Do you know that the chamomile flower is a herb you can grow in your garden with lots of benefits?
A lot of people tend to swear by the homegrown chamomile tea that helps to calm their nerves.
This cheery herb can help add beauty and may also have sedative qualities.
Moreover, growing chamomile flower in your garden is both useful and visually pleasing.
There are two kinds of chamomile you can find, the first is Roman chamomile and the other is German chamomile.
The Roman variety tends to be the true chamomile, however, you can use German chamomile for nearly the same thing.
It is important to note that the steps for growing both Roman chamomile and German chamomile are also nearly identical.
Keep on reading to learn more.
The chamomile flower is a unique European herb that tends to form a pretty flower with a number of benefits.
It is important to note that you can use a chamomile flower for a number of herbal remedies, beverages, and skin care products.
There are two types of chamomile, German and Roman.
Both types tend to boast fragrant, daisy-like flowers with white petals that surround a yellow flower.
These two types of chamomile grow quickly, reaches full bloom within 10 weeks, and are best planted in the spring via seeds.
Moreover, roman chamomile is used as ground cover or creeping plant to soften the edges of a stone wall or walkway.
While its German counterpart is more commonly used for making tea.
Quick Facts about Chamomile Flower
Some quicks facts about chamomile flower are:
|Name||Chamomile, German chamomile, Roman chamomile, Barnyard daisy|
|Botanical Names||Matricaria recutita, Chamaemelum nobile|
|Plant Type||Annual, perennial|
|Mature Size||8–24 in. tall, 8–12 in. wide|
|Hardiness Zones||2-9 (USDA)|
Chamomile Flower Care
German chamomile or Matricaria chamomilla is an annual plant.
However, it often comes back every year as it self-seeds so readily.
You may think it is perennial just like Roman chamomile or Chamaemelum nobile, which returns yearly.
It is important to note that both are easy to care for in your garden and will need a few extras to thrive.
German chamomile tends to produce more abundant flowers, while Roman chamomile takes the medal for more fragrant blooms.
Moreover, chamomile is often not great as a bedding plant, it tends to be too floppy and insignificant when you pair it with more formal and imposing flowers.
However, you can use this flower for underplanting in an herb or vegetable garden, to soften rock wall edges, and is a good candidate for containers.
When indoors, this plant tends to grow best in a south or west-facing window that gets at least four to six hours of bright sunlight.
You will need to keep the soil moist but not overly wet.
Light and Soil Requirements
Both Roman and German chamomile tend to grow well in either full sun or partial shade.
The plants tend to flower best in full sun, however, in hot climates, a bit of partial shade is a better choice, especially during the hot afternoon hours to avoid burning the delicate blooms.
Moreover, more sun often leads to faster growth, however, this plant grows rapidly by nature.
Both versions of this plant will flower best when you grow them in rich, organic soil.
They can survive in poorer mixtures, however, it will often cause their stems to be floppier.
Chamomile is not particular about its soil pH and prefers a neutral range of between 5.6 to 7.5.
Water, Temperature, and other requirements
Make sure to water your young chamomile plants about an inch per week.
As they age and become established, the plants are drought tolerant.
Moreover, it is best to allow your plants to dry out between waterings.
However, in the case of extremely hot climates, chamomile will appreciate a bit more moisture.
Chamomile is capable of thriving in any summer weather under 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
It also prefers a moderate temperature range between 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
As it is drought tolerant, it does not thrive excessively in humid areas.
Furthermore, chamomile will not need fertilizer, it will grow quickly without any particular need for feeding.
Harvesting Chamomile for Tea
In order to harvest chamomile flowers for tea, make sure to gather them when they are fully open.
Pull off the flower with one hand while holding the step just underneath the flower with the other.
Make sure to leave the stems on the plant to encourage new buds to form.
When making tea, you can either use fresh or dried flowers.
To dry the flower, lay them on a tray and place them in a dry spot for 7 to 10 days.
Once they dry, store the flowers and leaves in a cool, dark environment in an air-tight container, or you can freeze them.
In case the tea tastes bittern, only make tea from the flower heads and avoid using leaves or stems.
To harvest seeds for the next growing season, make sure to wait until the German chamomile flowers dry up on the stem and chip them.
