Chives are delicious, whether on eggs, on cream cheese bagels, or even on top of soup. Growing chives is relatively easy and can be done in your home. But, there is one question that many growers of chives want to know the answer to…
Should I let chives flower? The answer is a little complicated… Letting your chives flower will not cause any harm to the plant, but it may mean less edible parts of the plants for you.
Although the flowers are beautiful little light purple balls, it is true that in order to bloom, the chive plant has to use up resources that would normally go to the edible part.
Why You Might Want the Flowers
If you have chive plants, it might be nice to let them flower. The delicate purple flowers are beautiful and bloom in late spring as well as an occasional ‘second flush’ in June or July. You might want to let your chives flower for a few reasons…
If your garden needs the splash of color then by all means, let the chives flower. You will still get some chives to eat, as well as a beautiful display. If you maybe don’t need a lot of the edible part of the plant, then letting them flower will be good for the appearance of your garden.
Use as mulch
Maybe you keep a compost bin in your garden. When the flowers are done blooming, they will start to wilt. This is a good time to cut them back and add the flowers and their hardened stalks to the mulch pile. You can use this mulch compost or mulch to help other plants grow.
That’s right, the bees will thank you. As our societies become more and more industrialized, bees are having to work harder to find plants that flower. Bees are reliant on flowering plants, in order to make honey to survive. Likewise, plants need bees in order to reproduce.
Without flowers, bees cannot survive. Likewise without bees, plants will not be able to reproduce naturally. This would cause a collapse of the entire ecosystem as we know it. Not to worry you, but those flowers might be important to a nearby beehive.
Cutting back your plant after the flowers are starting to wilt will rejuvenate the plant. Cut the flowers off and trim the stalks down halfway. This will encourage the plant to grow faster than it had been before. Repeating this cycle could mean an increase in net harvest overall.
Why You Might Not Want the Flowers
If your plant sprouts some flowers, you might think about removing them. Some plants even do well after removing the flowers. You might not want the chives to flower for a few reasons…
More edible part of the plant
When the chive plant flowers, it takes energy and nutrients from other areas in order to create and bloom the flower. When the plant is flowering, the leaves of the plant are normally smaller. This means less chives on your eggs.
If you keep your chives indoors or in a spot of your garden you like to be in, attracting bees might not be the best idea. Bees are attracted to brightly colored flowers and will go over to investigate. If you are terrified of bees, then trimming your chive flowers might help.
Likewise, if a bee sees your chive plant through a window, they will spend valuable time trying to get in. A bee’s job is important and they need to use their time as efficiently as possible. Don’t tease a bee by putting a ripe flower on the other side of a glass wall. Trim it off in this case.
Maybe you prefer the green herby look of the chive rather than its purple flower. This is understandable as a bountiful herb garden filled with green vegetation can be a very aesthetic center point of any kitchen. This is fine too and will not hurt the plant in any way.
Simply cut the flowers off along with the harder stalks that they grow on. These are not edible, like the other leaves that you eat.
Whether you want the flowers or not, it will not harm the chive plant. As long as you cut the flowers off properly and do not damage too much else of the plant, it will be fine. Consider the points and decide for yourself if you want a lovely purple flower or more chives to eat.