Aerogardens give you a low-maintenance way to grow fresh produce indoors, irrespective of season or weather. But since not everything can be grown using this revolutionary technology, it makes sense to be selective with your plant choices. So, can chives grow in an aerogarden?
You can grow chives in an aerogarden because these plants grow well in multiple mediums as long as they’re provided with good light, watering, and nutrients. An aerogarden helps you regulate these three growth factors, allowing chives to thrive.
In this article, we will see what makes chives grow their best, how an aerogarden works, and why growing chives in an aerogarden makes perfect sense.
What Chives Need to Grow Best
Chives thrive in hardiness zones 3–9, making them one of the most common garden plants to grow. However, they still have specific needs that the gardener must meet for them to survive and thrive.
Here’s a rundown of those needs:
Ample Light and Moderate Temperatures
Chives require full sun, which means they need 6–8 hours daily. While they may tolerate a little shade, they grow best in plentiful sunlight and may not do best during darker months.
Even though planting chives with other plants helps the garden by deterring pests and welcoming pollinators, chives’ slow-growing nature puts them at risk for competition for sunlight. As other plants get taller, they can block sunlight from reaching the chives, stunting growth or halting it altogether.
Cooler springs and brisk autumns give chives the best temperature range. Summer temperatures can cause them to switch to hibernation mode, where they stay protected until cooler weather.
Chives need lots of consistent watering to prevent drying out of the bulb and root bundle. In hotter climates, too much sun can dry out the soil, threatening the chive plant’s vitality.
Drip-line sprinklers and soaker hoses make it easier to keep chives hydrated. However, drying out remains a threat.
Gardeners mitigate the risk of drying out with a layer of mulch on top of the soil. Mulching protects the ground around the plant from direct sunlight, helping retain moisture.
Nutrient-Rich, Well-Draining Soil
Chives do not respond well to too much fertilization as a slow-growing plant. Periodic supplemental fertilization gives them a boost, but good soil provides most nutrients needed.
For soil to maintain stable environments for minerals and nutrients to become available, it has to maintain a certain pH level. A sudden fall or spike in pH levels can spell disaster for the soil and its plants.
Proper drainage can mean the difference between well-watered and water-logged chives. Overwatered chives droop, wilt, and yellow because they can’t process or expel so much moisture. If the soil cannot dry out in time, watering must cease until the ground can accommodate it.
Key Elements of an Aerogarden
Having covered what chives need to thrive, let’s take a brief look at the key elements of an aerogarden. This way, things will make sense to you when we discuss why it’s a great idea to grow chives in an aerogarden.
An aerogarden uses seed pods ready for germinating. The pods come as complete seed-and-medium containers placed in cutouts on a growing tray, which sits under a grow light and above a water reservoir. As the roots grow, they spread downward into the water, which also receives air from the bubbles.
Disclaimer: This is a somewhat oversimplified description of an aerogarden’s workings. For a more detailed breakdown of how an aerogarden works, check out The Appliance Analysts’ guide.
Let’s take a closer look at the core elements of an aerogarden and the role they play in plant health.
Pod Growing Containers
Rather than sowing seeds in the soil, the aerogarden plants the seeds within the growing medium for you. The pods comprise:
- A peat moss sponge for the germinating medium, replacing standard topsoil.
- Seeds buried at the correct depth, eliminating planting errors.
- A plastic dome for trapping humidity around the sprouts to prevent moisture loss.
- A plastic basket to support the entire pod in the growing tray.
Thanks to these elements, aerogarden pods take the guesswork out of planting. This makes it easier to diagnose problems if anything goes wrong and increases the chances of successful germination.
Continuous Water, Nutrient & Air Circulation
Aerogardens use pumps to bubble the nutrient-rich water in the reservoir underneath the growing tray where the roots take in water splashed onto them from the pump bubbles. The bubbles aerate the water and supply fresh air to the roots.
