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Garlic Chives in Your Rock Garden

Updated on September 2, 2013

Garlic chives growing in my rock garden

Edible Plants in Your Rock Garden

I am a big fan of tucking in edible plants throughout my yard. I like the challenge of incorporating vegetable garden plants into my yardscape in a way that is surprising. One of my best success stories evolved because I was looking for something unique to grow in a dry, rocky and sunny part of my front yard flowerbeds. But what thrived the best was something I didn't think would amount to much.

It all started when I purchased some regular chives from the grocery store. They were living chives, growing in a pot and I found that they grew very well when I transplanted them to a larger pot and placed it on my deck. I was able to move this pot indoors and outdoors with the seasons for three years. It was so great to have fresh chives available any time I wanted to top a potato or garnish a bowl of soup.

Garlic Chives VS Regular Chives

This soil in this pot of three year-old chives ended up attracting fruit fly larva. After several attempts to rid the soil of the larva (and pressure to not have fruit flies in my house because I was having out of town guests visiting soon), I relegated the pot of chives to the garage. I left the chives on my pot shelf all winter long and sort of forgot about them. When spring rolled around, I pulled out the dried clump of chives, refreshed the potting soil and planted a new batch of chives, which I again purchased from the herb section of my grocery store.

The only problem was that unbeknownst to me, the chives were garlic chives and not regular chives. I figured this out when my mom came to visit and she asked why the leaves of my chives were so flat. I told her that I noticed that they tasted different, too. More like garlic than onion. A quick internet search confirmed that I had garlic chives. The flavor of the chives was not as oniony as I prefer, so I transplanted the garlic chives to a spot where I had difficulty growing things, thinking that if the plant died, no great loss, as they weren’t my favorite anyway.

The Difference Between Garlic and Regular Chives

Garlic Chives Love to Re-seed!

Well, it turns out that the garlic chives loved this sunny, rocky, dry spot in my flowerbeds. The clump grew and flourished. In the late summer, when not much was growing in this spot, the garlic chives developed wonderful white flowers that looked pretty and dainty.

The next spring, while tidying up the edge of what I was now calling ‘my rock garden’, I noticed that grass from our turf lawn seemed to really be spreading into the flowerbed. I started yanking out this edge-invader when I noticed it had a very garlicky smell to it. I compared it to the ‘weeds’ I saw growing in among the rocks and found that they were the same. I then put it all together that the dainty white flowers from the previous summer had reseeded themselves throughout my rock garden. Nothing else I planted in this section of the yard seemed to sprout, so I left the little bundles of garlic chives alone to see what would happen. By the first week of June, the single clump had turned into ten clumps.

Garlic Chive Information

Aside from what I have learned myself about growing garlic chives, there are some additional interesting facts about this plant. Garlic chives are also called Chinese chives, as the frequently appear in Asian recipes. Chives are relatives of onions and the flowers of both garlic and regular chives are edible. I float the flowers in soup or they can be added to vinegar for flavoring. Garlic chives are famous reseeders, sometimes requiring weeding out if they take over your garden space.

Each of the ten clumps in my garden that sprouted from self-seeding grew more dainty white flowers. My rock garden is filling in nicely and now I know what type of plant can survive the difficult conditions. I guess mother nature understood my affinity for edible plants growing among the landscaping, so she took over and did what comes naturally!

Do you grow your own herbs?

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Package of 400 Seeds, Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) Non-GMO Seeds By Seed Needs
Package of 400 Seeds, Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum) Non-GMO Seeds By Seed Needs

Add garlic chives to your rock garden for edible landscaping!



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