How to thin chives

gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)April 27, 2010

This is my first year growing chives. I'm such a n00b. Anyways I've sown some indoors and last weekend outdoors in the herb spiral.

I've googled a fair amount and searched the gardenweb forums quite a bit and haven't found an answer.

The chives and garlic chives indoors that are now growing have about 6-7 seedlings in each dixie cup. Should these be thinned to one plant per container?

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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I recommend leaving them all in one "pot" and calling it one plant, GJ. Then you just cut the top off of the whole thing when you want to use them. If they're planted outside, the plant will get "thicker" each year, but if you start with just one individual little seedling, it would take a long time to get a substantial plant. Even with 6-7 seedlings, it'll take a while to get much of a clump.

Garlic chives, by the way, have much larger foliage than "regular" chives. I never knew that until I got some at a swap one year! If you leave some of the garlic chives flower, they're really pretty---I think! Don't know if they'd flower the first year from seed.

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 2:17AM
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Dan Staley

What Skybird sez.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 9:44AM
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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

I thought that they didn't need much thinning or none.

What then would be a good density for indoor and outdoor sown chives?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 12:45AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

By "good density" do you mean how many to grow in a pot or a clump? If starting seed, I recommend at least a dozen seeds in each pot--or spot. If it were me, I'd probably start closer to two dozen in a pot. I don't have much patience!

And I've never had much luck with growing them inside in the past--and the same thing happened this past winter.

I got two little pots of chives at the Fall Swap last year, and never found a place to put them in the ground, so I stuck them in bigger pots and decided to keep them inside over winter. They languished! I thought a south window would keep them going pretty well, but it didn't! Little bits just kept slowly dying off, and since I wanted to have something left to put in the ground this spring, I moved them outside onto the deck a couple months ago. They're still not looking great, but they're doing better than they were inside---and they're getting less sun most of the time on the deck! But, re density, when I put them in the ground, I'll smoosh both plants together and plant it as one. I don't think you can get them too thick as far as I know. This will be my first time growing regular chives in the ground, but the garlic chives which have been in for a few years now are doing wonderfully--and they're in clay!

So I'd go with lots of seed for a nice thick plant, but I think it's really a matter of personal preference.


HereÂs a pic of the garlic chive plantÂin CLAY! (Lower left  click to enlarge)

And hereÂs one of the flowers. I had been warned that theyÂd reseed all over the place, but so far that hasnÂt happened!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 2:15AM
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xray(Zone 5)

gjcore : My outdoor chives plant has been neglected, abused, and even insulted - yet it thrives. By the end of this summer, it will probably be ready for a three way split. I guess it would be considered to have a high density.

best of luck


    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 12:46PM
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ginnytrcka(z5 CO)

My chives go crazy every year in alkaline + clay + altitude + lots of snow. They are the first thing to come out, last thing to die back. No babying required--they take the coldest weather. I literally just slice the clumps into three each year and they keep going. I seriously need to find some other plants that do this well, with so little attention. Start with a larger clump.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 3:56PM
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jnfr(z5b CO)

I have garlic chives all over my herb bed because I was lax about deadheading them. The main clump has been in place more than a decade without dividing and it's still going strong!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 3:28PM
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