If you’re a super-conscientious gardener, learning how to grow chamomile might require a change in thought processes. The great thing about this plant is that you do not need to ‘improve’ your soil. In fact, this plant is much happier in poor, sandy soil, and will not thrive in the richer soils required for many other herbs and flowers.
This is why you will find it growing happily along the edges of weedy driveways, abandoned parking lots and the like, although it doesn’t do well with encroaching grass and weeds. It is a little workhorse and performs best in dismal surroundings.
If you are a conscientious gardener, and have amended all your soil with compost, lime, etc, and would like to have a patch of chamomile, you will need to ‘downgrade’ your soil, and control your urge to ‘help’ your plants. They don’t need or want it.
Get some sandy soil from by a river, or buy a bag cheaply at your hardware store, and dig it into a corner somewhere, plant your seedlings or seeds, and let it go. Don’t add in compost, or fertilizers of any kind.
If you are planting in a pot get the plainest plant dirt you can, without fertilizers, get some sand and mix in, and give this plant a go in a sunny window. It is quite drought tolerant as well, once established, so that being a bit dried out does not effect it like more tender plants. In other words if you forget to water it on a hot sunny day, chances are it will be just fine. Joyous even.
Uses of Chamomile
Chamomile has been used for centuries as a mild, soothing tea, and is reported to help stomach upset, and is widely used in cosmetics and beauty treatments.
Disclaimer: As always, use herbs of any kind only after thorough research. Consulting with your doctor on any conflicting medications. Even the humble chamomile has been proven to have abortive properties, anti-coagulant properties, and can interact with antibiotics, anxiety medications and so on. You can read more here.
Drying Chamomile Flowers
Snip the flowers off with scissors, and spread on cookie sheets, then lay in a warm, airy, but an out-of-the-sun place to dry.
Putting them in a slightly warmed oven with the door propped open a couple of inches. This provides a bit of heat and air circulation to finish drying this lovely herb.
Types of Chamomile
German, or wild chamomile is the commonly used type we see and use in teabags or growing in the driveway.
English, or garden chamomile is also known as Roman chamomile. (1) Chamomile has been used for many things for thousands of years, and one of the biggest uses is in cosmetics. It can be used as a gentle cream for a variety of skin issues and can be very soothing.