Propagating Chives By Division, this article shows you how to multiply chives by dividing. Chives form small, fleshy, bulbous roots called onions, and it is an easy thing to share established clumps of them in spring and autumn. To share chives, make sure you pot a few of them in your herb garden indoors or in the kitchen. Separate the clumps and plant them in your herb garden, vegetable garden, flower bed or in a pot for your herb garden.
Selecting Chives to Divide
Be sure to pick lumps of chives that are large enough to divide. The chives that are planted in your garden are average in size and reach a height of about one foot, bloom and become up to 6 inches wide. If you cultivate a larger variety of chives, they will reach about 6 inches in diameter, which is typical for most. They are also quite delicious, both inside and out.
Large clumps consist of clusters or tubers lying on the ground line. If the plant is healthy, it has a thick mat or root system that extends from the grapes to the ground for several centimetres. The stems and leaves are not harvested and the plant forms small, white, pompous bunches of flowers.
In spring, I divide two tufts of chives from our outdoor herb garden, which have about 6 inches in diameter. The largest of these (pictured above) is a good candidate for propagation by division and comprises about 15 bulbets.
Digging Up the Clumps of Chives
Dig with a spade or shovel into the chives you want to share. Don’t dig too close to the clumps. Instead, work the shovel into the plant, insert the blade into the soil and lift the shovel to loosen the roots.
This will cause you to cut through the bulb and chop away part of the root system. Pulling the lump apart becomes more difficult. Circle the clumps with a spade and lift the plants with their stems off the ground. For years I have been using this spade to do this.
Carefully Loosen The Clump With Your Hands, Wiggling It By The Bulbets.
Loosen the lump with your hands by moving it through the balls. When the dirt falls off, the tubers with their intact roots will eventually separate, perhaps you would like to separate the lumps into groups of three to four tubers.
Separating the Clumps
The initial chive clumps are the most difficult to separate. I need time and a lot of patience to separate the lumps until I uncover smaller lumps. I move the exposed lump with my hands, one by one, and pull it apart until the roots are separated. With my fingers I remove as much soil and roots as possible. After approximately one year or more of growth, the chive clumps are difficult to pull apart.
Divide the following clumps into groups of three or four through the bulbets and this becomes easier when they become smaller. Once the clumps have been divided into smaller clumps of three to four by a tuber, it is time to plant many, many small chives and replant them. As soon as the chives are ready, they should be planted and replanted.
Replanting the Bulbets
So you might want to plant some of your divisions in beds and pot the rest for convenience in the kitchen. Chives can be grown in pots or in the soil.
Planting Chives Outdoors
Chives need full sun, 6-8 hours a day and a nutritious, moist soil. Take this into account when replanting. Put the plant in the hole, cover it with nutrient-rich soil, water it thoroughly before putting it in, and stamp the hole in with your hands or feet. When planting, make sure that the hole is large enough for you to spread the roots and deep enough to bury the plant in its trunk.
I make a small front edge by growing herbs, vegetables and chives in clumps. The rest of the pots are in the kitchen.
A new transplanted clump.
In the course of the growing season, I hope that this dry row, which actually extends a good deal further, will develop into a full, sweet chive border.
These include weed seeds, fungal spores and insect eggs. To pot a few sets of chives in the onions for your herb garden, you need a rich sterile pot mixture in a small pot. The soil in our raised beds is good soil, loamy and enriched with compost and leaves, but it also contains all sorts of things that I do not want in my house, and I am sure you will not want it either. When potting 2 sets of chives, the soil from the raised beds is not used.
Of course, I pasteurize a batch of it in the oven before using it. Taking the easy way out, this time I use a bag of the store-bought potting mix.
Moisten the soil a little and mix in a pan or spade. Make a small earth cone around the pot and arrange the tuber roots in it before adding the pot mixture. In the case of the chives plant, cover so far that only the bottom of the plant and the outside of the stem are visible above the ground line.
Be sure to use a sterile mixture if you intend to grow potted herbs indoors. I would like to see enough chives planted next spring to plant our rose bushes. Last year, I had the chives I planted (a small plant I sowed a year ago) sown. I was very pleased with how well they had spread and was glad to see two large clumps separated from a smaller one this spring. I hope to transplant some of them outside.
Caring for Chive Plants
Chives need 6-8 hours of full sun a day to thrive. If you grow a chive plant indoors, southern windows are best, and you can grow it up to 12 hours a day in light. Make sure you transplant the chives in a sunny location in your garden that is not overshadowed by shady trees or tall perennials.
To keep chives healthy, mist your chive plants with water and check the soil with your fingers to make sure the pot is not too dry. Like basil, chives thrive best in moist soil. Chives can also be watered with Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary or lavender, but also dry. Use water at room temperature, as cold water can shock the plant system and inhibit its growth.
The new stems that will emerge will be tender and green, exactly what you want for the kitchen. If you grow chives as part of a functioning culinary garden, you should cut the chives close to the ground with scissors before harvesting, just like growing them in a pot. Cutting off the stems just above the ground will encourage them to form new fleshy roots.
A Few Additional Notes
When chives are not allowed to be harvested as an ornamental, they produce attractive flower balls, usually in pink, violet or white. In chive beds, they grow neatly and compactly, and growers can make beautiful plants for the beds. With first-hand knowledge of the effectiveness of chives in preventing plant diseases, their best companion plant is the rose, which keeps black spots on apple trees at bay, reduces the likelihood of scab and discourages carrot flies.