A perennial herb with two varieties of plants: German and English, sometimes called Roman. Plant in full sun or part shade, keeping the soil but never soggy. Sandy, well-drained soil is best. Provide shade during hot summers. Ground cover in gardens, 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 fragrant flowers will attract bees, wild birds and other wildlife to your balcony garden. Blooms beautiful white flower that can be dried and made into a fruity-tasting herbal tea. The oil is used in perfumery.
Chamomile is often spelt Camomile in Britain. The more common British spelling ‘camomile’, corresponding to the immediate French source, is the older in English, while the spelling ‘chamomile’ more accurately corresponds to the ultimate Latin and Greek source.
Chamaemelum nobile or Roman chamomile is often called True chamomile or English chamomile.
The name Chamomile derives, via French and Latin, from Greek chamaimēlon meaning ‘earth-apple’ – chamai meaning ‘on the ground’ and mēlon meaning ‘apple’, for their applelike scent.
Chamomile is nowadays correctly known as Chamaemelum nobile, but some books refer to its former name Anthemis nobilis. The genus name Anthemis is taken from the Greek anthemon meaning ‘flower’ for their profuse blooming.
The species name nobile simply means ‘notable’. It was considered the best chamomile for herbal use.
Roman Chamomile is a small, attractive, creeping plant with daisy-like flowers and aromatic, feathery, grey-green leaves which have a fresh apple scent when crushed and are commonly made into tea.
This perennial herb will only grow to about 25cm (10in) as it creeps along the ground and makes an excellent ground cover or creeper
The solitary flowers have white ray florets with a yellow disc standing proudly on the top of the stem. This is a plant which can make good ground cover if kept short and is ideal as a lawn substitute.
Chamomile lawns were once very popular in gardens, and are still to be found occasionally, while the New Forest has extensive natural chamomile lawns.
The recent upsurge in interest has led to a revival in old-style garden features. Chamomile lawns, often in raised beds, are amongst these. Sir Francis Drake may have played his famous game of bowls on a chamomile lawn, though presumably not one on a raised bed!
Since it does not grow to be very tall, Roman Chamomile is often used between stones in a garden. It can also be used together with Thymus serpyllium, creeping thyme to make a deliciously scented thyme and chamomile lawn.