Allium tuberosum are garlic or Chinese chives. These are hardy perennials, which die down for the coldest part of the winter. This easy to grow plant can be raised from seeds or divisions of an established plant. They will grow well in full sun, but also tolerate shade. They don’t flower well in deep shade, but in good light produce umbels of fresh looking white flowers in autumn. These are very popular with bees and other pollinators.
For a regular supply of tender leaves the plants should regularly be cut hard back. This can be done throughout the year, but if flowers are wanted don’t cut the plants after midsummer.
Chives of all kinds are a good companion plant and can be used to deter carrot fly and aphids (because of their strong scent) It’s also said that planting a clump of them under rose bushes will keep the shrubs free from blackspot.
The leaves are often snipped with scissors and used as a garnish for soup. They are delicious added to mashed potatoes, fish pie, cream cheese or a whole variety of savoury dishes where a subtle flavour of garlic is wanted. Fresh leaves are best, but it is possible to snip leaves into ice cube trays and freeze in water. Plants may also be potted up and brought indoors to prolong the season.
These chives may be covered with a pot, as is often done with chicory and sea kale, to produce the white stems which have a more delicate flavour.
Allium schoenoprasum is the common chive. It has hollow leaves, fluffy looking heads of pretty pale purpleflowers and a fresh oniony flavour.