Blooming Chives...Chop off their heads? Pic included.

April 24, 2007

What does one do when chives bloom? I've left them alone because they're a beautiful addition to the garden. But should I cut them off and shred their heads over the plant bed where they are? Or leave them be? The bumblebees seem to love them.

Comments (39)

  • tessa74

    no idea, but very pretty.

  • ksrogers

    If the flowers produce seeds after blooming, you would crumble the seeds. Beyond that, leave them be as the bees enjoy the feast too. My garlic chives send out white flowers and bees love them. It will not harm them, as your not harvesting the bulbs in the soil. Its the opposite with garlic, though, as garlic needs to have the flower heads and stalks removed, in order for the strength to go back into bulb/clove growth. MY chives don't blossom like your photo, s they only show a very few wimpy flowers, and then for hard round clusters of tiny bulbs I replant. Mine don't do this until about the end of June, middle of July, when the greens start to die out as well. Once the heat of summer is over, mine will start to grow more greens all through winter.

  • gborosteve

    OK...I'll leave the be. They add wonderful color to the garden, besides.

  • Daisyduckworth

    The flowers won't do any harm at all to the plant, and they are beautiful just to gaze upon. If you're lucky they'll self-seed if left alone. Just remove dead flowers and flower-stems because they aren't exactly pretty when they're dead.

    But you can eat those fresh flowers, you know! They have an onion flavour. Pretty added to a tossed salad.

    Chive Flower Omelette
    For every 12 chive flowers, use 4 eggs and 4 tablespoons milk. Beat the eggs and milk lightly together, stir in the flowers and cook in an omelette pan until done. Crushed nasturtium seeds may be used instead of the chive flowers.

    Potato Salad with Chive Flower Mayonnaise
    1kg small red potatoes
    1/3 cup rice vinegar
    1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
    1/4 teaspoon sugar
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1 cup mayonnaise
    2 cloves garlic, crushed
    3 tablespoons chive flower florets and leaves, chopped
    1 teaspoon lemon rind
    1 tablespoon chopped parsley
    1 tablespoon chopped capsicum
    salt and pepper

    Boil whole potatoes until tender. Let cool, then peel and slice. Heat vinegar with mustard and sugar and pour over potatoes. Mix in onion. Toss well and cool. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over potatoes; mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with whole chive flowers and serve.

  • gborosteve

    Oh great! I had no idea you could EAT the flowers! Thank you so much for the information....and the recipes!!!!

  • barbe_wa

    I like to float the flowers on egg drop soup.

  • indylars

    Make Chive Blossom Butter
    Take a stick of Unsalted Butter softened
    add Chopped Flowers (use the fresh ones that have just opened up) and some of the leaves. (Do Not use the flower stems too tough)
    Dash of fresh ground Sea Salt
    Dash of Fresh ground Pepper
    Mix well.
    spread onto plastic wrap into a log
    Twist ends like a tootsie roll and roll over a counter top till smooth
    Refrigerate or freeze overnight till good and firn
    slice the log to form disks
    Serve on Baked Potatoes, Bread, Steamed Veggies etc

  • natal

    Great macro shot! Mine are blooming too. I add the flowers to salads and make a compound butter like Indy shared.

  • cclover

    I cut the chive flowers just as they are beginning to open and put them in a glass jars with plain vinegar. It becomes a pretty purple chive vinegar.

  • mousekabob

    Ohhh, love the vinager idea. You can also chop them off and use them in salads.

  • sandienc

    Wonderful Photo!!! What kind of camera and lens do you have?

  • pink_warm_mama_1

    On purpose - I plant chives throughout my perennial garden for the lovely color.

  • ohillaryo

    Oh MAN!!! I have a chive plant I bought only a couple weeks ago. I am dying for some flowers!! You all have me so excited! I hope my chive plant blooms. I'd love to try eating the flowers! How exciting and interesting! I'm so jealous!!

    My chive plant has been doing really pretty well, though. Nice and green, so maybe it'll bloom.

