Herbs are essential to many cooking traditions, with each herb offering a unique flavor profile that can enhance a meal. Among some of the most popular herbs to include in a kitchen garden are chives and rosemary.
There is much debate over whether these two herbs can be planted together, as potential differences in care requirements and preferences for spacing could hinder the growth or flourishing of the other.
Knowing whether it is possible to grow chives and rosemary successfully alongside each other is critical to designing an optimal herb garden layout. In this article, we will discuss the primary considerations involved when deciding if rosemary and chives can be grown together in your garden:
Planting Chives and Rosemary Together
Planting chives and rosemary together in a garden is possible with careful planning. Both herbs are members of the allium family. However, they have different growing requirements that need to be considered.
Planting both spices in the same garden can provide a wonderful aroma, an array of colors, and a bounty of flavor.
Let’s look at the different benefits of planting these two herbs together:
Considerations for Planting Together
When planting chives and rosemary together, there are some considerations to keep in mind for the best results. Both herbs have similar requirements for soil, sun, and water, so it is generally safe to plant them within a few inches of one another.
However, as both herbs can be invasive, you may want to create a border between them with rocks or stones of similar colors and textures. This will help contain the plants’ root systems and make it easier to keep their sizes in check over time.
It can also be beneficial to plant chives and rosemary at different heights for better visual appeal in your garden design. For example, if you’re planting one herb in a pot higher up off the ground than the other, it will help create a stimulating effect when looking at your garden from any vantage point.
Additionally, if you’re planting multiple varieties of these herbs together that feature different colors or textures (on foliage or flowers), then make sure you carefully plan out how they will fit together visually when deciding on combinations or mirror images when placing them into your outdoor space.
Finally, keep in mind that while they are companion plants that deter many beneficial insects from the area with their pungent aroma and flavor profiles, specific pests may remain attracted to both herbs alike, such as:
- Spider mites or aphids on rosemary
- Onion maggots from growing chives too close together with other alliums like Garlic Chive (Allium tuberosum).
Therefore it is advised to regularly inspect for pests on these herbs and practice Integrated Pest Management principles such as hand-picking bugs off of plants when possible and only using pesticides as a last resort for particularly severe problems.
Benefits of Planting Together
One of the main benefits of planting chives and rosemary together is that they benefit each other’s growth. Rosemary’s strong aroma repels pesky insects that may otherwise eat away at chives, and the latter’s tall stems provide some shade for the sun-loving rosemary.
Growing the two herbs side by side can also help save space in a garden or flower bed.
The two herbs have complementary flavor profiles as well. Its chives are a mild oniony flavor that adds a subtle zing, while rosemary brings woodsy, herby notes to a dish.
Pairing these herbs together saves time when cooking – no need to reach for two separate containers – and allows for creativity in the kitchen.
However, when planting these herbs together, you should know their different soil preferences. Chives prefer well-drained soil, while rosemary needs soil that retains moisture but drains well.
If your soil isn’t suited to either herb, you can amend it with compost and peat moss commonly found at garden centers or nurseries. Avoid mixing synthetic fertilizers into soils where both plants will be growing, as chives do not respond positively to being “burnt” by too much nitrogen or chemical fertilizer residue left in soil beds.
Any organic mixture may stunt the root development of these delicate plants.
Adding compost to soils will improve nutrient availability and boost microbes, promoting plant health and building topsoil structure, improving water retention capacity, and promoting healthy root systems for both chives and rosemary plants.
Care for Chives and Rosemary
Chives and rosemary are both popular herbs that are often seen in gardens. Both are easy to grow and can bring a lot of flavor to your cooking. When growing them together, some careful considerations must be considered. This article will cover the basics of caring for chives and rosemary when planted together.
Watering your chives and rosemary is an essential part of their maintenance. With both plants, you want to ensure that the soil is evenly moist but not oversaturated. Chives should be watered a maximum of twice per week, with just enough water to moisten the depth of soil that the plant’s roots are growing.
Rosemary should also be watered about twice per week but should never be allowed to dry out for more than a few hours.
If you’re unsure if your plants need watering, use a finger or a trowel to test the depth of the soil – it should feel calm and damp two inches below the surface. Both plants benefit from occasional deep waterings with long soakings every three weeks or so during hot periods in summer.
For both chives and rosemary, an application of fertilizer is beneficial. Applying the fertilizer evenly throughout the soil encourages even growth and prevents any nutrient overload in patches. For best results, use a slow-release fertilizer or a combination of slow-release and liquid fertilizers every two weeks.
For chives, apply one cup of 5-10-10 fertilizer around each clump immediately after planting. For mature plants, scatter one cup of 5-10-10 along with Dolomite lime around each clump once in spring and again in early summer when harvesting, leaving 1/3 of the foliage for the plant to continue producing vigorous growth.
For rosemary, use a general-purpose organically based fertilizer such as 4-4-4 or 5-5-5 at planting time and then in March, May, and July for established plants.
Apply as directed by the manufacturer’s instructions keeping a careful watch on sodium levels to avoid over-salinization issues; as with chives, when harvesting, it is sure to leave 1/3 of the foliage for the plant to continue producing vigorous growth.
Pruning chives and rosemary is essential to successful cultivation and helps keep plants healthy and productive. Pruning can also be used to shape plants, with the desired results achieved using the correct pruning methodology.
Chives: Chives should be pruned in late fall or early winter. Remove up to a third of the existing foliage, careful not to cut through any flower stems ready to bloom in spring.
Prune back seed stalks that have produced their flowers and cut off any dead foliage around foot level – these cuts can be made up until halfway through spring. Propagate chives by detaching healthy shoots from the main plant and replanting them elsewhere or giving them away as gifts!
Rosemary: Rosemary should only be lightly pruned – regular shaping will cause it to become woody and sparse, resulting in a less productive plant. Careful light pruning at least once every two or three years will rejuvenate an aging bush, refusing it back when needed for culinary inspiration!
- When pruning, branch ends should be snipped back to one-quarter and one-half inch above a leaf-bud joint, ensuring that branches retain their attractive shape when done (avoid creating square shapes).
- If possible, propagate rosemary by layering individual stems on the ground (coating stem end with rooting hormone helps), then covering lightly with soil, so it takes root elsewhere.
- Once it has taken root, use scissors to detach the rooted stem carefully off the parent shrub – then pot it up individually for transplanting later if needed.
The answer to the question “can chives and rosemary be planted together?” is yes. Both herbs are perennials, meaning they are hardy, carefree plants that grow year after year with minimal effort.
Sandier soils should be amended with some compost or peat moss to help with water retention, but otherwise, the only requirements for these herbs are a good amount of sun and a regular watering schedule.
As long as you can provide them with both of these things, you will enjoy beautiful herbs for many years!