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Are Chives Invasive? (Answered)

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Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 11:13 am

Invasive plants are known to overpopulate and alter their new environment negatively. So getting to know if chives will become invasive is essential because they tend to be excellent companion plants welcomed in gardens.

Knowing this will help you decide if you should grow chives and how you should go about it.

So you may ponder, are chives invasive? Depending on conditions and management practice given to chives, it can become invasive, or you can control its invasiveness. And although their spread can be very aggressive through seeds, You can do several things to curtail or prevent its spread, like weeding off its seedlings or deflowering.

Is Garlic Chive invasive?

Garlic chive is known and called by many names like Chinese chives and Chinese leeks. This is so fitting because it is a native of southeastern Asia. It also blooms early in the year.

The flowers become visible open from late summer to the period of early fall. And usually, the foliage carries two to three stalks holds the small white star-shaped flowers having four tepals.

And the flowers are attractive to insects that carry out pollination like butterflies, bees, and beetle. One unique characteristic of garlic chives is that it is very prolific in producing seeds and self-seeding.

So, garlic chives can become invasive once insects and other dispersal agents move the seeds, which eventually come after the flowers are gone.

The seeds are hard and triangular in shape, black in color, and located inside a paper-like that emerges after the flowers are gone.

These seeds can be spread by insects, water, or wind without you knowing. But there are a few things you could do to prevent your garlic chives from becoming invasive, and they include;

  • Removing the flower stalk before the disappearance to prevent garlic chives from seeding again.
  • If it should seed and release successfully into the environment, you must weed out the growing seedlings (although this will be time-consuming as the seedlings would be numerous).
  • Applying the proper management and care needed by your chives can also prevent garlic chives from becoming invasive.

Whether you choose to grow your garlic chives from seeds or divisions, the proper management and care you must give it are that it should be grown in well-drained soil and have access to full sunlight.

In addition, the clumps should be removed and divided at least once every three to four years for continuous blooming liveliness.

Is Onion Chive Invasive?

Generally, there are two significant kinds of chives, as discussed in the sub-topic that preceded this; we have the garlic chive and then the common chive. And they are both close relatives from the onion family.

So a good reason why common chives can also be called onion chives and are used interchangeably with scallions or green onions, but they are not similar.

Scallions and green onions are pretty similar, but their difference is noted in how they both produce. Scallions are young onions and have the aromatic flavor of regular onion, although not as strong as that of a common onion.

On the other hand, Chives are entirely different from scallions or green onions. They are generally classified as herbs in the culinary field and as aromatic grass in the botanical field of study.

For clarity, I will also be referring to common chives as onion chives since it has the characteristic smell and taste of an onion.

Onion chives are also called wild chives, have their leaves originating from the crown of the plant, and unlike garlic chives that have flat leaves, they are round with a hollow center in them.

Flowers of onion chives are pale purple (mauve), and they bloom in late spring or early summer; the onion chives can flower at 1 to 1.5 feet height.

Others can also blossom into white flowers with mini kinds that do not grow up to 1 feet height before flowering. What usually leaves me in awe is seeing these individual flowers coming together as a bunch to form a ball-like shape.

After flowering is over, seeding onion chives seeds less vigorously, which is why it performs poorly as an invasive plant.

The ball-like flowers will form 10-30 individual flowers; each has up to six tepals. The pollination of the flowers by insects will result in the production of tiny angular seeds that are enclosed in a three-valve capsule.

Then once the onion chive self-seeds, it starts becoming invasive unless measures like weeding off young seedlings.

Where Should You Plant Chives?

Chives are primarily grown in herb and vegetable gardens, but their foliage and attractive flowers make them very useful as ornamental plants in the home. Also, you can plant it at the edge of beds or borders of your garden.

There are certain conditions you should be mindful of or take note of if you intend to grow chives, these include;

  • A soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter
  • Full sunlight (at least six to eight hours daily)
  • Planting in spring
  • Giving it access to light if it is growing indoors
  • Planting in soil with the pH range of 6.0-7.0 which is  the best
  • Avoid over-fertilizing

You can also plant your chives either in an indoor setting or outdoor setting. In the indoor environment, you can grow it by your windowsill or bring it out from time to time to gain access to sunlight, and there should also be holes at the bottom of the pot to allow water to drain out.

Your potting mix should have well-drained soil and should not be fertilized during winter. While chives grown in an outdoor setting meet a lot of success because planting clumps in springs is done very quickly.

Every three to four years, the clusters are divided again and are grown 6-12 inches apart. But you may also choose to start yours from seed.


Chives can become invasive if not properly taken care of, although onion chives are poor when it comes to being invasive.

Furthermore, you can grow chives indoor or outdoor under full sunlight, well-drained soil, in the appropriate pH range, and just the right fertilizer.


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