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BulbsHerbs - Culinary

Allium schoenoprasum
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

chives

A small bulbous perennial forming a clump of upright, narrowly cylindrical, hollow, onion-scented leaves up to 30cm tall. Rounded umbels of light purple bell-shaped flowers are held above the foliage. It is a popular and easy-to-use herb, both leaves and flowers are edible. Small flowers are also rich in nectar, attracting bees and other pollinators

Other common names
cive
onion grass
see moreschnittlaugh
seithes
seives
Synonyms
Allium buhseanum
Allium raddeanum
see moreAllium oliganthum
Allium alpinum
Allium schmitzii var. duriminium
Allium purpurascens
Allium montanum
Allium gredense
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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0–0.1 metre
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Purple Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Amaryllidaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Genus

Allium are bulbous herbaceous perennials with a strong onion or garlic scent, linear, strap-shaped or cylindrical basal leaves and star-shaped or bell-shaped flowers in an umbel on a leafless stem

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Temp N Hemisphere

How to grow

Cultivation

Easy to grow in fertile, well-drained soil. Add grit when grown in clay soils to improve drainage. May have the potential to become a nuisance if not managed well. See chive cultivation for further advice

Propagation

Propagate by seed, bulbs or division

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Patio and container plants
Pruning

Harvest leaves regularly to promote new, fresh growth. Alternatively, cut back the clump to 5cm from the base after flowering

Pests

Generally pest-free

Diseases

Generally disease-free. Onion white rot and onion downy mildew may occur

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