chamomile is a seriously useful herb in the garden
- It is a great little companion plant and can promote the good health of most other plants in it’s vicinity.
- It’s pretty – with it’s heavy crop of small yellow centred flowers.
- It is what is known as a mineral accumulator (great for your compost).
how to use your harvest
- Tea can be made from the fully opened flowers. Chamomile tea is best known as a calming herb to promote good sleep. Try a cup at bedtime!
- Sick plants often like a dose of chamomile tea too – let it cool before you put it in a spray bottle and spray it on your plants. You can also spray chamomile tea on baby plants to help prevent ‘damping off’ (a fungal disease).
- Any prunings of chamomile should be added to your compost or left to rot on your soil where it can release it’s minerals for other plants to take advantage of.
roman versus german
- Roman chamomile (chamaemelum nobile or anthemis nobilis) is a lower growing more bitter tasting herb which makes a nice groundcover. There is even one type that is used as a lawn and produces no flowers at all (the ‘treneague’ variety).
- German chamomile (matricaria recutita) is a taller herb and is the one more commonly used for tea.
chamomile tips and facts
- you can grow chamomile from seed in the spring
- you can dig up and existing plant and break it in two to get two plants
- the different varieties look similar when small, check the label in the nursery!
- some people can get dermatitis (a skin condition) from contact with the plant (if you are sensitive to other daisy-type plants beware)
- you can use chamomile flowers dried or fresh
- of course, as with any herb, if you take it in excess it will not be good for you and if you have a medical condition you might want to check first with a health care practitioner before taking it.