Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) is one of the easiest kitchen herbs to care for, moreover, the aromatic and vitamin-rich herb simply tastes best fresh. For this reason, chives should not be missing on any balcony – no matter how small. We show you how to properly care for the perennial plant – so it is guaranteed not to die again after only a few weeks.
Location and substrate
Chives feel very comfortable in a pot, provided that it is also large enough. If you buy a small pot of herbs in the supermarket, plant it as soon as possible in a larger pot with fresh substrate. Chives need loose and nutrient-rich soil, so a standard all-purpose or balcony plant soil is perfectly adequate – these are usually pre-fertilized. However, if possible, the plant should stand alone in a pot – so a culture in the balcony box together with other plants is rather unsuitable. Chives need a half-shady to sunny – but not full sun! – Location.
Potted chives need regular watering and also fertilizing. Keep the substrate evenly moist, but avoid waterlogging. The soil must not be allowed to dry out. However, too much moisture not only leads to waterlogging, but often results in a heavy infestation of fungus gnats. The latter can be avoided if you add about one centimeter of sand to the top of the pot. Chives can be watered with tap water without any problems. Fertilize the plant during the vegetation phase about every four weeks with a liquid herbal or vegetable fertilizer,(15,00€ at Amazon*) which is added to the watering water.
Cutting and harvesting
In principle, you can harvest chives all year round, provided they do not flower. Flowering can be prevented by cutting the stalks back regularly – chives resprout very quickly. Cut the stalks about two to three inches above the ground. Use only healthy and green shoots. By the way, both the flowers and the buds of chives are edible – try it!
Wintering chives on the balcony
Chives are among the hardy herbs and can therefore be overwintered on the balcony without any problems. Cut the stalks down to about two inches in late fall and cover the pot with pine branches or with some brushwood. The pot itself can be wrapped with warming fleece to protect against frost. On the other hand, if you still want to harvest in winter, bring the pot inside and place it on the windowsill.
Tips & Tricks
Wilting or yellowing leaves are usually an indication that the plant is too dry. In some cases, however, waterlogging – and thus root rot – can also be the cause.