• Allium schoenoprasum
  • Liliaceae (Lily Family)
  • Perennial; hardy to -37c


Chives, known scientifically as Allium schoenoprasum, are a small perennial plant in the Amaryllidaceae family, related to onions and garlic. They are characterized by their slender, conical bulbs that grow in dense clusters and their hollow, tube-like green leaves that reach 30–50 cm in height.

Chives are not only valued for their delicate onion-like flavor but also for their rich nutritional profile, providing vitamins A and C, along with essential minerals like calcium and iron. In the culinary world, chives are versatile; their leaves and unopened flower buds are finely chopped and sprinkled over dishes as a garnish, adding a fresh, mild taste to omelettes, soups, and salads. The edible purple flowers can also be used to add color and flavor.

Beyond their use in cooking, chives have insect-repelling properties, making them beneficial in gardens for pest control and attracting pollinators with their nectar-rich flowers.


Growing chives at home is a rewarding endeavor as they are a versatile and easy-to-maintain herb. To start, select a pot or location with adequate drainage and full sun for best growth.  Add compost to ensure rich nutrients. Plant the chive seeds about 1/4 inch deep and water them well. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. As the chives grow, you can begin to harvest them by snipping the leaves a few inches above the base to encourage more growth. Remember to divide the chive clumps every few years to prevent overcrowding and to maintain healthy plants.

chive flower<br />

Chives are located in our Comox Valley Horticultural Society Herb Garden in the corner closest to the stone steps.