, but chives are most flavourful when used fresh.
  • Extra chives? Freeze them for later. Simply chop up washed leaves into small pieces and freeze them in containers.
  • Garlic chives regenerate faster than common chives after harvesting and are better able to withstand multiple harvests and hard cutbacks. You’ll want to harvest these plants every 3–8 weeks, depending on the time of year. 

Ways to Enjoy

  • Make Butter – Simply soften butter, mix in with diced chives, wrap in parchment paper, then store in the fridge to harden. Tastes great on biscuits, breads, and baked potatoes. 
  • Pesto – Incorporate chives into your pesto recipe to enhance your next pasta dish.
  • Salads – Sprinkle chives on top of your favorite salads for added flavor. Or try this Tower Gardener recipe for a Fire & Ice Tomato Salad.

Looking for more recipes and kitchen inspiration? Check out Let’s Cook.