Why Are My Chives Turning Yellow After Transplanting Them?

A frequent herb with a mild onion and onion flavor, chives (Allium schoenoprasum) tolerate cool temperatures as well as warm weather. Perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10, chives can be transplanted in early or late spring, also, when healthy, come back year after year. Chives are easy to raise and look after, but yellowing leaves after the plants have been transplanted may be a sign of anxiety from the transplant.

Transplant Stress

Should you transplant your chives plants in less than optimal conditions, the tips of their leaves may turn yellow, wilt or even die. Although some anxiety, or shock, is expected after a transplant, chives often recover fast from transplantation. If your chives continue to turn yellowish weeks after being transplanted, then the plants may not be adapting well to their new growing conditions and are perishing.

Transplant Preparation

Getting your chives and their outdoor garden ready before the transplant helps the plants survive being moved. Start chives from seeds indoors eight to ten weeks before your location’s average last spring frost date. The plants need to be a few inches tall when they are transplanted. The exterior soil temperature should be 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and no prospect of frost should exist before the transplant. Ensuring the outdoor garden soil drains well and is ample before the transplant will further help your chives adapt well to their new growing environment. Insert either a 4- to 6-inch-thick layer of compost to the garden soil or 2 to 3 tbsp of a granular, 16-16-8 fertilizer per every 1 square foot of lawn soil surface. Mix either the compost or fluid with the garden soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

Transplant Technique

When being transplanted, chives must be removed carefully from their containers so that their roots are not damaged. Place each plant in its own pre-dug hole, together with the plant’s bottom sitting 1/4 to 1/2 inch under the soil surface that surrounds the hole. Gently tap soil around each plant, and cover the soil with mulch to keep it moist and also to reduce weed growth. After transplanted chives become recognized, they require very little additional maintenance.

Harvest Time

Chives plants can be 12 to 24 inches in height and more than 12 inches over when full grown, however, the plants can be harvested 30 days after being transplanted. Because chives continue to proliferate as they grow, with their purple blossoms producing seeds that wind scatters, the plants has to be divided every few decades. When a chives plant runs from growing space or some of its leaves get old, these leaves may yellow at the tips and die. Harvest these leaves first. If leaves turn entirely yellow, cut them off and use them for compost.

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