Chamomile is a flower in the Asteraceae family that is used as a medicine, dye, and decorative plant. Chamomile is considered a perennial in warmer hardiness zones but doesn’t live for very long even under ideal circumstances, so it is usually grown as an annual. Chamomile flowers offer two benefits: They are attractive to look at, while being useful for making a flavorful sedative tea. There are two main varieties of chamomile that are each beneficial, but with some different properties. The two varieties are German chamomile and Roman chamomile. The German variety is said to produce more flowers, but the Roman offers a more intense fragrance. The German variety is the more common of the two.
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How to grow chamomile
Start chamomile seeds indoors in seed trays. A seed starting mix is a good medium.
Start chamomile seeds outdoors by direct sowing them into the ground. Whether you sow the seeds indoors or outdoors, you should press them into the soil without covering them because chamomile seeds need light to germinate. Mist lightly to provide seeds with water. The seeds should germinate within 10 days.
Thin the seedlings remove the weaker ones and improve air circulation for the ones you leave behind.
Grow chamomile from cuttings by snipping the stems below the soil. There should be roots at the bottom of the stem. Place the stems in soil and water them. They should start growing within two months.
Transplant chamomile seedlings once they are between two and three inches tall and have two sets of true leaves. You should also wait until after the last frost. True leaves are the ones that show up after the first two you see when it germinates. Plant in an area with soil that drains well.
Grow chamomile in containers that are at least 12 inches across and 12 inches deep. Choose containers that have large drainage holes, and you can enhance drainage by adding a layer of gravel to the bottom of the pot before filling it with soil. A 1/2 inch layer should be enough. Place containers in a location where they will get at least six hours of sunlight daily.
How much sunlight does chamomile need?
The location should get full sunlight if you live in a temperate climate. Chamomile will need some daily sunlight to bloom. Chamomile plants will need shade in warmer climates. Alternatively, you can plant in fall or winter if you live in a warm location. Both options can deliver an early spring harvest.
How much water does chamomile need?
Give chamomile plants a modest amount of water since they are drought tolerant. You only need to water them deeply once a week if you live in a cooler climate, less than that during the rainy season. You may have to water every two or three days if you are in a warm location, but you will still have to keep rainfall in mind to avoid overwatering. Too much water will cause the leaves to turn brown and fall off.
Harvest chamomile when the flowers are fully open. You can use both the stems and the blooms, since both have the same flavor. If you prefer to use only the blooms, pinch them off just below where they connect to the stem. Harvesting every few days encourages the plant to generate more flowers. Under the right conditions, chamomile grows rapidly.