Are you a gardening enthusiast looking to add some flavor and color to your herb garden? If so, you’ll be happy to know that transplanting chives can be a fun and rewarding experience. As a kid, I used to spend whole afternoons munching on the chives from the giant patch my grandmother grew in her garden. Not only are chives hardy and easy to grow, but they also add a unique and delicious flavor to your dishes, and a vibrant touch to your garden. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of transplanting chives and provide valuable tips to ensure a successful transfer. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh and flavorful chives all season long.
What are chives?
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are perennial herbs belonging to the onion family. They’re known for their thin, green, hollow leaves, and attractive purple flowers. Chives are popular in the culinary world for their mild onion-like flavor, making them perfect for garnishing dishes or adding a subtle taste to salads, soups, and more.
Why transplant chives?
Transplanting chives serves several purposes, such as:
- Rejuvenating an overcrowded, older plant
- Propagating new plants to share with friends or expand your garden
- Relocating chives to a more suitable growing environment
When to transplant chives
Best time of year
The ideal time to transplant chives is in the spring or early fall when temperatures are moderate and the plants are actively growing.
Ideal plant age
Chives are best transplanted when they’re at least two years old. Mature plants have a better chance of surviving the transplantation process and quickly establishing themselves in their new location.
Preparing for transplant
Selecting the right location
Choose a location that provides your chives with full sun to partial shade. Chives prefer well-draining soil and will thrive in soil that’s rich in organic matter.
Preparing the soil
Before transplanting, amend the soil with compost, well-rotted manure, or other organic material to improve its fertility and drainage. This will help create a more suitable environment for your chives to grow.
How to transplant chives: Step-by-step guide
- Digging up the chives: Carefully dig around the chive clump, being cautious not to damage the roots. Gently lift the plant out of the ground and shake off any excess soil.
- Dividing the clump: Using a sharp knife or garden spade, divide the chive clump into smaller sections, each with a healthy root system and a few shoots.
- Preparing the new planting hole: Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of each chive division. The hole should be deep enough to accommodate the roots without bending them.
- Transplanting the divisions: Gently place each chive division into its respective hole, ensuring that the roots are spread out evenly. Backfill the hole with soil, pressing down firmly to eliminate any air pockets. The base of the chive shoots should be at the same level as the surrounding soil.
- Watering and fertilizing: Thoroughly water the transplanted chives to help them settle in. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer according to the package instructions to give your chives a nutrient boost.
Caring for transplanted chives
Keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering may cause the chives to wilt. Adjust your watering frequency based on weather conditions and soil type.
Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer every few months to support healthy growth. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive growth and a weaker plant.
Regularly trim your chives to promote bushier growth and prevent the plant from becoming too tall and leggy. Remove any dead or yellowing leaves to maintain a tidy appearance.
Chives are relatively pest-resistant, but keep an eye out for common garden pests like aphids, slugs, and snails. Use organic pest control methods, such as introducing beneficial insects or using diatomaceous earth, to manage any infestations.
Common mistakes to avoid
- Transplanting chives during extreme weather conditions
- Planting chives too deeply or too shallow
- Overwatering or underwatering
Transplanting chives can seem daunting, but proper preparation and care can be key to a successful transfer. Choose the right time to transplant, prepare the new location, water the chives before transplanting, prepare the chives for transplanting, transplant the chives, and care for the transplanted chives. By following these tips, you can enjoy the flavorful and colorful addition of chives to your garden and kitchen for years to come.
If you want to grow your own chives indoors on a sunny windowsill, in containers on your deck or balcony, or out in the garden in raised beds or open land, you can learn what it takes to add chives to your herb garden in our Chill Chives Guide. You’ll learn how to choose the chives that are right for you, how to get them started, and how to enjoy them after harvest.
Are you transplanting chives this year, or will you? Leave a comment below!