Is it necessary to prune chives? Yes, I highly recommend dead-heading your chive blossoms once they’ve finished blooming and are starting to dry out.
Here’s a quick video showing how to do this and why. Hint – it’s as simple as plucking the faded blossoms from the plant.
Those purple blossoms are such a welcome sight first thing in spring, but once they start to fade, you definitely want to pluck them before they scatter their seeds.
In the video I briefly touch on just how many seeds these lovely blossoms produce. Here’s a closer look.
Each blossom head has about 20 to 40 individual flowers. Each of those flowers has a seed pod with at least 3 tiny black seeds. That’s 60 to 120 seeds per blossom. Each chive bunch has about 30 to 40 heads. Here’s the math:
40 tiny flowers per head x 3 seeds each x 40 heads = 4,800 seeds per bunch.
And if you love chives as much as we do, for their early colors and their flavor, you probably have a few bunches. We have 8 bunches under one apple tree and a couple other bunches tucked here and there. So in our yard, we have the potential for around 50,000 chive seeds scattered around. Now, that’s a lot of chives!
Chive blossoms are edible, whether fresh or dried. They have a slightly stronger flavor than the chive greens, but if you love that oniony flavor, you can add fresh or dried blossoms to salads, egg dishes or just about anywhere. If you want to keep the chive blossoms that you’ve picked, dry them thoroughly by laying them out on a mesh screen in a single layer. Place them in a dark, dry space for 1 to 2 weeks until completely dry. Use them as a flavorful garnish.
If you aren’t planning on keeping your blossoms, I recommend tossing your finished blossom heads in the garbage, not the compost. Unless your compost gets hot enough to destroy seeds, your chive seeds may survive in your compost only to be spread to wherever you use your compost.
The good news is that even after you prune chives you can continue to use them all season long. We put chives on just about everything! Eggs, potatoes, salads, casseroles, anything that requires a touch of green and a very mild onion flavor. This chive and lemon vinaigrette is perfect for the first greens out of the garden or for a salad featuring asparagus, spinach or beet tops. If you’re feeling especially fancy, use the blossoms in salads, omelettes, vinegar infusions, dressings or simply as garnish.
Do you grow chives? Do you prune chives? Do you need some chives – because I have a few to share!
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.