Shake the seeds loose and store them in a cool, dry place.
You can use them within three to four years.
Types of Chamomile
There are about 25 species in the chamomile genus Matricaria, including German chamomile and wild chamomile Matricaria discoidea.
Roman chamomile or common chamomile belongs to a different genus, however, is almost identical to German chamomile.
Unlike German chamomile, Roman chamomile is a perennial,
Some other popular varieties of German chamomile are:
‘Bodegold’: This one is an aromatic variety with large flowers.
‘Gosal’: this one has higher levels of bisabolol contained in its essential oil.
‘Zloty Lan’: This one cotnains blue colored chamazulene in its essentail oil.
Pruning and Propagating Tips
In case your plant gets leggy or spindly midseason, make sure to cut the stems down about 4 inches from the soil line using sterilized pruners.
You can also trim the stem after the first harvest of flowers.
Moreover, trimming encourages new growth and more flower production.
Make sure to harvest fresh flowers as they bloom for use in tea or deadhead faded flowers.
This will encourage new buds.
You can propagate methods, however, they tend to differ depending on the chamomile type, Roman or German.
It is easier to propagate Roman chamomile by division.
While German chamomile best reproduces by seeds. Both should be propagated in the early spring after the threat of the first is gone.
Dividing Roman chamomile is a good way to keep this rapidly spreading plant from overgrowth.
You can propagate Roman chamomile by division as:
- use pruners or a spade, potting soil, and at least a 6-inch deep container, if you are not planting inground
- roman chamomile tends to spread out via runner, so cut off a section of the plant with its roots intact
- dig it up and use clippers to separate it from the parent plant
- for a larger clump, use a spade to slice through the soil and root
- lift out the section and transplant it by placing the plant and its roots in a soil-filled pot or a spot in the ground with a prepared hole
- the plant will sit at the soil level
- fill in areas around the plant with soil
- make sure to keep the soil moist until new growth emerges
Growing Chamomile from Seed
German chamomile tends to spread easily by self-seeding.
You can start the seeds indoors about 6 weeks before the last expected frost.
Moreover, chamomile seeds need light to germinate, so make sure to scatter them and then press them firmly onto the soil.
However, do not cover the seeds with soil.
Water regularly and your plant will germinate in 7 to 14 days.
You can also direct-sow chamomile outdoors, though you will get better germination if you do this in the fall.
And let the seeds stratify over winter for a spring crop.
Potting, Repotting, and Overwintering Chamomile
You can grow chamomile in any container that is at least 6 inches deep.
It will need ample drainage holes, using well-draining, pre-moistened potting soil enriched with fertilizer.
If you are transplanting chamomile, dig under and around the roots of the plant.
The best time to transplant chamomile is when the plant is only 2 to 3 inches tall.
While older seedlings do not transplant well.
Also, do not transplant chamomile when it is in the active flowering phase.
Roman chamomile is a perennial down to zone 4 and can remain outside.
However, it will need wind protection from harsh, drying winds that can kill Roman chamomile.
Make sure to plant it along a wall for a wind break.
If potted, wrap the pot with jute to prevent the soil in the pot from freezing.
It is important to note most insects stay clear of chamomile.
You can use chamomile as a cucumber pest deterrent.
However, in some cases, aphids and thrips can be a problem for this plant.
You can wash them off the plant or treat them with insecticidal soap to get rid of them.
How to get your plant to bloom?
Chamomile blooms are small with yellow centers and white petals.
They often look like miniature daisies.
The flowers tend to have a sweet, herbaceous aroma and will bloom in spring and summer.
The best way to get your plant to bloom is by providing direct, full sun, it may not bloom if it is shaded.
Other than this, your plant is super easy, it will not need deadheading or fertilizer.
Though, deadheading tends to encourage new blooms.
Chamomile is an easy-to-grow herb, both inside and out, and tends to experience very few problems.
However, occasionally, it will need a little TLC.
Brown Spots on the Leaves: This can be a sign of a number of fungal plant diseases like botrytis blight.
You can remedy your plant by treating it with some fungicidal oil.
Leaves turn Brown and Fall Off: If this happens, your plant may be getting a lot of water.
Cut back on the water and see if it makes a difference.
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