Gardening

Matricaria Recutita, German Chamomile: Make Your Own Chamomile Tea

Matricaria Recutita

Photo Compliments of Eran Finkle

Matricaria recutita, German chamomile, or sweet false chamomile, is an annual that is commonly grown in herb gardens for the harvest of its flowers.  German chamomile is principally used to make chamomile tea which is a mild sedative herbal drink recommended for a large number of applications including: calming nerves, relaxing tense muscles, alleviating stress, dispelling insomnia, and treating indigestion.

Matricaria recutita typically grows to a height of 12 to 24 inches and to a width of 12 inches on stems clad with aromatic but bitter tasting double pinnate leaves (3 inches in length).  Showy daisy-like flowers bloom summer to fall.  Each flower features 10 to 20 petal-like white rays surrounding a showy bright yellow domed center disk of tubular yellow florets.

Chamomile Tea

For herbal use, harvest flowers when they fully open. Flowers may be used fresh off the plant or dried and stored in airtight.  German chamomile is used in most commercially marketed packages of chamomile tea rather than Roman chamomile

How To Make Your Matricaria Recutita, German Chamomile Thrive

German  chamomile thrives when it is grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun; it will also perform well in light sandy soils.

General Matricaria Recutita, German Chamomile Information

Pests and Diseases

This is a very robust plant and for the most part will not be affected by pests. It is often recommended as a companion plant in the vegetable garden as its strong scent often keeps pests away.  A chamomile plant can be weakened by lack of water, or other issues and you will then see it attacked by aphids, mealybugs, or thrips.

Propagation

Plant seeds directly in the garden shortly before last spring frost date (flowers will appear in mid- summer with continued flowering to frost).  If you desire earlier flowers, start seed indoors in small pots about 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost and moved outside after the last frost.  Plants will typically remain in the garden from year to year by self-seeding.

Garden Uses

Uses for this herb beyond tea include: addition to cream cheese, fruit preparations and salads, and in creams, as a treatment of minor inflammations, wounds or irritations of mouth and gums.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Common Name: German chamomile
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 2 to 8
  • Height: 12 to 24 inches
  • Width: 9 to 12 inches
  • Bloom Time: June to August
  • Bloom Description: White rays with yellow center disk
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Water: Dry to medium
  • Maintenance: Low (this is a really robust plant)

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32 Comments

  1. The small craft brewery my partner works for makes chamomile beer – it’s one of their most popular. So I guess it’s good for drinks other than tea too!

  2. I know I’ve had chamomile tea in the past, although I’d struggle to tell you when. I am also rather interested in the chamomile beer that Haylee mentioned in her comment.
    Bun Karyudo recently posted..How to Handle ClumsinessMy Profile

  3. Give me coffee or give me death. But I’ll drink chamomile beer

  4. Such pretty flowers and great-tasting tea!

  5. My daughters favorite tea.

  6. Great information. A favorite of mine for relaxing. If you plant seeds early and grow indoors a mild solution of the tea will also fight damping off. An all around great plant.

  7. I love the flowers but the tea I’ve not yet developed a taste. That’s really too bad considering its lovely benefits.

  8. Here in Alberta we have a plant called Scentless Chamomile. It is on the invasive species list. My neighbour was told by a County Inspector that she had to remove it from her front garden. She pointed out that her plant was a Shasta Daisy. You would think an inspector would know the difference!

  9. I learned to drink chamomile tea in Mexico, where it’s called manzanilla. I drank it to deal with upsets in the digestive system.
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  10. A pretty, useful herb! Chamomile tea is a favorite.

  11. Chamomile is grown in my garden, but I never tried to make tea with it. Might be the time to try now.
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  12. I used it on my eyelids 🙂

  13. Very nice to get to know the chamomile plant, Charlie. I like chamomile tea – in small doses because tea in caffeine makes me jittery – and it is a great wind-down, calming drink. Nice to hear that it is a robust plant – it is a strong flower in many ways in terms of healing and surviving.

    • Mabel I love reading your posts and appreciate the time you spend to share your experiences…Yes I love getting mint, lemon balm, rosemary, and chamomile from my garden and making tea. The whole ritual is such a calming experience for me.

  14. I haven’t had chamomile tea in a long time. My mother used to make it for me whenever I had a stomach ache. I may have to grow some next summer.
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  15. In Sweden we use camomile tea when we have caught a cold – or when we want to avoid that. I love the taste and the smell of it. My grandmother had camomile plants in her garden.
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  16. I like to include these in my summer pots, beautiful and useful!
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