Plant Profile: Allium Tuberosum, a.k.a Garlic Chives

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Common Name: Garlic Chives / Chinese Chives

Family/Genus/Species: Liliaceae / Allium / Tuberosum

Type/Variety: n/a

Description:

A chive by nature, this particular South Eastern Chinese native features a garlicky flavor and a robust, strong-smelling flower. Each flower stalk opens up into dozens of tiny star-shaped flowers. The leaves of the plant are long and flat, unlike some other chive species which feature tube-like leaves.

What kind of sun and water and soil does it take?

Full sun to a hint of shade, well draining soil, and can take a wide range of soil pH levels. Drought tolerant and flourishes with regular watering. It can take the pounding heat much more effectively than its weaker relatives.

What parts of this plant is edible?

The entire plant, from flower to root bulb, raw or cooked.

What hardiness zone does this plant thrive best in?

Four through eight. I grow them in the hottest side of the eighth zone, and they do remarkably well. No personal experience growing them in cold climates, however.

What season does it bloom in?

Late May to June; tentatively, any particularly warm month can spur its flowering process into action. Mine tend to continuously bloom throughout the warm months.

What is its use in landscaping?

Garlic chives are great as an alternating forefront plant used at the edge of a bed or walkway.

How to propagate plants:

Seed germination and growth require a few years to make a mature plant; it is quicker to take bulbs from another plant and separate them as described below. Seeds may be taken from dried up seed pods (these appear after the flower petals have fallen off) and planted.

A second method involves pulling apart the bulbs in clumps every three years or so, separating and replanting them as desired.

Further research:

http://www.herbsociety.org/factsheets/chives.pdf

http://www.floridata.com/ref/a/alli_tub.cfm

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Allium+tuberosum

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