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
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
which has a stronger leaf fragrance, slightly fewer
flowers but doubles and finer cut leaves than the annual Matricaria.
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.
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
For use in the current year, sow annuals indoors in the middle of
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.
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 chamomile flowers early in the morning when young and just
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