The flowers of real chamomile are suitable for seasoning soups and making teas. The young leaves and shoots, on the other hand, have a slightly tart and somewhat sweet taste. The roots neither taste good nor do they have good nutritional value. The spread occurs through humans or through animals. The real chamomile can now be found all over Europe and also in North America and Australia. It originally comes from southern and eastern Europe.

How do you recognize real chamomile?

There are some plants that look very similar to real chamomile. So if you want to be sure that it is the real medicinal plant, you have to look at it carefully.


  • Strong, aromatic chamomile scent
  • 15 to 50 cm high, stems mostly upright, somewhat slack and richly branched.
  • Flowering period May to September
  • At the end of flowering the white ray-florets are turned back (hang down)
  • The flower base of the real chamomile is not smooth and round, but rather conical-cone-shaped and quite typical, hollow on the inside. In the dog chamomile, which is very similar, the flower base is filled.
  • The leaves are divided into fine linear sections. Those of the dog chamomile are slightly toothed.

Cultivation of real chamomile

Chamomile is grown by sowing. You have to know that there are different seeds depending on where they come from. It’s about ingredients in the plant’s essential oil. For the hobby gardener, however, this is probably of secondary importance. You can buy seeds or use seeds collected from nature. The seeds retain their ability to germinate for up to 3 years in storage, and even up to 15 years in the soil.
If you like, you can also prefer real chamomile in containers. Actually, that’s unnecessary.

Time of sowing

The point in time affects the yield. The largest harvest is achieved by starting the sowing in autumn, i.e. from the end of August to the beginning of September. If you start earlier, it can lead to premature shooting and thus in turn to the risk of wintering. In spring cultivation, the yields are usually significantly lower. However, the individual flowers are larger, which is also an advantage. Removing weeds is important when growing.


In nature you can see chamomile in the most barren places. However, it is usually fully in the sun. The real chamomile does not place particularly high demands on the location in the garden either. Planting on the border is ideal. The real chamomile collects lime from the earth and passes it on to neighboring plants. If you don’t use a separate bed, you put them next to plants that need or at least like lime. These are, for example, types of cabbage, leeks, potatoes, radishes and celery.

  • Warm and moderately humid
  • Sunny location
  • A protected place is favorable
  • You can grow real chamomile in the same bed or tub for several years in a row.

Plant substrate

Here, too, you have to look at the natural ground again. It is usually not of the best quality. That can be improved a bit in the garden. It is important that the substrate is not too wet. Permanently wet feet are not tolerated. It can’t be too angry either.

  • Neutral to alkaline soils
  • Sandy loam soils
  • Slightly acidic to alkaline soil
  • If the soil is too acidic, there is a risk that the plant will absorb heavy metals such as cadmium, which is stored in the stems, but can also reach the flowers.
  • Black earth or auboils
  • Even on nutrient-poor soils


The preparation of the sowing area is important for sowing. The earth must be fine crumbly and free from weeds. It is best to create the surfaces in grooves. This prevents the wind from drifting.

  • Prepare the seed bed well
  • Enrich the soil with compost.
  • Row spacing – 20 to 35 cm
  • Do not cover with soil – light germs
  • It is recommended to press the earth. So the seeds cannot be blown away.
  • Germination takes about a week.

Care of real chamomile

Caring for real chamomile is straightforward. When sowing in spring, the plant is pulled out of the ground after harvest or it is left with a few more flowers on it so that seeds can be harvested. Watering and fertilizing are not a problem. If sown in autumn, the young plants must be covered before winter. The rosettes that have formed by then usually survive the winter without any problems if they have protection. It gets difficult in spring. If the plant grows loose and there is another frost, that is very unfavorable.

Water and fertilize

Chamomile grows naturally on relatively nutrient-poor and dry soils. You shouldn’t pamper the plants in the garden either. You only have to water moderately outdoors. Here dry soil is much better than too moist. Most failed attempts at growing have to do with too much moisture. But if the chamomile is grown in containers, it needs significantly more water.

  • It is best to water with a fine mist until the plants are stable and old enough.
  • Do not rinse!
  • Not many nutrients are needed.
  • Use nitrogen very sparingly, otherwise the herb will shoot excessively.
  • Use phosphorus in about the same amount, rather sparingly.
  • Potassium is important for abundant flowering.
  • In the case of nutrient-rich soils, fertilization can be dispensed with.

To cut

You only have to cut for autumn sowing. The pruning is carried out with the end of winter. As soon as the protection has been removed, the cut is made, slightly spherical.


The real chamomile is hardy in the rosette stage. However, the plant is sensitive to frost when it sprouts in spring. Significantly fewer flowers are formed. So it is best to protect the plant base with a layer of straw.

Diseases and pests

There are no diseases or pests that threaten the entire harvest, but there are still enough to be expected.

  • Downy mildew on the leaf and stem
  • Alternaria especially on the leaf – leaf spots caused by a mold
  • Fusarium specially at the root – asphyxia
  • Chamomile smooth beetle – feeds on flower heads
  • Various aphids, bugs, weevils and gloss beetles

Real chamomile harvest

Chamomile is harvested by machine when around two thirds of the flowers have fully bloomed. The flowers can be harvested individually in the home garden. Of course, it is not worth cutting two flowers every day. You wait until it’s worth it. New flower heads are always forming. The more you cut, the more comes up. The further the flowering progresses, the lower the content of essential oils. Too late a harvest can mean the disintegration of the flower heads. The best time to pick is noon. It has to be dry and warm, otherwise the heads won’t open fully. Then the flower heads contain most of the essential oil.
If you want to make tea from real chamomile, you can also use the leaves and stems.

Processing of the flowers

When drying, it is important to be quick, otherwise the ingredients can change. In addition, the temperature influences the content of the ingredients. You count on at least 4 ml of essential oil per kg of dried flowers. It’s a hell of a job.

  • Start drying no later than two hours after picking the harvest.
  • At 35 to 45 ° C
  • It is important that the flower base is properly dry
  • You don’t have to use the oven. There’s another way.
  • Looking for a windless and warm place, but not directly in the sun.
  • Cover a tray or a table with newspaper and spread the flowers loosely on it. Do not stack too high on top of each other!
  • After one to two days, depending on the weather and the density of the covering, the flowers are dry.
  • You can of course also use a dry shed or attic.

The real chamomile is an extremely fascinating plant. Those who like to work with natural products should have a few plants in their garden. The flowers can be made into creams, tea or tinctures. I also use them to make soap. Cultivation is simple and straightforward. It’s always good to have some dried chamomile flowers around the house. You can clear the skin with it, inhale if you have a cold, they are even good to use in bath water. The real chamomile, one of the most versatile plants that should not be missing in any garden. In addition to its usefulness, it also looks good, especially when numerous plants are close together.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *