Quick Reference

Harvest Type:  Continuous

Transplant/Direct Sow:  Direct sow

When to Plant:  9 weeks after the last frost date.

Days to Germinate:  2-3 weeks

Days to Maturity:  80-90 days

Planting Depth:  1⁄4” deep

Germination Temp:  70°F

Seed Spacing:  2” apart.  Thin to 4” apart between plants

Rows:   1’ apart

Light:  Full sun, though afternoon shade is okay.

Soil pH:  6.0 - 7.0 pH

Water:  Keep moist and water often.

Soil Temperature:  60-70°F

Fertilizer:  Nitrogen-rich fertilizer is best before planting. Otherwise, chives do fine in aged soil.

Rotation:  Not required


Harvest Type

Many people snip chives as needed. If drying chives, you should consider planting 10-15 plants specifically for drying.

Transplant / Direct Sow

Most people direct sow chive seeds. However, you can plant seeds in trays indoors early and then transplant the seedlings outdoors when the soil is warm.

When to Plant:

Chives are a Mediterranean plant related to onions. They like the heat but will tolerate some cool weather.  Plant in late spring when the soil temperature is above 70°F, usually about nine weeks after your last frost date. If starting indoors, start seeds 8-10 weeks before your last frost-free day.

Days to germinate

7-10 days in full sun.

Days to maturity

It takes about 90 days for chive plants to mature. You can start to snip the tops of leaves when the plants are 8-12 inches tall.

Planting Depth

Plant chive seeds about 1/4" deep and four inches apart. You can also broadcast seeds and then thin seedlings when they are 1".

Germination Temperature Range

Soil temperature for good germination for chives occurs at 70°F.

Spacing Between Plants

Chives are small bulb-plants that require about four square inches of soil space to thrive. Keep spacing between plants to four inches on all sides.

Growing conditions

Chives like warm weather and grow best in full sun with a little afternoon shade. The soil should be slightly acidic at 6.0-7.0 pH. Keep chive plants well-watered but not wet.

TIP: Coffee grounds are a source of high-nitrogen, and chives will appreciate coffee grounds now and then.

Companion Plants

Everything loves to grow with chives.


Rotating is optional. You can rotate chives with other onion plants.

Anticipated yields

Plan your garden yield at 1-2 chive plants per person for fresh chives or ten or so plants for drying for a family of four.

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