Growing and Saving the Seed Of Chamomile


Latin name Matricaria chamomilla is an annual member of the Asteraceae family. The flowers are typically dried and used as a medicinal tea and as a warming and relaxing herb. The plants are great to attract beneficial wasps.


 

HISTORY

This lovely herb has been used since ancient Egypt, where it was first mentioned as a cure for fever, and its essence used as the main ingredient in embalming oil for preserving deceased pharaohs. The word "chamomile" comes from the ancient Greek Chamomaela, and means "ground apple." Pliny the Elder mentions the similarity of the smell of the chamomile flower to the apple blossom. The Romans used chamomile to flavor drinks and in incense, as well as a medicinal herb.


USES

  • Culinary
  • Makes a relaxing tea
  • Companion plant in the vegetable garden
  • The flower attracts beneficial wasps

 

 


 

  • Seeds germinate in 10-14 days.
  • Surface sow in place in early spring or transplant out after last frost.
  • Keep moist until germinated.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 68-85 F.

 

  • Plants will grow in full sun or partial shade, and like well-drained soil, not too rich and on the dry side.
  • Grows best in cool conditions.
  • Cutting back plants immediately after blooming encourages re-blooming.
  • Readily self sows.
  • Chamomile is drought tolerant and only needs to be watered in times of prolonged drought.

PESTS/SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

  • Not generally affected by many pests and is often recommended as a companion plant in the vegetable garden because its strong scent often keeps pests away.

 

  • Allow the flower heads to mostly dry on the stem, then remove and spread out to finish drying in a protected location out of direct sunlight.
  • Thresh the heads to remove the seed, and store it in a cool dry place.