Chives belong to the lily family and thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. Interestingly, chives will grow virtually anywhere, even in indirect sun or partial shade. This is especially true in the south and southwest, where summer temperatures are hot. Chives tolerate cool temperatures also, though, making them a very versatile plant. Ultimately, your chives adore light and should get at least 6 hours of full sun per day for the healthiest results. Insufficient sunlight causes droopy growth. When they receive enough sun, chive stems should feel stiff and strong and the color should be vibrant. However, they should be protected from excessive, prolonged heat.
Table of Contents
How Many Hours of Sun Do Chives Need?
Ideally, chives should be exposed to 6 hours of sunlight per day. However, 8 hours is even better, and up to 10 should not scorch the plant unless its surrounding environment is excessively hot. Although they love the sun, chives are an herb that will quickly die in extreme temperatures, especially without the necessary amount of water.
- Expose your chives to a minimum of 6 hours of sun daily.
- Up to 10 hours of sun is not dangerous unless temperatures are extremely high.
- When sun-deprived, chives lose their color and droop.
If prolonged temperatures of more than 90℉ (32℃) are anticipated, make sure to provide some shade to your chives during the hottest part of the day. If deprived of adequate sunlight, however, chives quickly droop and lose their color. They may feature a yellowish-brown hue. This is never normal for chives. If growing your plants indoors, keep them near a sunny windowsill and make sure the soil drains properly.
Can Chives Grow in Indirect Sunlight?
Chives grow virtually anywhere, including in indirect sunlight. Just make sure your plants get enough of it to keep them flourishing. Up to 12 hours of indirect sunlight is recommended. If temperatures are warm, it is even easier to grow chives in indirect light. If soil conditions are right, your chives will thrive just as they would in full sun.
- Chives can grow in direct sunlight.
- 12 hours of indirect light is ideal for chives.
- Warm temperatures make it easier to grow chives in indirect light.
- If growing chives indoors, substitute artificial light with this LED grow light if natural sun is unavailable.
Chives may not be in peak health if they are not provided with full, direct sun. If you are struggling to grow healthy indoor chives, and have limited sunlight, you can use artificial light to give your plant a boost. Use a full-spectrum plant light and try to hang it directly above your pots.
Can Chives Grow in Shade?
It is possible to grow chives in shade, as long as they are only shaded for part of the day. For example, if chives receive 6 hours of direct sunlight, but spend the remainder of the day in the shade, they will be just as happy as if they were in full sun all day. Where it gets tricky is if you are attempting to grow chives in total shade. They will survive for a while, but hours of shade every day without sun will likely lead to a poor harvest.
- Chives will grow in shade, as long as some sun exposure is provided.
- Total shade results in smaller, weaker plants and a poor harvest.
Chives that spend all their time in the shade often grow spindly and long. Shaded chives will eventually develop drooping stems. If your chive plant receives too much deep shade, its flowers may fail to bloom completely, and bulbs may be very small without a robust taste.
What Happens if Chives Don’t Get Enough Sun?
If chives are not completely deprived of sun, but don’t get an ideal amount, several signs immediately become apparent. For instance, chives without proper amounts of sunlight grow in dense clumps of slender bulbs. Typically, the stems grow tall and produce purple flowers by midsummer. When chives don’t get enough sun, stems become rubbery and droop.
- Chives become rubbery and droop when deprived of sun.
- Flowers may bloom unevenly or fail to bloom at all.
- Your chive plants might die if kept from the sun completely.
Limited sunlight can interrupt chive flowering. Flowers will fail to bloom or they may bloom in a sporadic uneven pattern. Complete lack of sun can lead to the death of your chive plant. Lack of vibrant color is another sign of sun deprivation. If your chives are turning yellow or brown and beginning to droop, they need more sun.
Can Chives Get Too Much Sun?
There is such a thing as too much sun for chives. Although they are somewhat drought-resistant, chives will suffer if constant sunlight is combined with hot temperatures. Such conditions can quickly lead to root rot or scorching. Because chive stems are somewhat hollow and spongy, once scorching begins, it progresses quickly.
- Chives can get too much sun.
- Excessive sun combined with hot temperatures is a bad combination for chives.
- Unfiltered sun and high heat scorch chives.
- Scorching progresses quickly and kills the plant if chives are not given enough shade.
If you live where temperatures reach 90℉ (32℃), consider offering your plants some light shade during the hottest part of the day. As soon as you notice any scorching, provide shade immediately and make sure your chives aren’t in dry soil. Chive plants do not like to be disturbed, so it can be difficult to look for root rot. However, if you gently push back the soil, you may be able to view at least the top part of the root. If it is white, your plants’ roots have not yet rotted and there is time to save them.
How Much Sun Do Chives Require?
Chives flourish in moist, well-drained soil and full sun. They will grow essentially anywhere, including in partial shade and indirect sun. However, growing chives in deep shade with a complete lack of sun leads to droopy growth. Chive stems should grow straight and strong. Vibrant colors should be seen in their leaves and flowers. Chives like warm temperatures, but can thrive in cooler conditions as well.
- Chives should have 6 hours of full sun daily.
- Prolonged, excessive heat is not good for chives.
- Chives can flourish in indirect sun and partial shade.
Plant chives in a sunny or shaded part of your garden. However, if you are planning an herb garden it’s a good idea to position chives where they are shaded by other plants. Many other popular herbs, like thyme and basil, are more sun-dependent than chives. So, others can take center stage in the sun while your chives thrive in partial shade.