Intro: Chamomile is a beautiful little white-petaled flower that can be dried and made into a fruity-tasting herbal tea. If you are growing chamomile in your balcony garden to make tea, get the German chamomile variety and not Roman chamomile. This container plant can is usually only about 9 inches tall, but it can grow to 2 feet, and it spreads up to 2 feet across. Chamomile flowers look like dasiies and are about 1 inch in diameter.
Chamomile is often planted as a ground cover in gardens. The low-growing Roman chamomile will do well in companion plantings around the edges of a large plant container. Because German chamomile grows taller, it may do better on its own in a large plant container. These attractive, fragrant flowers will attract bees, wild birds and other wildlife to your balcony garden.
Scientific Name: Matricaria recutita (also called Matricariachamomilla)
Plant Type: German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is an annual flower, while Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) is a perennial flower
Light: Full sun to part shade
Water: Keep the potting soil moist but never soggy. Sandy, well-draining soil is best for chamomile.
Zone: The chamomile plant doesn’t do well if temperatures reach 100 degrees. Provide shade or bring their container into an indoor garden if summers are hot.
Fertilizer: Fertilize your chamomile plant once a month with slow-release fertilizer. Chamomile does well without supplemental fertilization.
Propagation: Propagate the chamomile plant by collecting seeds. Leave several flower heads on the plant so they can produce seeds. Plant the chamomile seeds outdoors in the balcony garden (they need light to germinate) after the last frost. Chamomile seeds germinate in one to two weeks. You can also take cuttings from another chamomile plant. Cut at least 3 to 5 inches of stem tips.
Misc. Info: Harvest the entire chamomile flower head once it blooms and dry it to make tea. Harvesting (deadheading) the chamomile plant's flowers the day they bloom will provide the best-flavored tea, and it will promote more blooms.
Chamomile is a relaxing tea that may help you sleep. It also does wonders for upset stomachs, helps with irritable bowel syndrome, and it can reduce menstrual cramp pain. Research also suggests that it may lower cholesterol. To ingest all of the beneficial oils, steep the tea in a covered cup for 10 minutes.
You can also use chamomile flowers in a hot bath.
Chamomile grows so well in open fields that farmers often look at this plant as a pest and a weed.