How to Grow Chamaemelum — Chamomile

Chamaemelum nobile flowers
Chamaemelum nobile flowers

Chamaemelum — commonly called Chamomile — is commonly grown for its medicinal flowers and for its foliage which releases an apple-like fragrance when crushed. The leaves and flower heads can be dried; the leaves are used in potpourri, the flowerheads for herbal tea. 

Chamaemelum can be grown as an ornamental lawn for a courtyard or patio where foot traffic is not heavy. It can be used as edging at the front of a border or along a walkway or along the margins of a pond or water garden.

Chamaemelum flowers are daisy-like with yellow disk florets and white fray florets. Flowerheads should be harvested when fully open and dried as entire heads. The leave can harvested at any time.

Chamaemelum is a genus of one species. It is native to moist woodland in eastern North America.

Chamomile flowers

Get to Know Chamaemelum 

  • Plant type: Evergreen perennial 
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 4 to 10 
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 4
  • Height and width: 4-12 inches x 15 inches (10.1-30.5cm x 38.1cm) 
  • Growth rate: Fast to moderate
  • Form and habit: Spreading 
  • Foliage: Soft-textured, spreading 3-12 inch (7.6-30.5cm) mat of bright light green, Lacy, finely divided leaves; releases a lovely aroma when crushed underfoot 
  • Flowers: Daisylike flower heads with yellow centers and white ray florets, or “petals” 
  • Bloom time: Midsummer 
  • Uses: Great lawn alternative when mowed, between stepping stones and pavers or in bulb beds, edging, front of border, along walk-way, or at the margin of a pond or water garden. 
  • Garden companions: Lacy foliage is a good foil for coarser-textured perennials 
  • Common name: Chamomile 
  • Botanical name: Chamaemelum 
  • Family name: Asteraceae 
  • Origin: Grassy pastures and wasteland in Europe

Where to Plant Chamaemelum

  • Plant Chamaemelum in full sun.  
  • Plant Chamaemelum in light, well-drained, slightly acid, sandy soil; plants tolerate heavy soil. 
  • Chamaemelum are unsuitable where the summers are hot and muggy. 

When to Plant Chamaemelum 

  • Plant Chamaemelum seeds in early spring.  
chamomile tea
Cup of chamomile tea, made from Chalmaemelum leaves and flowers

Planting and Spacing Chamaemelum 

  • Space Chamaemelum 12 inches (30.5cm) apart.  
  • Where heavy foot traffic and wear will not be a problem, plant closely together to produce an ornamental lawn for a courtyard or patio.
  • To produce a lawn or seat, plant 5-6 inches (12-15cm) apart, and water freely until established.

How to Water and Feed Chamaemelum 

  • Give Chamaemelum moderate water; allow plants to dry down; tolerates drought. 
  • Feed Chamaemelum with an all-purpose organic fertilizer in spring. 

How to Care for Chamaemelum 

  • Trim or mow Chamaemelum in spring after they flower to a height of 3-4 inches (7.6-10.1cm), particularly if you use Chamaemelum as a lawn alternative. 
  • Cut Chamaemelum back regularly to encourage dense, compact growth; occasional rolling of lawns will help to maintain an even surface.

Chamaemelum Pests and Diseases 

  • Pests and diseases are infrequent.

Chamaemelum Propagation 

  • Propagate Chamaemelum from cuttings, or division in early spring. 
  • Use division for cultivars, which do not come true from seed.  

Chamaemelum Varieties to Grow 

  •  Chamaemelum nobile, Roman chamomile, Roman chamomile, formerly Anthemis nobilis, mat-forming 6-12 inch (15.2-30.5cm) tall plant that spreads to 1.5 feet (.5m). Bears threadlike, apple-scented leaves and .3-.5 inch (.8-1.3cm) wide daisies in summer on long stalks above the foliage.  
  • ‘Flore Pleno’ bears double white buttonlike blooms on 6 inch (15.2cm) plants.  
  • ‘Treneague’ is a nonflowering variety that needs no mowing. It’s a compact 4 inch (10.2cm) tall cultivar with especially aromatic leaves. It does not withstand more than rare foot traffic when planted as a lawn substitute, but it makes an aromatic carpet between steppingstones. Zones 6 to 9.  

How to Grow Carex — Sedge

Sea Oats

How to Grow Chasmanthium — Wild Oats, Sea Oats