    ::crosses fingers::

  • MariposaTraicionera

    Ohillaryo, I too have chive plants and they have flowered like the above photos. I never knew what to do with them. Thanks Daisyduck for adding that recipe. I had no idea you could eat the flowers.

  • maggiejk

    That's a lovely portrait of your chives. I too have planted chives throughout the herb beds of the public garden that I manage because they are so lovely at a time when there is not yet a lot in bloom. Our garden is a replica of an 18th century kitchen garden so we are restricted as to which herbs we can plant to those that would have been grown on the VA frontier. Some of our chives plants are now big and healthy 10 year old clumps, but some of those will be divided again this fall. I have made the chive blossom vinegar too and found that if you do not use it within a few months of making it, the color will fade away. Also, even if you do not cook with those lovely, oniony chive blossoms, [the Shakers made chive blossom omelets] do pick every one of them off as they fade, or you will have a forest of tiny chives plants to contend with. It does take time, but it is easier and less time consuming than weeding. Some people just break the blossom heads off, but that leaves the flower stem behind, which will dry and turn an unattractive brown, so I like to pull out the entire flowering stem when the blooms fade, if possible. Otherwise, I break or snip off the drying flower heads and return later to pull out the dried stems. They are inedible anyway. If you remove chive flowers before they form seed, it will not only prevent them from seeding hither and yonder, but it makes the plant healthier and it will look better too.

  • maggiejk

    Hello all~
    I just re-read my recent message re. chives and I think that I did not make it clear that I do not remove the flowerheads until they are spent and turning brown, because I love their pinky purple blossoms too, which is why I have at least a dozen clumps in the Kitchen Garden. I just divided 2 big clumps in early June and replanted most of them to make a 3' long border, which should be very pretty when the chives bloom next spring. If I only had a few clumps, like the 3 in my potager at home, I may not deadhead them, [I didn't get to it this year], but with so many plants re-seeding in the museum's garden, unwanted volunteer seedlings become a problem, especially in our wood chipped pathways.
    Years ago in the 1960s, Caprilands Herb Farm sold a chives cultivar called 'Ruby Gem' (with redder blooms)that is still on my "Want List", so if anyone has it, or ever runs into it, please let me know!
    To ksrogers~ Hi! The description of your chives intrigues me. I've grown chives for many years and never had any form bulbils on top after blooming, but I have top onions that do this. They've all had small, incosequential white blossoms and usually little brown bulbils that form on top, but I have some now that get red bulbils and the red ones are quite large--dime size. However, I'm also in the Alliums forum, so I'm finding out that there are many variations of top onions. It sounds like your "chives" may be one of these. Did you buy them or were you gifted by another gardener? If so, perhaps they unitentionally misidentified them as chives...

  • lyonsap33_yahoo_com

    Chive flowers are so great,I make a batter and lightly fry them in an oil and butter mixture. Some times I bake them along with chicken or fish.. yummy.....

  • EnjoyHerbalGardening

    Chives are GREAT in salads, and makes for wonderful color.

  • mbealer_netins_net

    My daughter has a chives plant and is giving me some of it. It is also blooming. Will it harm it to transplant while blooming.? Wait 'til I tell her she can eat the Blossoms...:) MARYBEA

  • fatamorgana2121

    I would probably wait until after they are done blooming, but if they have to move chives are pretty darn tolerant.


  • Trishcuit

    Lovely picture. I would frame that. And the bumble bees are so cute and fuzzy it's hard to not pet them.

  • oliveoyl3

    Grow lots of chives planted 12" apart on centers then you can...
    let some blooms be & pull the other bloom stalks to keep the foliage nice for harvesting. Otherwise, after bloom the chives will wilt away & you have to cut it all back if you want fall chives anyway.

    Or when blooms open you can cut the bloom stalks & chives on 1/2 the plant...
    when cut 1/2 is growing up again cut the other half.

    To keep: store leaves inside frig in a jar of water loosely covered & bloom stalks in a vase for the table. That way you still get to enjoy the blooms & the plant doesn't think it's done for the season with going to seed.

