Growing chamomile can be an incredibly easy task with the correct information and growing conditions. The plant is very tough and can tolerate nearly any climate with some care. Two important factors that can affect the success of chamomile plants are the planting location and the type of soil, although it is relatively tolerant of most other factors. Chamomile also is a plant that can benefit greatly from deadheading and makes an excellent companion plant because of its natural properties that repel many insects. With proper care, growing chamomile one year can lead to a continuous patch of the flowers, because they will self-sow each season for many years.
The soil is an important aspect for growing chamomile. The plant enjoys light soil, so adding sand to clay soils can help it grow. The ground also should be well drained so moisture will not rot the roots. When first being planted, the soil should be well fertilized to help give the chamomile a good start when growing.
The planting location should be an area that receives as much sun as possible. In hot zones, the plants might benefit from some shade, but they really are very resilient and can tolerate most conditions outside extreme, extended cold or heat. A lack of proper sun can cause the plant to become leggy and might lead it not to produce as many blooms as desired. When planting chamomile near other plants, one should be certain that it will not be overshadowed by the companion plants.
The plant can be started from seed outdoors or in pots indoors. Chamomile seeds have a relatively low germination rate, so starting indoors might be safer at times, especially if a particular planting arrangement is desired, just to ensure that viable plants are in the correct positions. If growing chamomile as a patch in a garden, then the seeds can be spread out in the fall on the ground and they will overwinter and grow the next spring. Chamomile seeds require sunlight to germinate, so it is important not to actually plant them, but instead just to sow them on the surface of the soil.
Once the plants are growing and have started to bloom, deadheading will help to promote new blooms. Trimming overly aggressive growth also can keep the plant healthy and bushy, allowing it to focus more on producing flowers over foliage. When cutting flowers for use in teas or other concoctions, they should be taken in the morning before the sun has started to draw out some of the flower’s essence.
In a vegetable garden, some pest problems can be handled by growing chamomile near problem plants. In particular, it is known to repel some flying insects and cucumber beetles. While the plant will attract aphids, they can be handled with a mild solution of dishwashing soap and water. At the end of the growing season, if some flowers are left to go to seed, the plant will self-sow and chamomile will grow in the same area the next spring.