While the flowers and leaves of both varieties are edible, Roman chamomile tends to taste bitter, which is why we recommend growing sweet-tasting common chamomile.Chamomile blooms best in a location with full sun, but it will grow in partial shade, too.Organic matter like this helps the soil retain moisture while also improving drainage, which is especially important with clay soil.For raised beds, use Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics™ Raised Bed Mix, which provides excellent drainage and important nutrients to promote strong root development and plant growth.Fill in the rest of the hole with more soil, pressing firmly but gently around the base of the plant.The best way to know if you need to water the chamomile is to stick your index finger into the soil about an inch down near the base of the plant.For a convenient way to feed container-grown chamomile, use a water-soluble fertilizer like Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® Edibles Plant Nutrition every week or two throughout the growing season. .
How to Grow Chamomile in Your Herb & Flower Garden
I walked into the raised garden beds of a property where I would be working and was delighted by the array of ground cover flowers, prolifically growing vegetables, and leafy herbs.A line of beautiful white flowers, two feet tall and smelling like sweet apples, grew between the onions and the cabbage.The soft foliage complemented the starspray flowers that bent over the cabbage heads with a dopey and relaxed abandon.Commonly known as pinhead, scented mayweed, and (my personal favorite) babuna, the latin name for this delightful flower is Matricaria chamomilla, translating to “water of youth.” It’s a plant native to central and southern Europe, although it has spread far and wide around the globe.More popularly, the dried and crushed flowers and leaves have been used to brew a relaxing tea, reputedly with the benefit of aiding a deep sleep and calming stomach pain.This variety of scented mayweed is often cultivated for its essential oils, and the aromatic flowers that go into that teabag you’re hopefully enjoying while reading this.This is partly due to the nature of the roots of chamomile – they are shallow and just barely grip onto the top soil.That also makes M. chamomilla more sensitive to water conditions during the initial stages of growth when the plant is establishing itself.If you don’t have one, pick up a rain gauge so you can measure that free watering from ol’ Mother Nature, so your own hose and sprinkler may be used effectively only a supplement.Although its flowers and leaves are suitable for harvest, the plant is typically grown instead for its benefits as a ground cover.The low-growing Roman acts well as an accent plant while the German variety is best put into a large container where it can spread out and grow freely.The naturally strong scent of chamomile offers resistance to many insects, and that benefit is extended to other plants growing near it.Growing your chamomile seeds indoors prior to popping them into the ground is the most effective, trusted method for growth.If you place your seeds in natural light (like I do), make sure to rotate them every few days so they do not grow too far in one direction.Fertilizers higher in nitrogen are more beneficial; chamomile’s weak root system has little use for phosphorus in its development.However, as with most plant diseases and pests, proper care and attention to watering minimizes any of these potential headaches you could encounter.Powdery mildew is the most common problem with scented mayweed, but it is a concern only when the weather is hot and damp for prolonged periods of time.Aphids, thrips, and mealybugs can bother M. chamomilla as well, but the plant is generally pest and problem free.Make a batch of tea at triple or quadruple strength, allow it to steep overnight, and use it the next day as an herbicide and aid against mildew.The ideal time to harvest is when the flower petals begin to curl downward, instead of growing out straight as they ordinarily do.If you’re drying the flower heads, separate them and arrange with some breathing room in between on a piece of cheesecloth or a mesh surface.You can adjust the strength of the tea by really cramming those flower heads in there for a stronger flavor, or by adding just a few if you want a milder taste.Although I’ve never used it for this purpose, you can even rinse your hair with unsweetened tea to bring a nice shine to those locks of yours.It seems like everybody is a winner with this lovely white flower, be it the annual German or perennial Roman. .
How to Grow Chamomile
German chamomile is also known as scented mayweed and wild chamomile.Continue reading for some tips on how to grow chamomile from seed.Sow from the last frost date through early summer, either indoors or direct where it is to grow.If starting indoors, be sure to harden seedlings off before they are transplanted.Chamomile is a fairly adaptable plant, but does best in full sun in well-drained soil.The leaves can be gathered in spring to early summer and used fresh or dry. .
