Garlic chives are hardy perennials and can be easily grown in any herb garden. The foliage is flat rather than hollow, likes regular chives. They grow to about twelve inches high. The flower stalks grow up to 30 inches high, topped with greenish-white flower heads which are quite showy.
Garlic chives can be used like regular chives where you want to add a subtle garlic flavor in uncooked dishes where raw regular garlic would be overwhelming or too spicy. This herb is a great replacement for garlic salts and powdered garlic.
This herb is particularly good in Oriental dishes especially Oriental soups. Finely chopped blades are great added to stir-frys and egg dishes.
As with regular chives, garlic chives are harvested by shearing the leaves at ground level. Older leaves become coarse, so shear the plants occasionally even if you have no immediate use for the herb. This will encourage the plants to produce the desirable tender shoots.
Garlic Chives do make a very small bulb that can be used like a small green onion. Harvest bulbs before the flower opens, while it is just a bud. Be sure to leave some bulbs in the ground so they will continue to make more.
Cultivation of Garlic Chives
Site: Garlic Chives prefer a sunny position in a rich, moist, but well-drained soil, but are also quite forgiving of adverse conditions.
Propagation: Garlic chives sprout easily from seed, after which they can easily be propagated by clump division, or you can just buy the plants.
Growing: Space the clumps 9 inches apart and 2 inches deep. It is wise to re-divide one's garlic chives every few years, to maintain plant vigor. Division can be done almost anytime, but is probably best done in spring. Water the plants regularly especially during dry spells. Garlic chives generally like moist (but not soggy) soil. During their first season, hold down watering to encourage root growth. If your herb plant seems to be getting woody, prune all down to about an inch above the soil level to let new growth begin. Garlic chives tends to go dormant in climates with harsh winters.
Harvesting: Garlic chives need to be harvested often. You can treat it like ordinary chives, pinching off any flower buds that appear, or you can let it flower in the autumn, as the buds and flowers are as edible as the leaves. The leaves are flat shaped rather than tube shaped like regular chives but are cut the same to within an inch of soil level.
Culinary Uses: This close cousin to regular chives has a mild garlic flavor and are sometimes called Chinese Chives since they are used primarily in Asian cooking. Pink flowers appear on the common Chives and the Garlic chives have white flowers. They are also edible and can be used to garnish salads. See Harvesting and Storing Herbs.