Growing Garlic Chives in Northeast Florida Gardens
Garlic Chives / Allium tuberosum For Northeast Florida Origins:
Garlic Chives / Allium tuberosum are also sometimes referred to as Chinese Chives. Garlic chives are, to me, the big brother of the normal garden chive. They grow almost twice as large as the normal onion chive herb plant, they can when in flower, reach 20 inches in height! The foliage is wider, and although still hollow on the inside, is folded flat instead of tubular like allium schoenopra, common chive(onion chive) plants.
Garlic chives have a wonderful distinct garlic tinted flavor that is prized in Florida gardens, and indispensable to me in my own home herb garden. They are an easy care perennial herb plant selection. Garlic chives are perfect for beginning herb gardeners.
Growing Season for Northeast Florida Garlic Chive Herb Plants:
Garlic chives can be grown all year round in our mild North Florida climate, but may do best when planted anytime from fall to late spring.
Sun Exposure for Garlic Chive Herb Plants in Northeast Florida:
Garlic chive herb plants can be grown in a partially shaded location or in full sun here in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens.
Soil Preference for Garlic Chive Herb Plants:
Garlic chives are tolerant of a wide range of soil components and conditions, thriving just about everywhere they are planted in the Northeast Florida landscape from wet to dry and sand to well composted, rich soils.
Just because they will grow anywhere doesn’t mean we should neglect them, remember to amend your planting site generously with compost when installing your new Garlic Chive plants to make sure they are off to the best start possible.
Garlic Chives also makes a great container plant, their grow anywhere attitude makes them the perfect addition to potted herb gardens. I keep mine in a mixed pot right by the door for easy harvesting for the kitchen.
Water and Fertilizer Requirements of Garlic Chive Herb Plants:
Newly planted seeds will require watering every day until the set of mature leaves emerges, then taper back watering to three times a week, then once a week for in-ground plants and two to three times a week for potted containers.
Fertilize your existing clump of garlic chives each spring with a generous portion of compost spread around the base of the foliage in a circle. Or, if you’re like me, you harvest your chive plants often, you can fertilize with a mixture of fish emulsions and seaweed at one ounce of each per gallon of water. Put into a sprayer and water every other week or as needed with the mixed solution.
If you find your plant struggling at any point, make up a batch of compost tea and water generously. Repeat as needed weekly or biweekly.
Size of Garlic Chive Herb Plants When Mature:
Garlic chives leaves grow to about 12-18 inches in height, taller when in bloom, and grow 8-12 inches wide. Clumps will dug up and divided every 2-3 years. Replant the divisions back into other areas of the garden or give them away to neighbors!
Sowing Garlic Chive Herb Seeds into Northeast Florida Soils:
Garlic chive seeds germinate readily, plants may self seed themselves anywhere the seeds scatter. Sow your seeds 1/4 of an inch below the soil surface and remember to thin them to at least one plant every six inches in a row.
Although chive herb plants germinate readily, if you’re planning on harvesting them this year, consider purchasing a plant or two. Chives grown from seed will not be large enough to harvest from, the new baby plants will need their foliage to help them grow larger and stronger, and will make excellent cuttings for the kitchen in their second year.
Harvesting Garlic Chive Herb Plants in the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Garlic chive plants can be harvested at any time, simply trim down the outer leaves around the edge of the clump to about 1/2 inch above the ground level. Use them fresh or preserve them in butters, oils, or herb vinegars.
Don’t forget these plants will need dug and divided every few years.
Harvesting your garlic chives often keeps them producing those tasty leaves! The flowers of chive plants are undoubtedly pretty accents, but pinching them off will make the plant produce more foliage. I allow mine to set flowers because I just love the look of them as an ornamental plant. Add the flowers to salads for extra flavor!
Blooms and Seeds of Garlic Chive Herbs for Northeast Florida Landscape:
Garlic chive flowers are a beautiful addition to any garden setting. White umbels on long stalks above the foliage of the plant are both attractive and edible. Flowers are born on plants in late summer here in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area landscape. The large bold texture and pretty flowering habit of garlic chives makes them an excellent addition to the middle of a perennial border or mixed container. Mature height of chive herb plants make them perfect for edging a flower bed or pathway where the pretty blooms can be enjoyed up close.
Seeds of garlic chives will germinate readily wherever they may fall in the garden, clip off spent flowers unless you want your garlic chives to set seed and begin to naturalize an area.