German chamomile is cherry like daisy. It is a little flowering herb which is useful for many aliments and it is very easy to grow German chamomile.Wild variety of chamomile does not require too much of care and attention. It is often recommended as a companion plant to grow in vegetable garden as its strong aroma keeps pests away. One can easily grow German chamomile at home,since it is cheap and does not bring any baggage with itself.
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Planting German chamomile Divisions or Seeds
It is easier to grow German chamomile herb in your garden from plants or divisions, than from seeds.
Propagating German chamomile through Seeds
German chamomile can be grown from seeds in any type of container which is 2–3 inches deep and has a drainage hole. Trays that are made for seed starting can also be used. The process of seed germination can be faster by covering the pots with plastic wrap or a plastic that fits over the seed starting tray.
You can also sprinkle handful of seeds on top of the soil in your garden without worrying about placements as you can convert them into neat rows later. Then cover these seeds gently with soil by your hand as these seeds need light to germinate. These seeds will germinate in 6-14 days.
Propagating German chamomile through Plant Divisions
It is easier to establish German chamomile in your garden from plant divisions than from seeds usually during spring. You can plant young chamomile plants and seedlings rather than starting them from seeds. You have to dig a hole in the selected location for each young plant, large enough to accommodate the root ball. Then carefully remove the plant from its pot or tray and gently loosen the root ball with your hand to encourage root development. Now you can place the top of the root ball at a deep level in the surrounding soil. Fill in the hole with the root ball, well established and firm.Press down the soil firmly with your hand.
Water the soil thoroughly so that a puddle is established in the saucer you have created. This will settle the plant in, drive all the air pockets out and establish a firm root-to-soil contact.
Planting Location to Grow German chamomile
German chamomile requires a sunny, warm spot as it requires lot of sun. So you should prepare the selected location by digging the soil upto a particular depth of 8 inches and level it with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones from it.
Dig over the planting area and incorporate lots of organic matter such as compost or planting compost, especially if the soil is heavy clay or light, well drained sandy soil. You can also mix in more organic matter with the excavated soil and fill in the planting hole. Apply general granular plant food (water retaining granules) over the soil around the plants and water the plant adequately.
Planting Time to grow German chamomile
You can sow German chamomile seeds or plant the divisions in late spring or summer to avoid threat of frost and the temperature should be between 18°C to 29°C.
You can plant chamomile in the middle of May or June if you live in United States and Europe. But you can start early depending upon the weather, especially the warmer states of U.S.A. The last frost in southern hemisphere including places like Sydney and Australia occurs during early August, so chamomile can be planted in this month.
Grow German chamomile in Pots
Seedlings of German chamomile when large enough, can be planted into 7.5 to 10 cm pots. You can harden the soil by growing german chamomile in cooler conditions for 10-14 days before planting out, 15-30 cm apart on the ground of your garden. Since Each plant has unique seed starting and considerable amount of light requirements, so a sunny south facing window will be best.
Spacing to Grow German chamomile
You can transplant the seedlings or plant young German chamomile plant in the ground of your garden about 15-30 cm apart as it spreads 2 feet across the ground. Then you need to thin the young plants which are 5 cm tall. The seedlings or young plants should be planted 8 inches deep in the ground.
How to Take Care of German chamomile ?
Chamomile is often planted as a ground cover in gardens. As German chamomile grows taller, it may do better on its own in a large plant container also. Plant chamomile in a well-drained garden bed that receives full sunlight.
In autumn, tidy up the perennial plants and cut down stems to ground level after they have died back.
The seedlings and young chamomile plants require frequent watering, so water them daily until you see flowers on you plants. When they get fully mature, water them whenever necessary, to keep the soil or compost moist during spring and summer, as this will prolong flowering.
You can reduce watering in case of heavy rains. The plant is hardy so it does well once it is fully grown even with less water, so you can soak the plants whenever required.
- You need to keep weeds away from stealing the plants nutrients so make sure that the chamomile garden stays free of nasty weeds. You don’t want them to choke off your chamomile , give the garden a weekly checkup to remove these invaders.
- These invaders also block the much needed sunlight and soak up the extra water, so you have to be careful and target the weeds when young as at that time they are easier to remove.
- You should grasp the weed firmly with steady pressure and try to pull up as much roots as possible. A spade or rooting tool can be used as well. German chamomile may attract bees and butterflies, it is usually pest free so you need to worry about pesticides.
Protecting German chamomile during Winter
You can cover these plants with evergreen boughs to protect them during winter. Chamomile plants can survive outside during winter, but they need little bit of protection from dry and harsh winds. One should lay several evergreen boughs over the plants at the onset of cold season.
How to Harvest Your German chamomile ?
German chamomile flowers can become invasive if you are not careful. Chamomile, like many herbs and greens, enjoy being cut. It is what they are meant for and they will continue to come back and bloom throughout the summer. So by September you should prepare to have a nice stockpile of dried flowers you can store in an airtight jar for teas. Deadhead faded flowers regularly or harvest flowers before they fade to encourage more blooms to be produced.
Gathering of German chamomile
- First you need to trim up your German chamomile flowers and make sure you get some stem as well, it makes drying the plant easier.
- Then gather your flowers in a bunch.
- Spread them out somewhere warm and well ventilated to thoroughly dry them out of sunlight, indoors is usually the best option.
- With kitchen twine, tie these flowers off, leaving a long tail for hanging. Your plats will look a little bare but they will start flowering in no time, and sometimes even come back better than before.
Covering the Bundles
Take a paper bag, and trim off its top about 1-2 inches if needed. You just need the bag to cover the main flower section. Poke large holes all over the bag. This will allow proper air circulation. The bag will prevent dust and dirt from landing on your flowers and protect them from bumps or smashing, as well as catch petals as and when they dry.
Hanging Your Herb
Hang the dry german chamomile flowers in a cool, dry place where are left undisturbed. Loosely tie a large rubber band around the bag to keep it in place,
You need to check your chamomile flowers on regular intervals. When they become brittle, the flowers are ready to store. Spread out a sheet of wax paper and place your chamomile flower bundles on it. Crumble the flowers out of the bag after that. Now your chamomile is ready to be stored. Keep them in air tight jars to enjoy it throughout the year.