Chives are a popular spice for refining salads and other dishes. It also offers an attractive bloom. The seeds contained herein can be used for propagation and thus harvested and sown again. Chives can find a place in the garden bed as well as on the herb window sill in the kitchen, are easy to care for and hardy. How chives can easily be propagated yourself is explained in the following article.

Chives – definition

Chives ( Allium Schoenprasum ) belong to the onion family and are a popular spice for many dishes and dishes in local kitchens. Each individual stem is about 20 cm long, tubular and dark green. After some time, a usually violet or white spherical flower forms on the tip. When the flower appears, the stem is no longer edible. Nevertheless, the chives should not be cut back now, because the flowers are decorative and can provide seeds for new sowing. In order to win these and to multiply the chives, the following steps and conditions are necessary:

  • Harvest the chive seeds
  • storage
  • time for sowing
  • location
  • soil condition
  • Sowing in the garden bed
  • Sowing in the pot
  • Chive Harvest
  • care of the plants

Attention: If you get a pot of chives in the supermarket in order to be able to propagate them from seeds, then you have to transplant the chives into a larger pot or a garden bed. Because the pots from the supermarket are designed for direct harvesting, the soil in the pot has too little or no nutrients.

Harvest the chive seeds

Chives bloom once a year between April and June. However, only if it has not already been harvested beforehand. Because the flowers sit on the tips of the chive stalks. Once flowering has begun, harvesting no longer makes sense, because then the stalks no longer taste good and lose their special aroma. However, if you want to multiply your chives, you should always leave a few stalks and not harvest them so that the chive seeds can be obtained from the flower. This is done as follows:

  • Seeds form from the second week of flowering
  • are found on the delicate seed stalks of the flower
  • Gently push off with your thumb and forefinger
  • place on a piece of kitchen roll
Note: If you simply leave the blossoms on the chives, then the seeds will propagate all by themselves. However, it is important to ensure that the plants grow too close together or in an undesirable place. Therefore, harvesting the seeds and sowing them yourself is a better option.


After the seed has been harvested from the flowers in spring, it must be stored until sowing. To do this, it should be wrapped in newspaper or placed in an opaque box and placed in a dark place. Furthermore, the following should be observed during storage:

  • Storage temperatures between 10° and 15° Celsius
  • otherwise seeds will begin to germinate before sowing
  • the environment must be dry
  • wet seeds must be dried before storage
  • spread it out on a dry cloth
  • let dry for several days
  • then also pack in dark
  • so the seeds can be stored for 12 months
  • after that they are useless
Tip: The seeds could be wet, for example, if the flowers were harvested after a rainy day. Therefore, it always makes more sense to harvest seeds that come from a dry flower.

time for sowing

The ideal time for sowing the chive seeds is between April and May if the chives are to be cultivated in the garden bed. In a pot on the windowsill or in a propagation box, sowing can take place as early as February. Since the chive seeds are cold germs, they can tolerate cold temperatures between 1° and 10° Celsius very well. But even if the seeds germinate faster and better in cold temperatures than when it is too warm, minus temperatures should still be avoided, because then the seeds could freeze.


If the chive seed is to be cultivated directly in a garden bed, then the ideal location for the finished herbal plant should be chosen here. This looks like this:

  • sunny to semi-shady
  • ideally no direct midday sun
  • sheltered from the wind
  • Wind breaks the light stems quickly
  • then chives will turn brown
  • can be cultivated together with many herbs
  • Raised beds are also ideal
  • on the kitchen window sill on the east or west window
  • otherwise protect from the midday sun at the window

soil condition

The seeds do not make great demands on the substrate in which they are sown. A loose, humus-rich soil in the garden bed is ideal. If the seeds are sown in a pot or preferred to a propagation box, then special herb or propagation soil from the trade should be used here. It is important in the garden bed as well as in the pot or box that no waterlogging can occur. For this purpose, the installation of a drainage before sowing is recommended. The garden or raised bed should then be prepared as follows:

  • Soil free of weeds, root residues or clods of earth
  • Weeds prevent the seeds from thriving
  • put some compost under
Tip: If you create a new bed for herbs and chive seeds, you should prepare this a month before sowing. In this way, the nutrients in the compost can already decompose and the soil as a whole can settle.

Sowing in the garden bed

When all preparations for sowing the chive seeds have been made, then this can be carried out. This should be done as follows:

  • loosen soil
  • use a rake for this
  • draw lines about two centimeters deep
  • press them in with your fist
  • Distribute seeds evenly
  • about 300 seeds per meter
  • then cover with soil
  • Press layer lightly
  • water lightly and keep moist

If ground frost is expected during the night, the bed can be covered with a plant mat in the evening, which is then removed again the next morning when it gets warmer again. To prevent too much moisture getting to the seeds, it is helpful to cover them with a film that is only removed when the plants are large enough. However, the foil should not lie directly on the ground.

Sowing in the pot

When sowing in a pot or seed box, the procedure is similar to sowing in the garden bed. A depth of two centimeters is also required here. However, a line cannot be formed in a pot. A line is drawn in the center of the propagation box. There should be enough space around the edges. After sowing, which is carried out in the same way as when sowing in the garden bed, the containers are placed in a sheltered place on the balcony or terrace. If neither is available, then the pots can also be taken to an unheated stairwell. The lower the temperatures, the better for germination. Then proceed as follows:

  • new plants about two inches high
  • prick out and/or repot
  • at a size of six centimeters in the garden bed
Tip: The germination of the chive seeds takes about two weeks both in a garden bed and in a pot. The cooler the environment, the faster the seed will react and sprout. If it is too warm, 18° Celsius and more, germination can take up to eight weeks.

Chive Harvest

Chives are ready to harvest just a few weeks after sowing. However, so that the young plants can continue to develop well, they should not be completely harvested in the first year. Here the chives should only be shortened by a quarter and cut evenly. This allows the young plant to grow into a strong plant. When harvesting, proceed as follows:

  • use clean scissors to cut
  • should ideally only be used for the chive harvest
  • in this way, transmission of diseases can be avoided
  • in the second year, chives can be removed by half
  • plants that are too large can also be divided
  • To do this, cut the rootstock into two parts
  • use a sharp knife
  • plant both parts separately

care of the plants

Chives are fairly easy to care for, they just need enough fertilizer to thrive. Therefore, the subsequent care of the chive plants should look like this:

  • fertilize sufficiently in spring
  • Biological liquid fertilizer every two weeks
  • do not fertilize after September
  • Do not fertilize young plants in the first year
  • water only moderately
  • Chives are hardy
  • Before the first frost, shorten the stalks to two centimetres
  • Lay out leaves or brushwood on soil
  • stretch translucent film to protect against moisture
  • Chives in the pot do not need to be cut back
Idea: If you cut back the chives for the winter, you can also use the stalks in the kitchen. If there are too many, you can cut them into short pieces and freeze them.

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