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Chives beginning to flower, cultivar Forescate.

Chives is a perennial bulb often grown as an herb for its edible leaves. The dense clusters of light pink to purplish white flowers have a honey-scent and add ornamental interest to the summer garden. 

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Allium schoenoprasum

All common names:

Chive, Chives, Wild chives

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Container,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk,
  • Specimen

Size Range:

  • Medium plant (12-24 inches),
  • Small plant (6-12 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8,
  • Zone 9,
  • Zone 10

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Occasional drought,
  • Alkaline soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • early summer,
  • midsummer

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Pink,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Fast

More Information:


A 10 to 12 inch high clump forming bulb

Plant Care

Best in full sun in well drained soil
Does not tolerate wet conditions
Grown for edible leaves and flowers
Deadhead after flowers fade to prevent seeding
Cut to ground in late fall 

Disease, pests, and problems

Bulbs will rot in wet soil

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Deer, rabbit, black walnut, drought

Native geographic location and habitat

Northern Europe, Asia, Siberia

Attracts birds or pollinators

Butterflies, bees and other pollinators

Leaf description

Hollow, cylindrical, deep green leaves reaching 14 inches long.
Forms congested clumps of edible leaves used to flavor salads and soups.

Flower description

Dense globular clusters of small bell-shaped, light pink, honey scented flowers. Blooms in early summer. Flowers are edible.

Fruit description

Flowers produce small black seeds

Cultivars and their differences

Forescate Chives (Allium schoenoprasum 'Forescate'): 12 to 18 inches high and 18 to 24 inches wide; grass-like edible foliage; rosy-pink flower clusters

Schnittlauch Chives (Allium schoenoprasum 'Schmittlauch'):  Dense clumps of 12 inch high leaves and rosy-pink flower clusters

Location of Allium schoenoprasum (Chives) at the Arboretum