Chamomile’s daisy-like flowers are a beautiful and practical addition to your garden. Roman and German chamomile are two common types of this popular herb. Learn the differences between the two types and how to grow chamomile with these five tips.
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5 Tips for How to Grow Chamomile
1. Understand the differences between German and Roman Chamomile
German and Roman chamomile have many similarities but also a few key differences:
- Best for tea
- Upright annual (2′ tall)
- Reseeds easily
- Flowers all along branching stems
- Click here for organic German chamomile seeds.
- Also called English or Russian chamomile
- Low-growing mounding perennial (1′ tall)
- Often used as a ground cover
- Spreads by rooting stems
- Foliage is fine and feathery
- Single flower on each stem
- Fewer blossoms than German chamomile
- Tolerates light foot traffic
- Click here for organic Roman chamomile seeds.
2. Plant chamomile correctly and at the right time.
- German chamomile does best started from transplants. Plant German chamomile after last spring frost date.
- Roman chamomile does best started from transplants. Plant Roman chamomile when soil temperatures reach 45°F.
- Space both types of plants 8 inches – 12 inches apart.
- If growing from seed, scatter chamomile seeds and lightly cover them with dirt. Keep soil moist until the seeds sprout. Thin to groups of 2 or 3 plants about 8 inches apart.
- Chamomile grows in full sun, but needs partial shade while roots are getting established.
- In the low desert of Arizona:
Plant 1-2 chamomile plants per square foot for square foot gardening.
Flowers to Plant Outside & Seeds to Start Indoors Each Month in the Low Desert of Arizona.
• PLANTING GUIDE: Each month lists annual flowers and bulbs to plant outside & seeds to start indoors.
• BLOOMING GUIDE: Photos show what may be in bloom that month.
3. Care for chamomile correctly
- Chamomile needs regular water; do not let the plant dry out.
- Keep flowers cut back to encourage more production.
- Does not require supplemental feeding.
- Chamomile grows well with most other herbs and vegetables.
- Chamomile reseeds easily.
How to grow chamomile in containers:
When growing chamomile from seed in containers, lightly press seeds into the soil but do not cover them with soil.
Does not need supplemental feeding.
4. Harvest chamomile often
- Harvest flowers for tea when the white petals begin to curl. Remove petals before drying to prevent damaging yellow centers.
- Harvest by snipping with pruning snips. (I link to my absolute favorite ones).
- Harvest in the morning, so flowers have the highest moisture content.
- Dry flower heads by placing them in a single layer in a cool, dry place for several days.
Learn more about growing and using edible flowers in this blog post.
5. Use chamomile in many different ways
Chamomile is best known for making a calming tea. Other uses for chamomile include:
- Natural hair lightener
- Rinse for sore or swollen gums
- Chill used tea bags to help relieve puffy eyes
- Relief for upset stomach