Usually bulbs are thought of as something separate from perennials because they seldom persist throughout the garden season. Chinese chives, or garlic chives, can be lifted and divided like any other perennial and, even when not in bloom, the foliage is attractive. In addition, they provide blossoms in late summer when most other plants are through. The botanical name is taken from the Latin word for "garlic." The plants only smell of garlic if the leaves are broken or bruised. The flowers are lovely when cut for bouquets.
: Plants have narrow leaves and many small, starlike flowers with white petals, each with a green nerve down the center. The root is a bulb. Ease of care: Easy.
: Chinese chives are easy to grow in a fertile, well-drained garden soil in full sun or partial shade. If not deadheaded, they will seed about the garden -- this is usually only a problem in warmer zones.
: By division in early spring or by seed.
: In partial shade, garlic chives can be used as underplantings with a border of hostas, so the flowering stalks rise above the other plants long after the latter have ceased to bloom. The dried blossoms persist well into winter, the petals turning a straw color in stark contrast to shiny black seeds, thus making a fine addition to dried bouquets. Since the stems are hollow, they can be slipped over other stems and used in tall arrangements. In Asia, Chinese chives are grown for salads.
Scientific name for Chinese chives, garlic chives: Allium tuberosumWant more gardening information? Try: