Chives are an incredibly easy herb to grow. They are a perennial herb that is widely grown for its leaves. However, chives will also produce a lovely pink flower that is also edible and can be used to decorate salads.

Chives also features in our section on safe plants for children and sensory garden planting because it is such a great plant for a child’s garden.

The basics

Chives growing in the garden

Sow between: Sow in a heated propagator: March to April

What you will need: Seeds, compost, pots or plugs

Where does it grow: Both in the ground and in containers.

Likes: Chives are best grown in a sunny position in the garden in well drained soil. In hot dry spells, you should keep the plant well watered. This will ensure that you have good yield with plenty of chives to pick when you want them.

Difficulty of growing: Easy – Chives are a really low maintenance plant.

Using Chives in the kitchen

Chives are best known for the flavour that they provide to a potato salad. It’s an absolute classic dish that complements a great summer BBQ. If you are also growing potatoes with your children, you will be making the most of the garden to plate experience. Chives are also great in mashed potato! A children’s all time favourite.

Cut chives ready for cooking

Chives also go really well with eggs. And who would have thought that it goes well with scrambled egg. Here’s a great recipe from taste, one that we would certainly recommend!

What’s also great about chives is that they are really simple for children to pick.

Growing Chives

Whilst you can grow chives from seed, this is one herb that is just as easily bought at the garden centre and planted straight into the garden. If you are planning on sowing from seed, you will want to put the seeds 1cm deep and leave 12cm between plants. This will allow the plant enough room to grow.

Once chives have flowered, be sure to remove them so that they don’t re seed into your garden. Chives can grow like wildfire if left.

Harvesting chives

Harvesting chives couldn’t be more simple and it’s a great activity to involve the children. If you are gardening with older children, once you have shown them how to cut chives, this is something that they should be able to do themselves.

When harvesting chives, you will want to cut them quite low down to the soil – leaving around 5-6 cm from the soil.

If you cut back your plants, there is a chance that you will end up with a glut of chives. From personal experience, chives are best when they are used fresh. However, if you want to keep some of them for use later on, the best way to keep them is in the freezer. Simply put them in a plastic bag ready for use later on.

We actually find that if you dry chives, they tend to lose some of their flavour.


If you want to attract bees to the garden, then chives are a great choice. Whilst they will only attract bees when they are in flower, you will almost always see one having a feat on the lovely purple flowers. After all, you can never have too many plants that attract bees.