If you want to save the bees then you have to have these! This tough perennial hardy to zone 4 produces flowers in the early fall when there are far fewer plants around for bees to feed on. Bees and butterflies absolutely love these beautiful white flowers which make a gorgeous statement of color in any garden. Not only that they are edible! Garlic chives have flatter leaves than regular chives but a slightly stronger flavour. Like other chives if you cut them down they will regrow and produce more leaves. Then they produce these beautiful white flower balls that can been see right across the garden. The flowers and flower buds are also edible and make a wonderful addtion to any salad. Chives grow into large clumps with a multitude of flower stalks. Not only that when the flowers have finished the stalks turn beautiful shades of pink, peach and orange as they are drying. Dried flower heads make wonderful displays too. This plant is super easy to grow and take almost no maintenance once established.
Description of Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)
Long thin flat but slightly fat grass like leaves. Easy to tell from grass because of their strong odor and flavor. Garlic chives grow from a small bulb in clumps. In late summer they send up long stiff stems with oval shaped buds that open into a circular grouping of smaller white star like flowers. Each flower has five white petals surrounding a green center. The stamens are long white stemmed with golden brown tips. Flowers open from the edge of the flower group towards the center. When flowers fade the calyx remains holding the large black seeds. The stems turn beautiful shades of peach, pink and orange before finally turning brown. The remaining seed heads still resemble beautiful brown flowers and are often used in flower displays. Very hardy to zone 4 small bulbs reproduce increasing clump size year after year. Strong garlic odor so deer and rabbits don't eat it but pollinators really really lover the flowers. Plants are often festooned with butterflies, bees and other insects.
Growing Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) from Seed.
Very easy to grow from seed. They can be direct sown or started inside for more robust start. Follow our general growing instructions for best results. Sometimes flowers first year from seed depending on location.
Location and Care of Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum).
Prefers full sun but will take a small amount of shade. Does best in well drained soil with a little watering but will grow in almost any soil that is well drained. Needs little care after flowering but it prudent to cut down seed heads before seeds drop as it will self seed easily. Single bulb will multiply to create ever increasing clumps. Ideal for naturalizing in large areas possibly a meadow setting. Monocultures will need weeding as its not too good at beating out all competitors. Looks great combined with late flowering butterfly weeds. Also looks great in deck planters and pots.
Harvesting Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum).
Do not harvest leaves from first year plants until they have produce many leaves and look robust. Then take only a few leaves at a time. Allow plants to establish well before a aggressive harvest. For mature plants cut leaves to about two inches from the ground. Plants will resprout rapidly. Leaves can be harvested all season long for kitchen use.
Culinary Uses of Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum).
Leaves either cooked or raw. Garlic chives have a stronger flavor than regular chives which can be too mild for some recipes. Ideal raw in salads or as a garnish. Cooking will destroy the flavor so they need to be added right at the end of the cooking period for best flavor results. Bulbs are also edible but they are quite small and fiddly to prepare. Flowers or the flower buds are also edible and make wonderful additions to salads and beautiful garnishes.
Medical uses of Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum).
Helps to improve kidney function used internally to treat kidney and bladder weakness and urinary incontinence. The seeds are also used as a calmative and to treat stomach complaints. The leaves can also be applied to bites and cuts to help sooth and treat small wounds.
Other uses of Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum).
Seed heads - once the seeds are removed - are used in dried flower arrangements. They make beautiful displays and can be dyed many colors to enhance their beauty.