Roman Chamomile is a perennial shrub that producers aromatic daisy like flowers and grows along the ground.
Growing – Chamomile likes to grow in a sunny position or afternoon shade in soil with good drainage.
Care – Fertiliser is not generally required and water is only required when dry.
Pruning – Chamomile is high in nutrients and can be chopped and dropped to add mulch in the garden or used in compost.
Companion Planting – Chamomile deters flies and mosquitoes and will stimulate the growth of plants nearby. Planted near tomatoes and near apple trees and other fruit trees to prevent fungal infections. Chamomile’s also helps cucumbers by attracting beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies. When grown near herbs like basil, rosemary, and mint Chamomile will help to increase their oil production.
Pests and Diseases – Very few insects will affect Chamomile. Aphids are one but can be sprayed off with a hose, be mindful of using a pesticide, especially if you intend to harvest and use the flowers. Chamomile tea can also be used as an organic fertilizer for plants.
Harvest – Flowers are harvested in Summer and dried. They are best dried inside by easily spreading them on a flat surface inside. They can also be dried in the oven (100 degrees for 2-3 hours) or in a dehydrator. Once dried they can be placed in a sealed container for up to twelve months.
Propagation – Chamomile will self sow, however not in very hot or wet weather. It can be grown from seed, direct in the garden in Autumn or Spring. You can expect germination 7-14 days after.
Health Benefits – Chamomile is a medicinal plant that is said to be an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-allergenic. It is used as a cream or ointment to soothe irritated skin (ulcers, wounds, rashes or burns) and flowers can be brewed as a tea to colour fabric, a leave in conditioning tonic for your hair.
Eating – When making a soothing evening cup of tea to drink, place 1-2 teaspoons of dried flowers per cup is sufficient and add some Honey for sweetness if desired. They can also be used fresh however you would need a tablespoon of flowers. Bring water to the boil, add dried flowers, steep for five minutes or so and strain before drinking. Should not be consumed if pregnant.