How To Grow German Chamomile
To grow German chamomile, you grow an erect annual, with small, daisy-like flowers, that serves as a positive companion to many plants. German chamomile is used to make chamomile tea and possesses a number of medicinal qualities. Chamomile plant companions can also benefit from the aphid and mite eating hoverflies, ladybugs and other beneficial insects that chamomile attracts; and you will benefit from its mosquito deterring scent.
German Chamomile seeds are one of the few seeds that need light to germinate, so starting them by seed is a delicate process.
To Grow German Chamomile, it is best to plant outdoors in August by broadcasting the seed and mixing very lightly with the soil. Alternatively, they can be started indoors in propagation flats in March and transplanted outdoors after a hardening off period. In most cases, direct planting in the garden after all chance of frost has passed are successful, as well. Once they are firmly established, German Chamomile is extremely hardy.
It’s not recommended to grow German chamomile in containers, Chamomile usually grows to a height of 20 to 30 inches (50 – 70cm).
Preferred pH Range
Chamomile will grow in a relatively wide pH range between 5.6 (acidic) and 7.5 (neutral).
Seed Germination Period
Chamomile seeds will germinate in soil in approximately 7 to 14 days, but can germinate in as few as 4 or 5 days in dedicated propagation media such as Oasis Rootcubes, Rapid Rooters, or Grodan Stonewool.
Companion Planting with Chamomile
By companion planting with chamomile, its natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties can help plants prone to fungus, mildew, mold, blight and other common plant ailments.
Annuals susceptible to fungal problems, such as zinnias, petunias, snapdragons and verbena, as well as blight prone vegetables, like tomatoes and potatoes, can all benefit by having chamomile as their neighbor. Also, plant chamomile as a companion to perennials like: Phlox, Bleeding heart, Delphiniums, Roses, Lilac and dogwood.
Additional Chamomile Companions
Besides its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal benefits, chamomile improves the growth and flavor of many plants. Farmers have long used chamomile as a companion plant to apple and other fruit trees. Vegetable companions include: Cabbage, Onions, Beans, Cucumbers, Broccoli, Kale, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower,and Kohlrabi.
In the herb garden, chamomile pairs well with mint and basil, and is said to improve their taste and scent.
Chamomile should be kept trimmed back so it stays full and healthy and does not get leggy and scraggly. While saving some chamomile clippings for tea, remember to leave some in the garden as a calcium, magnesium and potassium boost for chamomile plant companions and to sow more chamomile seed. You can also spread clippings around any struggling plant to restore its vitality.