A bulbous herbaceous perennial, German Chives are sometimes known as Broadleaved Chives, which is confusing as some types of Common Chives are also sometimes known as Broadleaved. (In fact the Common Chives in our range have always been listed as Broadleaved but we have updated this now to avoid confusion). German Chives are in fact much broader, thicker and juicier in leaf than the common chives, and also taste more garlicky and less oniony – more like Garlic Chives. However the leaves are shorter, stubbier and thicker than Garlic Chives, and in common with Common Chives the flowers are pink and the plant dies back almost completely in winter (hence the specific epithet senescens). Confused yet?! Well we’ve only added German Chives to our range because we think they are well worth the confusion! I love the thickness and juiciness of the leaves compared to the other varieties. Add to that the fact that the leaves grow from the base slightly twisted, giving a swirled or curly effect. This feature is most pronounced with the new growth early in the season. Finally the cluster of lilac-pink typical allium umbels in the mid to late summer makes it a pretty addition to the herb garden or food forest.
Allium species have been used world wide for their medicinal properties which are related to their rich organosulfur compounds . These are believed to prevent the development of cancer, cardiovascular, neurological, diabetes, liver diseases as well as allergy and arthritis. Alliums are said to be one of the most effective anti-microbial plants available, acting on bacteria, viruses and alimentary parasites. The volatile oil is largely excreted via the lungs and hence is used in infections of bronchial system. Alliums also support the development of the natural bacterial flora while killing pathogenic organisms. In addition they are said to reduce blood pressure when taken over a period of time as well as reduce blood cholesterol levels. They can also be used topically against fungal infections.
Like chives, the leaves can be chopped or snipped and used to flavour salads, egg dishes, baked potatoes, fish, soups etc. They can also be added to softened cream cheese or butter to make an garlicky spread.
Alliums are said to be a good companion plant for roses, preventing black spot and repelling aphids), carrots (making them larger and sweeter) beet, and apple trees (preventing black spot). However they should not be grown near legumes. The flowers can be eaten raw in salads and are fantastic for bees – in fact the closely related chives were rated in the top 10 for most nectar production (nectar per unit cover per year) in one UK plant survey.
German Garlic is native to regions across the north of Europe and Asia and has also naturalised in parts of central Europe. It requires full sun and good drainage and is otherwise easy care. The clumps enlarge slowly and do not require frequent division. Height to 40cm.
Certified organic plant in 9cm pot.