Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Praise of Multitaskers - The Garlic Chive

My motto is that it has to provide beauty or nourishment to be in my garden. Once in awhile, you have plants that do both. Now here's one that adds a third category...pest control.

As you can see above, the plant has very show clumps of flowers, almost  like little bursts of fireworks.  It grows readily from seed and without a lot of help from the gardener.

It grows in clumps and will invaribably spread around your garden. 

The plant is pretty much completely edible. Use the flowers as a spice for Asian broths. Cut the long, thin leaves into bits and sprinkle on your food for a garlic flavor. I like to put them in my eggs. 

You can cut the leaves as much as you want without hurting the plant.  You have to uproot it to kill it.

Planted around roses, garlic chives help to keep the aphids off of the roses. I think this is because the aphids are attracted to the chives more than the roses but it's a great, green method of pest control for your roses.

The one drawback is its readiness to grow.  It will quickly spread all over your garden. The pictures here show a planting that came up spontaneously...not from my original planting about 20 feet away. They don't compete with other plants and play nicely with them but they can get to be a bit weedy.

It's easy to control by just grabbing a clump of leaves and uprooting it where you don't want it.

A nice addition to your herb garden. Between this and our basil, it's hard to say which one is used more.  Available by seed at most garden centers, hardware stores, and in the produce department at Asian supermarkets.

Copyright 2012 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved


  1. I like your motto, Darryl!
    I also like this plant, although I've never heard this name. I think I have its brother in my garden - regular garlic. Whenever I have garlic in my kitchen which got soft or sprouted, I throw it to the garden. I do believe it help with pests!

  2. I like your blog name! :) I have not added these to my garden, but I should. I always wondered how badly they would spread. Sounds good that they are not too invasive, and are easily controlled. I know my roses would appreciate them, too!

  3. Holly, if I don't watch them they spread pretty fast but they do no harm. Since I have such a small space to garden in, it takes about 5 minutes of pulling to get them back under control. It's my favorite herb in the garden, very versatile...especially if I don't have any garlic in stock.

  4. I used to joke that we actually needed a flamethrower to kill these! I love them though. Here they're tougher than standard chives, and can take the heat/drought conditions better. I love to throw them in everything from omelettes to mashed potatoes. They grow so well, I never feel bad about harvesting them either...I know they'll make more!