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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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)
How to Harvest and Dry a Small Batch of German Chamomile & Repurposing a Splatter Screen