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CHAMOMILE


  How To Grow Chamomile


PLANT TYPE: Perennial (Chamaemelum nobile), Annual (Matricaria recutita)
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Perennial (Chamaemelum nobile), Annual (Matricaria recutita)
ZONE / HARDINESS: 3 to 5 for perennial
MATURE PLANT SIZE: 9 inches high x varied width due to spreading
LIGHT: N/A
FLOWERING PERIOD: June to August
SOIL TYPE: Light, dry soil
pH RANGE: 7.0
KNOWN PESTS: None
KNOWN DISEASES: None


OVERVIEW:

Chamomile is a small, bushy herb that grows flat along the ground. Chamomile species grow throughout Europe, North Africa and are often found growing wild.

Chamomile is used for its anti-inflammatory and sedative properties. It is excellent for childhood ailments. Chamomile is also used for allergies, burns, anaemia, fevers, insomnia, indigestion and tootaches.

Seeds should be planted first in small containers, 1/8 inch deep. When the plants are big enough to handle, transplant to 6 inches apart. Prefers light, dry soil. Keep plants moist until established. Although it is an annual, it will re-seed itself. Flowers should be harvested on a clear morning before the sun has drawn the valuable scent from the blossoms. Using scissors, pick the opened heads carefully. Spread on paper in a cool, dry, airy place. After the heads have become papery, store them in an airtight jar.


PROPAGATION / SOWING:

Division, seeds, or cuttings. Seeds should be planted first in small containers, 1/8 inch deep. When the plants are big enough to handle, transplant to 6 inches apart.


COMPANION PLANTING:

Grow chamomile near onions, cabbages, and wheat. It is said to repel flying insects and increase crop yield. It is grown with peppermint plants to intensify the oil of the peppermint.


CARE & GROWING:

The tiny seeds should be planted in small containers. Transplant seedlings 6 inches apart when big enough to handle. Keep them moist until they are established. For a lawn of English chamomile, plant the herb and keep it well watered until it is established. As the plantlets begin to creep, top-dress lightly with fertilizer to encourage spreading and matting.


USAGE:

Aromatic, cosmetic, culinary, decorative, and medicinal.Dried leaves and flowers are used to scent potpourris. Chamomile also is used for soothing baths and skin lotions. It adds golden highlights to blonde hair. Fresh flower heads can decorate and flavor fresh salads. Dried leaves are used in tea and mixed with half mineral water for a refreshing beverage. The plant also can be used to make dye (buff, yellow, or gold). Lawns can be created using the low-growing English variety (Chamaemelum nobile), which reaches about 12 inches in height and creeps until it flowers. The taller German variety (Matricaria chamomile) reaches 1 to 2 feet in height and can be used for accent in beds or gardens. The plant is said to have some medicinal qualities.












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With Chamomile, the best flavor is obtained when the blooms are harvested just as the petals begin to curl downward. Either fresh or dried flowers may be used.






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