Chamomile – Anthemis tinctoria

Providing year-round interest. The ox-eye chamomile, also calledgolden marguerite, is the perfect plant for a mixed border in a hot and sunny area of the garden. In the winter the early growth also looks attractive, with its decorative rosettes of leaves.

ANNUAL CALENDAR

SPRING

March:

Lift clumps and divide the roots, to increase your stock of plants. Plant new stock elsewhere in the garden.

April-May:

Take cuttings and put in cold frame or unheated greenhouse. Mulch established plants.

SUMMER

June-August: and its varieties are in flower. Remove blooms as they die. After flowering, cut the stems down to just above ground level.

AUTUMN

September-October:

Plant out young plants from cuttings taken in spring in their flowering positions, to flower the next spring. Cut stems of established plants down to ground level, if you have not already done so.

WINTER

November-February:

Continue to plant, as long as the ground is not frozen. Propagate plants by dividing clumps. The rosettes of leaves on established plants remain green throughout the winter.

IMPORTANT

Take cuttings in spring, using newly emerging shoots. Put them in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse, in trays of light, sandy soil. When they have a good root system, move the plants to nursery beds.

In early autumn plant them out. You can also propagate by division in winter.

Lift clumps and use garden forks to tease apart the tangled mat of roots. Divide into pieces and replant them, putting new stock in another part of the garden.

The many varieties of chamomile are good value in the garden because they have an unusually long flowering period, from June through to August.

Chamomile produces a mass of golden-yellow flowers, a single bloom to a stem. The leaves are finely divided, with furry undersides. They are sweet smelling when crushed and new leaves give a green tuft through the winter.

Growing ox-eye chamomile

Like all anthemis species, ox-eye chamomile is easy to grow. It is very hardy and does well in most soils, as long as it has plenty of sunshine.

Choose a position in the middle of a sunny border and plant in groups. Space the plants about 45cm apart so they have room to form clumps.

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Chamomile in the border

Chamomile is best mixed with similarly ‘simple’ plants. It is very effective grown with the related artemisia, for example, Artemisia absinthium ‘Lam-brook Silver’. Like chamomile, this has feathery leaves, but they are silver in colour.

Yarrow is related to chamomile, too, and again has feathery leaves which are often pungent. Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’ has greyish-green foliage and golden flowers, packed into large, flat flower-heads. WINTER INTEREST

As soon as the plants have finished flowering in the summer, cut the stems right down to the ground. This encourages the plants to produce new growth before the onset of winter, forming rosettes of attractively crinkled leaves. These last through the winter and provide interest in the garden.

Chamomile

SITUATION

Chamomile needs a sunny site and does well in hot, dry parts of the garden. If the situation is very exposed, stake the plants with split bamboo canes or hazel twigs. Ideal for a border.

SOIL

Any well-drained garden soil suits chamomile, although it does best on light soils. It thrives in sandy soils near the coast.

CARE

Mulch around the plants in late spring, using well-rotted compost, manure or leaf-mould. Remove faded flowers. Cut stems down to ground level after flowering or in October.

PLANT HEALTH

Chamomile is not prone to pests and diseases. The clumps spread and may become overcrowded, producing fewer flowers.

When this happens, lift the clumps during their winter dormant period.

BUYING

Today, varieties are more often grown than the species itself. You can buy several varieties and also hybrids of another chamomile species, A These bloom for longer than the species and are ideal for a herbaceous or mixed border.

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