Chives, An Ornamental Plant Food

Chives are in the genus allium and the family alliaceae. They were originally from Asia, and Europe, dating back 5000 years. Chives are the smallest onions in the species. They are beneficial perennial herbs that contain a sulfur compound giving them their onion flavor. In fact, many gardeners plant them in their flower gardens to help control pests such as the Japanese beetle.

Allium schoenoprasum is a common chive. They are often started from seeds that will form into bulbs. Most often the small bulbs are an oval shape, being taller than they are wide. Tufts grow from the roots to form clumps that can be divided in the spring or the fall. Chives can be grown in a sunny windowsill indoors, or they can be grown outdoors. The leaves can be harvested as needed any time of the year. They can be kept by dry freezing them.

The onion flavor is held in the leaves, not in the bulbs. The leaves of chives look grass like. They are slender and hollow. Used for flavoring, they are usually chopped and used as a spice, or as a garnish for fish, potatoes, soups, omelets, salads, and many other dishes.

Chives contain vitamins A and C, and they have very small amounts of sulfur and iron. They are beneficial for the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. They also help to lower blood pressure. Caution, eating to many of them may cause digestive problems. The juices within the leaves have uses as well. Some of its uses are fighting fungal infections, mildew, and scab. The juice is also an effective insect repellent.

Most species of chives have lavender star shaped flowers. The ornamental blooms will appear sometime in April, May, or June depending on the climate. The flowers, also eatable, grow in clusters at the top of flower stems. The stems will be stiffer than the leaves. The flowers have six tepals, and there are usually ten to thirty in each cluster per stem. Both the flowers and leaves usually grow from twelve to twenty inches tall. After the chives bloom cut the leaves back so they are about three inches tall. The flowers of chives are often used in dry bouquets and potpourri.

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About The Author, Kathy Case
Kathy lives with her husband Robert and two cats in Batesville, AR. Kathy and Robert have been gardening with flower bulbs since 1999, and are the owners of http://www.qualityflowerbulbs.com. At the website you can purchase flower bulbs, garden tools and accessories, holiday gifts, and close up pictures of some of the flowers that Kathy and Robert grow. Information on gardening with flower bulbs is also available. Get your free pictures of flowers. Sign up for your newsletter.