Now is the time of year when you’ll want to deadhead your chives. The term deadheading refers to cutting off the flowers on a plant after they are spent (done blooming).
|Chives in full bloom|
Chives are perennial herbs that will grow back year after year in most climates. They can be pretty aggressive reseeders and, if you don’t remove the flowers before they set seed, you will find tiny chive plants all around your gardens in the spring.
Deadheading chives after the flowers fade will prevent seed formation, and keep the plant looking tidy. The picture above is of my chives in full bloom looking beautiful!
Here is a picture of the chives right before I deadheaded them. You can see that the flowers are spent, they have lost their color and look dead.
|Chives after blooms have started to set seed|
The easiest way to deadhead chives is to give the whole plant a haircut just below the flowers with a hedge trimming shears. This won’t hurt the plant and will keep it looking tidy for the rest of the summer.
|Deadheading the chives|
If you want the plant to set seed, then you’ll want to leave the flowers on until the seed pods open; probably another couple of weeks. When this happens, you will easily see the seeds. They are black, about half the size of a peppercorn, and they will fall out onto the ground when the plant is disturbed. Collect chive seeds by gently shaking the seed pods or cutting them over a container. Keep in mind that chive seeds are only viable for about one year. So if you want to start new plants or share the seeds with friends, the sooner you do it, the better.
Other tips about chives:
- Cut the foliage down to the ground in late fall or very early spring. I like to do it in late fall because chives are early spring growers.
- Chives are a perennial herb and are delicious in lots of different recipes. You can enjoy them for most of the year since they grow early in the spring and will stay green well into the fall.
- To harvest chives, cut the entire stalk down to the ground. You don’t need to dig out the bulbs to enjoy the chives.
- Chives can be preserved for a long time by simply freezing them, here’s how.
- When chive plants are mature and loaded with flowers, they can benefit from a hoop style support so the flowers don’t droop to the ground. You can easily make your own temporary support out of stakes and string.