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Allium tuberosum – Garlic Chives

Garlic chives, a bulb, is a fantastic perennial in the landscape.

Garlic chives blooms late summer into early fall, with gorgeous white flowers rising a foot or so above the foliage. Hardy zones 3-9, Allium tuberosum does fine in soils with dry to medium moisture. I have never watered mine.

It is very easy to grow and the pungent fragrance would be a fantastic addition to any sensory garden. Full sun is preferred, although mine bloom beautifully with sun into early afternoon. Flowers are pure white and small, but the combined effects of the seedheads rising above the foliage is a beacon, especially in the late afternoon.

garlic chives
Allium tuberosum (garlic chives) is dependable in late season.

Swallowtail butterflies love garlic chives

Garlic chives are deer resistant and are great for naturalized landscapes. You will see various sources indicate the flowers are fragrant. The prolific fragrance released when one brushes against the plant is pure garlic/onion. If you appreciate the different smells of the garden such as the earthiness of tomatoes or the spicy nature of many sages, then Allium tuberosum is for you. The flowers are long-lasting and the foliage is attractive, adding an appreciated texture to the perennial garden.

Garlic chives (a.k.a. Chinese chives) work great in the garden when massed.

Allium tuberosum has a (minor) reputation for spreading aggressively through self-seeding. I have enjoyed the volunteers that show up around the garden, but deadhead before the seeds set to reduce reseeding. Individual clumps will spread a foot or two over time.

From a design standpoint, I love plants that move around a bit. If one is patient, over time plants settle into their preferred spaces and begin to seem as if they were there forever. The idea of neatly controlled grouping of plants is foreign to me…let them spread out and interweave.

Used extensively for culinary purposes, garlic chives leaves are often chopped and added to various dishes. Although I have not cooked with garlic chives, I understand they are a milder substitute for garlic.

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