The Planting and Care of Chamomile



Growing chamomile in your own herb garden is one of the best ways to get this plant for those looking for leaves and flowers for teas and herbal healing. I'll tell you how to grow it, you figure out how to use it.

There are several plants sold under this name.

The so-called German strain is Matricaria chamomilla and it has very finely cut foliage producing heavy crops of single flowers. It is an annual.

The perennial using the name Roman chamomile is Anthemis nobilis which has a stronger leaf fragrance, slightly fewer flowers but doubles and finer cut leaves than the annual Matricaria.

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Chamomile

Double Flowered Chamomile


A double flowered Chamaemelum nobile is used in Europe as a source of flowers. There is a flowerless variety sometimes sold as a plant for between paving stones and in walkways.

It is most often sold as a started plant and propagated by division. The others are easily germinated from seed.

Growing Chamomile


All growing chamomile plants like to be grown in the full sun.

Germination is not high in most of these plants (range 40-60% is average).

For use in the current year, sow annuals indoors in the middle of March.

Germinate at 55-65F soil temperatures and you should see growth in two to three weeks.

Do not cover these seeds with soil, they require light for germination.

Planting and Care


Plant them in individual pots, four to six seeds to a 3-inch pot and thin to a single strong seedling. As they transplant easily, you can sow thicker than this and transplant to individual pots approximately a month after the seed have sprouted.

Note that while the very young seedlings move relatively well, once they start to grow, they resent being transplanted. This means that each seedling has to have its own growing space and root damage on planting in the garden is to minimized.

Move the growing plants outdoors after last frost but acclimatize to outdoor conditions. Grow and harvest flowers as they are produced.

Do not cut back the foliage before the flower harvest is started or the production of flowers will drop dramatically.

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Most herb producers do not distinguish between the different species or varieties of this plant for the herbal uses. The annual plant is used by commercial growers.


Problem


Regardless of how healthy growing chamomile is for you, it is ambrosia to aphids and you'll undoubtedly see them on young plants. Wash them off with a strong jet of water or use insecticidal soap.

Harvest


Harvest chamomile flowers early in the morning when young and just opening.



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