Are your chives looking a little sad? Are they more than 2 years old? Has your plant outgrown its pot? It’s probably time to divide those chives and give them a little more space to thrive. This post will walk you through the steps you need to take to divide your chives so they will keep wildly producing!
Chives are a great container plant to add to your herb garden because they are fast growers and easy to maintain. They are perennials which means they will live for more than 2 years and go dormant in the winter, but they will pop back to life in the spring. People sometimes confuse a dormant perennial with a dead plant, but chives are hearty and can tolerate pretty harsh winter conditions. If you invest in a small chive plant now, you will have it for years to come.
As with any potted plant, there will come a day when the plant outgrows its pot. The chives in the photo above are about 3-years old and, as you can see, they aren’t looking so hot. The leaves, although vibrant, are wilted and the flowers are shriveled and pale rather than bright and purple. This is because the bulbs have become too crowded and the plant needs more room to grow in order to continue to produce healthy leaves and flowers.
You don’t need to invest in a larger pot to give your chives the room they needs to produce. You can divide the plant into smaller clusters and transfer it into smaller pots. Dividing chives is easy and necessary in order to keep them wildly producing.
When to Divide Chives
Early spring is the best time to divide chives because they thrive best in cool weather. However, chives are resilient and can tolerate transplant easily. They can really be divided at any point in the season if they are starting to look too crowded.
- Pots for transplant
- Potting soil
How to Divide Chives
Step 1: Using scissors, trim the leaves until they are about 4 inches tall.
Step 2: Remove your plant from its pot and shake any excess dirt off the bottom of your plant. When I got my plant out of its pot, it was easy to see why it was struggling so much. Holy roots! My plant was so crowded, I has to use a knife and cut the bottom half of the roots off before I could even begin working.
Step 3: You will need to divide the large clump of chives into smaller groups. You can see the individual bulbs in the photo below. You want to keep a handful of those together when you are transplanting them.
It is recommended to keep about 8-10 bulbs together when dividing, but my plant was big and I didn’t have enough pots for that many clusters. I divided the plant in half and put that cluster back into the large pot. Then, I divided the other half into 2 quarters and planted those into smaller pots.
Step 4: Press a shovel into the soil, under the bulbs and pop a smaller cluster of bulbs away from the existing plant. It’s ok if you lose some of the roots in this step. Chives are the Chuck Norris of herbs and won’t die from some silly little root breakage.
Step 5: Replant your new cluster of chives into a pot about 1/2 inch deep into the soil. Hold your chives upright as you cover the roots with dirt. Water immediately.
Harvesting Your New Chives
Your new chives should start to take root and grow within the week, but you will want to wait about a month before you start harvesting new leaves. Even though chives grow quickly, you will want to give your new plant some time to establish new roots and produce a decent amount of leaves.
Want to see how quickly chives grow? Check out this 3-day time-lapse video. So awesome!