The Ultimate Guide to Growing and Caring for Chamomile Plants
Are you looking for a plant that is easy to grow, smells amazing, and has numerous health benefits? Look no further than the chamomile plant! This daisy-like flower is popular in herbal medicine and tea because of its calming properties. But before you start brewing your own chamomile tea, let’s learn about how to grow and care for this beautiful plant.
Types of Chamomile Plants
There are two main types of chamomile plants: German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). German chamomile grows up to 3 feet tall with white petals surrounding a yellow center. Roman chamomile grows up to 6 inches tall with smaller white petals.
Chamomile plants thrive in cool weather but can tolerate some heat. They prefer well-draining soil with a pH between 5.6-7.5. The plants require at least six hours of sunlight per day.
- Planting: Sow seeds or seedlings directly into the garden bed after the last frost date in your area. Space them 8-10 inches apart.
- Watering: Water regularly but do not overwater as this can cause root rot.
- Fertilizing: Use compost or organic fertilizer before planting; avoid using chemical fertilizers as they can harm beneficial insects such as bees that pollinate the flowers.
- Pests/Diseases: Chamomiles are generally disease-free but may attract aphids or leafhoppers; use insecticidal soap to treat the infestation.
Harvesting and Using Chamomile
The best time to harvest chamomile flowers is in the morning after the dew dries out. Pick only fully open flowers and leave some on the plant for pollination. Dry the flowers in a cool, dark place for a week or until they are completely dry. Store them in an air-tight container away from sunlight.
- Tea: Steep 1-2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers per cup of hot water for 3-5 minutes; add honey or lemon if desired.
- Skin Care: Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated skin; add dried chamomile flowers to your bath or make a toner by steeping them in apple cider vinegar for a week.
- Hair Care: Rinse your hair with cooled chamomile tea after shampooing to add shine and condition your hair.
Tips for Growing Healthy Chamomiles
To ensure that your chamomiles stay healthy, keep these tips in mind:
- Pick Flowers Regularly: Regular picking encourages new growth and more blooms.
- Cut Back After Flowering Season: Trim back the plants after blooming season to prevent self-seeding and encourage bushier growth next year.
“Cham-o-mile…cham-o-meal…I don’t know how you say it but I sure love this plant!” – Garden Blogger Humor
Growing chamomiles is easy, rewarding, and beneficial to both you and the environment. With a little bit of care, you can enjoy the beautiful blooms and soothing properties of this amazing plant for years to come.