Do you love chamomile tea?
It is one of the most calming drinks that soothe our nerves. There is nothing better than having this soothing herb at home all the time. It is only possible if you grow chamomile yourself. I started growing chamomile about five years back. It was one of the best decisions I made as I didn’t need to go to the market every time I craved a cup of warm chamomile tea. The best part about this herb is that it is easy to cultivate and harvest.
If you are planning to grow your own chamomile, then you have come to the right place. In this article, you will learn everything about growing chamomile at home.
All You Need to Know About Chamomile
There are many common names for chamomile including babuna, scented mayweed, and pinhead. The scientific name for the plant is Matricaria chamomile. It roughly translates to ‘water of youth’. The chamomile plant is native to Southern and Central Europe. However, it has spread far and wide around the world because of its plenty of uses. It was used in ancient Rome, Egypt, and Greece as a remedy for ailments including inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders rheumatic pain, and gastrointestinal pain (https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/chamomile/growing-chamomile.htm). Dried and crushed chamomile flowers are used to make tea which is one of the most relaxing drinks you will ever have. It calms stomach pain and also helps people suffering from insomnia.
Different Varieties of Chamomile
There are two main types of chamomile, German chamomile, and Roman chamomile.
German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is an annual plant. It commonly grows in the 4-9 Hardiness Zones. If you are looking for tall-growing flowers, then German chamomile is the best choice. This type of chamomile is cultivated for its aromatic flowers and essential oils. Dried flowers of the German chamomile plant are used in teabags that are commonly used to brew the calming and soothing tea that everyone loves. German chamomile grows to two feet in height. It is an annual plant and an aggressive self-seeder. Because of its self-seeding characteristics, many people mistake it for a perennial.
When you are growing German chamomile, then the temperature and the quality of light is more important than the state of soil you are using. The roots of this kind of chamomile are shallow. They barely grip the soil which makes them highly sensitive to water conditions (https://bonnieplants.com/how-to-grow/how-to-grow-growing-chamomile/).
Once the root has set in, Matricaria recutita becomes drought tolerant. The plant likes to receive about an inch of rain a week. If there isn’t any rain, you will need to take control of watering the plant yourself.
Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), as opposed to its German counterpart, is a low-growing perennial plant. This species grows through a rhizome and takes control of a small area in the garden when it is left on its own. If you are looking for a plant for permanent ground cover, then this is a great choice. While the leaves and flowers of Roman chamomile are also suitable for harvesting, this species is more typically grown to cover the ground. Chamaemelum nobile also looks great as an accent plant and can also be used to minimize the growth of weed when it is planted between different rows of vegetables (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_V9O4fVyRA).
Roman chamomile can also tolerate light foot traffic. There are fewer blooms of Roman chamomile as compared to its German counterpart but has different uses than the other variety.
Want to know how to grow chamomile? Read on to get all the information you need.
Chamomile plants prefer growing in full sun. However, they can also tolerate and grow well in partial sun conditions. Chamomile doesn’t fare well when grown in temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. All the varieties of mayweed will compliment certain plants in your garden. You can plant your chamomile next to mint, cabbage, and onions as companion plants. The low-growing Roman type and the upright German type both act as effective ground cover. It controls the development of weeds and also gives stunning and tasty flowers.
All the varieties of lawn chamomile can also be planted in containers. You just need well-drained soil and the plant will grow fine. Roman chamomile is perfect to be used as an accent plant. German variety, on the other hand, would need a large container so that it can thrive freely, and spread out (https://gardenerspath.com/plants/flowers/grow-chamomile/).
Chamomile flowers have a strong scent that offers resistance to insects. This strong scent also benefits the other plants growing next to the chamomile plant.
The most trusted and effective method of growing chamomile is to plant the seeds indoors first before putting them into the ground. Seeds should be started about 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Put the pot in a window that receives plenty of sunlight. However, it is important not to leave the seedlings in more than 16 hours of sunlight. They must be given 8 hours of rest.
When the seedlings are about 3 months old, add some fertilizer to the pot. Chamomile seedlings don’t need a lot of fertilizers and attention to thrive. Just a little care will go a long way. Once you have transplanted the seedlings into the ground, the plants still don’t demand a lot of attention and care. You can add fertilizers that are high in nitrogen content. Since the root systems of chamomile are not too strong, they don’t require a lot of phosphorus in their growth and development.
Pests and Diseases
The following pests and diseases can affect the chamomile plants.
- Powdery mildew
German chamomile is mostly harvested for tea. The leaves are a little bitter. Therefore, it is best to stick to flowers for making your chamomile tea. You can harvest German chamomile and Roman chamomile when its petals start to curl downwards. You can use fresh or dried flowers in your tea.
When making your tea, simply add two tablespoons of dried flowers into eight ounces of water. Let it steep for about 5 minutes and your tea is ready.
How long does chamomile take to grow?
Chamomile grows to its full bloom about 6-10 weeks after germination.
Does chamomile come back every year?
Chamomile is a perennial plant that grows from the same root year after year.
How hard is it to grow chamomile?
Chamomile is one of the easiest herbs to grow. Refer to the information given above to know how you can cultivate the chamomile lawn plant and harvest it easily.
Where does chamomile grow?
Chamomile grows best in sunlight and well-drained soil.
This was everything you need to know about growing the chamomile plant. Here’s a recap:
- Start the seed germination process 6-8 weeks before final frost
- Transplant the seedlings in well-drained soil
- Harvest when the petals start to curl downward
Have any more questions about growing chamomile? Let us know in the comments below.