CHIVES IN THE FLORIDA GARDEN HUME LIBRARY
Prepared By: JUL 11 1972
James M. Stephens
Assistant Vegetable Crops Specia ist
Florida Agricultural Extension Se vice
University of Florida I.F.A.S. Univ. of Florida
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are perennials belonging to the onion
family. The small, bulbous, onion-like plants grow in clumps to a height
of 8 to 10 inches. They produce very attractive violet-colored flowers.
Chives are a native of northern Europe and parts of North America. While
not an important commercial crop in Florida, they are a good garden item.
They can be grown on most of the soil types found in Florida.
The tender leaves can be harvested at any time during the season and used
fresh. The young tender fresh leaves possess a delicate onion flavor. The
bulbs or dried leaves are seldom used as they do not have the pleasant flavor.
While chopped leaves can be used with many foods and in many herb mixtures,
they are excellent in salads, omelets, stews, and soups.
Location Since only a few plants will be sufficient for a family, chive
may be planted in a row along with other vegetables in the garden, as a border
plant, or even in the flower bed.
Soil Preparation Prepare the soil in which chives are to be planted in
the same manner as for the rest of the garden vegetables. There is one excep-
tion (also applicable to onions) if a soil fumigant is to be used, use pint
of D-D per 100 ft. of row two weeks before planting. Do not use bromine
containing fumigants such as Nemagon, Fumazone, or EDB, as these will harm
Fertilization On sandy soil, 4-7-5, 4-8-8, 6-8-8 or 6-8-6 fertilizer.
should be either broadcast before planting at the rate of 2-4 pounds per 100
square feet or banded at time of planting at the rate of 1/3 pound per 10 feet
of row. The bands of fertilizer should be located 2 to 3 inches to the side
of and 1 to 2 inches below the level of the seed zone.
Planting Throughout Florida, chives may be planted August through March,
using either seed or sets. Most gardeners use sets. It is a perennial, but
the clumps should be divided and reset every 2 to 3 years to prevent overcrowd-
ing. The bulbs can be set in about the same manner as onion sets and require
about the same care. Place the sets at a depth of about inch and about 3
In northern areas the clumps are sometimes dug up and potted, then grown
indoors for winter use. Chives are often retailed potted in this manner.
Insects and Disease Control Normally, chives are not especially subject
to serious damage by insect or disease pests; therefore, spraying or dusting
should not be necessary unless such damage is noticed.
When necessary, a general garden insecticide-fungicide dust or spray should
be sufficient in controlling any insects or diseases attacking chives. The
dust or spray should contain an insecticide such as malathion and a fungicide
such as zineb. If damping-off of the slfll plants becomes a problem, dust 12%
chloranil on the soil surface around the base of the plants and water in.
Caution When a spray or dust has been used, be sure to wash thoroughly
the leaves before using.
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