Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 11:00 am
Despite the harsh weather conditions of winter, some plants continue to thrive and produce yield for our consumption. Admittedly, winter is a season dreaded by most plants, but this does not entirely write off the season as a bad period.
The chives herb is a cool-season plant that can be present all year round. It is cold, hardy, and can be grown both indoors and outdoors.
Can Chives survive winter? Chives are frost tolerant to an extent. They can survive light winter, especially in higher zones where winter is not so severe. Prolonged exposure to hard frost can make the plant die back to the ground. Chives can survive the winter unharmed if they are either grown indoors or given extreme protection outdoors.
How Much Cold Can Chives Tolerate?
Cold hardiness refers to the ability of a plant to withstand a certain amount of cold. For example, chive is a cold-hardy plant; it can tolerate cold to a certain degree. The ideal temperature for growing chives falls within the range of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The plant is very frost tolerant. It is hardy even to zone two regions. Chives love feeling cold so much that you can put the plant inside your fridge for up to a week! But, as the saying goes, too much of everything turns out bad.
Chives love to bask in cool weather, but exposure to severe frost can cause it to wither. Chives can comfortably grow during winter when the soil temperature has not dipped below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
When faced with severe frostbite, a chive herb is most likely to play dead, putting all forms of growth and foliage production to a halt. It waits dormant until the threat of frost has passed before it resumes all metabolic processes.
How Cold Is Too Cold for Chives?
As perennials, chives will overcome the trials and hurdles of winter and outlive its first year. Chives will produce foliage well into the winter if you take specific measures to overwinter them.
Chives planted in zones with freezing winter conditions would require more care during winter. Excessive frost poses a threat to both the life and growth of the chive plant.
If left uncared for during the winter, the plant would only manage to pull through the season, but it remains stunted and will no longer be able to produce bountiful yield.
If you are a lover or cultivator of this sweet-smelling herb, you should be bothered about an extreme winter and its effects on the plant.
Luckily, it is possible to overwinter chives which means that you can take specific measures to protect the plant and survive the winter.
You can save chives from dying off during the winter by:
1. Bringing them inside
Luckily, chives don’t mind getting transplanted. All you need to do is get a big pot spacious enough to house the roots of an entire plant.
When potted, you must ensure that the container has drainage holes for excess water to pass through. What’s the need to bring the plant inside if you’re going to let it die from soggy soil? Your pot must drain adequately.
Please do not place the pot near open windows when it is snowing outside. You can take the pots outside on warm days but bring them back at night when the temperature level lowers.
Use a separate pot for each plant to prevent competition between each other. Chive is not a heavy feeder, but come on; it’s winter! The plant will need all the soil nutrients it can get, which won’t help if it has to share.
Make sure that the room temperature does not fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. You might need to use supplementary means to provide warmth for the room.
2. Planting in cloches/glass domes
If you are a gardener living in zones 3 and below, getting a glass dome or cloche is almost unavoidable. Unfortunately, weather conditions in zones where winter takes its business seriously are not conducive for many incredibly fragile plants.
Glass domes and cloches have been designed to act as shields and covers for fragile frost-sensitive plants. A glass dome traps internal heat and prevents external frost from getting In.
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There isn’t much difference between a glass dome and a cloche since both serve the same purposes.
A glass dome is a sizeable glassy structure designed like a greenhouse, while aÂ cloche is a smaller version. Some cloches are made with plastic and usually have openings.
Covering the ground with thick heavy mulches is also an effective method of overwintering a chive plant. However, organic mulch is preferred over plastic mulch because they add nitrogen content and help to top up soil fertility.
Organic mulches can be straw, hay, fodder, etc. Plastic mulches can be plastic or blanket covers stacked over the plant to shield it from snow.
Another way to have a steady supply of chives during winter is to harvest mature leaves before winter gets too severe. Then, you can preserve the plant after harvesting it.
Remember, Chives can be preserved by freezing or drying. Dried chives last longer than frozen ones.
With all this said, I’m sure you must have an intuition on how to protect your favorite plant when the weather gets too cold for it.
However, winter should not be a barrier to enjoying these aromatic herbs. With any of the methods mentioned above, you can and will enjoy a fresh supply of chives during the long winter months.
What Is the Lowest Temperature That a Chive Can Survive?
Chive is hardy to zone two but is not compatible with zone 1. Research places the annual temperature in USDA zone 2 between -50 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. With this, it is safe to say that chives cannot withstand a temperature below -50 degrees Fahrenheit.
The chive herb is among the list of plants whose growth is affected by winter. The herb is a cool-season plant and can withstand a measurable amount of frost, but it tends to die back when winter gets too severe.
Most plants dread winter, but this does not entirely write off the season as bad. On the contrary, some plants benefit from the goodies winter offers, like its cool weather.
Chives can be grown indoors and outdoors. However, during winter, it is advisable to bring the plant indoors to give it some warmth and protect it from the harsh rays of frost.