Allium tuberosum, commonly known as garlic chives, Chinese chives, Oriental garlic, Chinese leek, also known by the Chinese name kow choi, or the Japanese name nira, is a vegetable related to onion. The Chinese name for the species is variously adapted and transliterated as cuchay, jiucai, kucai, kuchay, or kutsay in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. It is also sometimes called "green nira grass". The plant has a distinctive growth habit with strap-shaped leaves unlike either onion or garlic, and straight thin white-flowering stalks that are much taller than the leaves. The flavor is more like garlic than chives. It grows in slowly expanding perennial clumps, but also readily sprouts from seed. In warmer areas, garlic chives may remain green all year round. In cold climates, aerial parts of garlic chives will die back completely to the ground and the roots/rhizomes will over-winter and then re-sprout in spring time.
Garlic chives are excellent additions to potatoes cooked in any form - baked, mashed, whatever. I don't think I could do without garlic chives on my baked potatoes. I always go out and clip a few leaves with scissors, then cut them up into small pieces and sprinkle on a thick layer. Also great in dips, sauces, salads, cheeses, eggs, stir-fry and added to various vegetables etc. If you're an onion and garlic lover, you'll love garlic chives.
I've grown garlic chives for many years and they are among the toughest, drought-resistant and hardiest plants I grow in our very inhospitable Texas climate. They keep growing strong during our longest, hottest and driest droughts and stay green all winter long even after very hard freezes, ice storms, snow etc. We sometimes get no rain for 3 months at a time and they survive and thrive even if watering is neglected. But still, they do better with faithful watering and well-drained soil.
It's nice to have garlic chives available year-round. We sometimes get temperatures down to 10 degrees F. and it's no problem for garlic chives, but depending on where you live and if you have a colder climate, the tops could freeze back but will return in spring from the thick roots. It's a good idea to mulch if you live in a very cold climate.
Garlic chives multiply by ever-expanding perennial clumps and by seed that is produced on tall flowering spikes. The black seeds are very easy to gather. The plants grow about 12 inches tall.
Once you get garlic chives started, you'll have plenty for your own use and to share with family and friends. You can divide the clumps and continually expand your number of plants. Garlic chives make a great edible border for flower and shrub beds.
You can start garlic chives by seed but it will probably take two growing seasons to establish good thick clumps. By getting live plants, you'll have a big head start and can have nice clumps by the end of the first season that you plant.
I usually leave the leaves on the plants and not clip them. Plant 2-3 inches deep and about 6 inches apart to allow the clumps to expand. The main thing is just keep the soil line below the part of the plant where the leaves start. That's why I leave the leaves on. Plant in well-draining soil. Alliums can rot in wet, soggy soil.
The leaves will be wilted at first - this is normal and is normal for just about any plant that has been dug up. Some people think that wilted leaves mean low quality plants - this is not true. Your garlic chives will be freshly dug from actively growing healthy plants.
Keep well watered and if the weather is warm enough, usually within 2 weeks, the plants will start putting out new leaves and begin their new life in their new home.
This listing is for 12 (twelve) individual garlic chive plants, sent bare root by USPS Priority Mail. They will be shipped moist wrapped in damp paper. Plant as soon as possible after receiving.
See my OTHER ITEMS for many other unusual and hard to find seeds and plants.