    In my climate it's best divided early spring when a few inches tall, but if kept watered & protected from summer sun for awhile should transplant okay.

    Chive flowers are also lovely in omelets, garnish for stir fries or BBQ meats, and all summer salads (potato, pasta, rice, green, cabbage). Leave one whole as garnish & tear up the others because the whole blossom is a bit strong in a mouthful of salad unless you really like your onions!

  • nancyjane_gardener

    For the chive vinegar, it is important to keep the chive flowers and vinegar in a dark area for awhile for the purple hue.
    To add to a salad, I used chive flowers and nastursium flowers to top a salad and got RAVE reviews!
    You can also chop them for a mild flavor in a salad. Nancy

  • organicjunkie

    WOW they are beautiful!! I hope mine come out like that someday. How old are your plants?

  • MaryJC2011

    Could I grow Chives in plastic pots outside on a patio?
    Thank you,

  • merrybookwyrm

    Just don't forget to water them. They like full sun to almost full sun.

    (Yes, I killed another chive plant this past spring... At least I can grow garlic chives well!)

  • Bon_32_hotmail_com

    Thank you for the info! I also didn't know you could eat the flowers! Mine grow in a pot which I keep outside year round and they come back every year, even being in a pot after being out in the snow and cold all winter.

  • oliveoyl3

    Mary J asked about growing in a pot outside on patio...
    if a large enough pot like at least 12" wide & deep, with a break from hot afternoon sun, & kept moist, but well drained.

    It's normal for them to yellow & decline after flowering, so cut it back to an inch or so, give some compost & keep watered to encourage regrowth.

    Merrybookwyrm: Your chives might not be dead! If they have gone dormant from summer heat & drought you might be surprised they sprout up again when cooler fall weather arrives or if you move them to a cooler location with some shade & more moisture.

  • kchandbagdiva

    I saw someone suggest putting the chive flowers in vinegar. Is that all there is to it? Also, can you just throw the chive flowers in a gallon bag & keep them in the freezer?

  • blueswimmer68

    We also love to eat the blossoms! We try to plan a dinner party to coincide with bloom time each spring and serve each person a blossom floating on a cold soup. I love them on cucumber-yogurt-garlic soup, or here is a fun recipe for a cold asparagus soup my hubby dreamed up:

    Notice the chive blossom in the picture? That is actually a half blossom, floating cut side down because our dinner was a little early that year.

    I love the potato salad idea; we will definitely try that one this year!

  • sunshine94066

    I have a garlic chive plant in a pot; I found that if I bring it in when it is cold it won't die back;

    once when I did leave it outside and it died back, when I brought it inside it started to grow green again. Thanks for all the info. about flowers on chives. This helps. My potted chive just started flowering this year.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Garlic chives are a different species from the chives in the original post. They are Allium tuberosum and have white flowers. Chives are Allium schoenoprasum and have smaller, denser pink/mauve flowers.

  • monah1013

    not a gardener but tried these last year from kitchen clippings so now I look forward to them blooming and will actual tend to them more... Thanks very informative page

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    I'm not sure what those are but they aren't chives. What vegetable did the clippings come from? They look like onions.

  • monah1013

    Oops those are onions, the little white ones with green stalk. They made some roots and I just planted the bulb so are those seeds or will they flower as well?

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    They are developing flowers. Seed comes later. No seeds without flowers.

  • asho85

    The chives I planted last year have just flowered this spring :) they look very pretty, but I've only got a limited amount of space and the plants are becoming a bit unwieldy.

    If I chop back the plants to around a few inches above the ground are they likely to come back to flower this year, or should I just leave them be? Thanks.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    If you regularly harvest the chives you will be cutting them to the ground in sections constantly anyway. They will come back but not necessarily flower again. The main use for chives is the leaves. The flowers are just a bonus, although they too are edible.

  • drmbear

    I've been throwing a hand full of the chive blossoms in my salads recently.

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