Q. How do I grow Chamomile, and can it be used as a lawn?
Its flowers, with a daisy-like, yellow cone surrounded by white rays, are about 1 inch across and grow singly atop ten inch stems.A flowerless variety ‘Treneague’ is usually grown as a lawn or ground cover.If using ‘Treneague’, plant young plants about 4 - 8 inches apart.Roman chamomile can also be started from seed.Grow in full sun in well-drained but moist soil.The plants will flower as early as June in warmer climates and will continue to flower periodically until fall.Place the pots in a warm location (about 70°F) and the seeds will germinate in about two weeks, Chamomile can be started at any time of the year. .
Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) in flower at NYBG; photo by Ivo Vermeulen.This mat-forming perennial has a spreading habit and the brilliant, green, finely-cut leaves grow about four inches high.Roman chamomile can be started from seeds, cuttings or by root division.To grow a chamomile lawn, you will need a spot where the ground rarely freezes.German chamomile (Matricaria recutita); photo courtesy of Flickr cc/Eran Finkle.The plant can be distinguished from Roman chamomile by having multiple flowers atop divided stems (a corymb).German chamomile seeds can be sown directly in the soil in early spring.Chamomile has been recommended for many human ailments such as hay fever, headaches, inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, insomnia, ulcers, wounds, gastrointestinal disorders, rheumatic pain and hemorrhoids.(For a detailed discussion of this topic see the National Institutes of Health publication linked in the column on the right.).Chamomile tea can be made by mixing 1 tsp of dried flowers in 8 ounces of not-quite boiling water and allowing them to steep for 5 – 10 minutes.People allergic to ragweed and other plants in the aster family should not use chamomile. .
Top 10 Medicinal Plants
Horticulturist Blake Burger and horticulture intern Kenna Castleberry pick their top 10 to grow at home.Ingested, it helps stomach ailments such as gastritis, peptic ulcers, regional ileitis and colitis.Growing tips from staff horticulturalist Blake Burger: Calendula can be started indoors in the spring rather easily.Start inside 6 weeks before last frost and make sure to provide a sunny location for the seedlings to thrive.An essential oil made from the chamomile flowers has been used to help cure diaper rash in newborns.Growing tips from Heather Rhoades of Gardening Know How blog: Plant the chamomile (seeds or cuttings) in the spring.Growth tips from staff horticulturalist Blake Berger: Peppermint prefers a sunny location and moist soil, although it can tolerate part shade.Although garden mints have the reputation as an aggressive grower, peppermint isn’t as invasive as some of its relatives.Internally holy basil can help in treating intestinal tract problems, as well as asthma and reducing fevers.Growing tips from University of California: Plant in full sun in ¼ inches deep of holes.Plantain has vitamins A, C, K. You can eat the leaves raw, as they’re more nutritious than other greens and taste similar to swiss chard.Growing tips from Amy Grant of Gardening Know How blog: Plant plantains in sunny areas.Hyssop essential oil has medicinal properties, but has also been linked to epileptic seizures, and should be taken with precaution.Growth tips staff horticulturist Loddie Dolinski: This plant is pretty hardy and doesn’t need too much water.Lavender has analgesic (pain relieving), antidepressant, antifungal, antioxidant, antiviral, aromatic, cholagogue (something that stimulates the flow of bile from the liver) and cicatrisant (wound healing) properties, as well as many others.It also acts as an effective sleep aid and can be combined with valerian or chamomile in tea, or merely sprinkled onto the sheets as lavender oil, or dried flowers can be sewn into a pillow.Growing tips from staff bonsai specialist Larry Jackel: Hawthorn is vulnerable to fireblight, so prune in the winter, sterilizing the tools between uses.Medicinally, elecampane has expectorant, choleretic, cholagogue, antimicrobial, vermifuge and diuretic properties.It can be taken internally as a tea, made from the root to treat colds, coughs, asthma, loss of appetite, intestinal worm and digestive problems. .