To create a humid environment for young saplings, aerogarden pods come with a plastic dome that affixes to the pod’s basket. The dome traps moist air inside while allowing circulation above the dome through a cutout.
An aerogarden maintains steady pH through its proprietary plant food, though pH levels will depend on your water source. Using tap water for your plants means they will get whatever has been added to the water to make it potable. Aerogarden.com implores that you use distilled water, which mixes with the plant food to balance the pH.
Consistent Lighting and Temperature
Aerogardens come equipped with full-spectrum LED grow lights that are user-operated via a switch on the device. The timed lights shut off after 15 hours, ensuring your plants receive proper light levels.
The grow lights activate photosynthesis in the plants by keeping steady beams of sun-like light focused on them. The lights supply the necessary light wavelengths for plants to photosynthesize and provide warmth, helping maintain a constant temperature range ideal for plant growth.
Reasons To Grow Chives in an aerogarden
Growing any plant species presents the gardener with multiple challenges, often dissuading people from gardening. Chives have problems that are difficult to address in an outdoor garden.
An aerogarden makes growing chives easier than ever, eliminating most 一 if not all 一 issues associated with growing these plants. Here’s how it does that:
An Aerogarden Eliminates Chive Spread
Planting different crops together repels pests and encourages pollinator visits. Co-planting is beneficial, but it also means regular checking to ensure plants grow together instead of competing.
Chives proliferate well once their flowers bloom and can overtake a garden quickly. If unchecked, this creates competition for water, nutrients, and sunlight. Regularly pruning nearby plants, thinning and dividing chives, and checking soil values to get the nutrition balance right all factor into how well co-planting will work.
Since aerogarden pods sit in the growing tray cutouts — each having its designated spot apart from the other pods — competition doesn’t happen as often and is more manageable. While you might still need to prune nearby plants that threaten your chives, it won’t require as much work or checking to succeed.
An Aerogarden Avoids Common Chive Issues
Growing chives presents several challenges to the grower:
- Light and Temperature
Let’s find out how an aerogarden addresses each of these challenges.
Pests threaten to destroy all plants, including chives. An aerogarden eliminates the pest problem because you keep it indoors, away from almost all the pests that can harm your plants. Of course, pests can still make their way into your home, so it still behooves you to run a monthly check on your chives for signs of problems.
Light and Temperature
If chives don’t receive the requisite dose of daily sunlight, they can’t photosynthesize and thus can’t grow. An aerogarden keeps steady light on the chives, maintaining the proper wavelengths at the correct strength. Too much light or heat will hurt the plant, so it’s great that an aerogarden eliminates that possibility.
Without adequate drainage, chives become waterlogged. Aerogarden baskets sit suspended above the water reservoir to prevent overwatering. Only a specific amount of water goes in. Also, the grow light doesn’t produce excess heat to dry out the pods, which would result in inconsistent watering.
Have you ever watered your garden and an unexpected rainstorm hit, flooding everything? The aerogarden doesn’t risk overwatering because it simply cannot bring in more water on its own, and you can only fill it with water to a certain point.
Chives Prefer Cool Weather
Chive growth slows or stops when temperatures swing too hot or too cold. Growing indoors solves this problem by keeping the chives in their preferred temperature range.
Keeping your house cooler makes the chives feel right at home. The problem is, too much cooler weather temperatures invite problems for plants. For instance, too much cold can slow growth.
An aerogarden keeps the temperatures within the recommended range regardless of the season. Since the grow lights mimic not only the sun’s light but also its heat, you don’t have to worry about overexposure to high temperatures either.
Chives require plenty of sunlight to photosynthesize, water to stay hydrated, pH-balanced soil and nutrition for food, and a moderate climate to normalize growing times. Since aerogarden supplies continuous light, steady and balanced nutrients, and precise moisture, it removes most of the guesswork and difficulties associated with growing chives.
Growing chives in an aerogarden also eliminates the pest problems associated with outdoor growing and maintains the right temperature to stimulate regular photosynthesis and growth.