Chamomile is a medicinal plant that is characterized by its small white flowers similar to those of a daisy, 1-2 cm in diameter. The flowers can be dried and become an herbal tea with a fruity flavor. Its scientific name is Matricaria recutita or Matricaria chamomilla. Let’s discover how to grow chamomile indoors.
There are different varieties of chamomile. The German variety is used to make tea. It is easy to develop in containers or pots. Its approximate height is 20-25 cm. It is characterized by being an annual flower. The Roman variety, of perennial growth, is often planted as a vegetation cover for gardens or to cover the edges of pots or cultivation beds. Another advantage of chamomile is that it attracts bees, birds, and other insects for its aromatic flowers.
How to grow chamomile indoors
The manzanilla is a highly recommended herb for medicinal purposes. It is characterized by having properties: disinfectants, digestives, and sedatives. We teach you to grow your chamomile plant in a pot successfully.
- Start the crop by planting seeds in the middle of summer. Sprinkle a few on the soil of a pot and cover them with a thin layer of vermiculite (mineral formed by silicates).
- After two weeks, the seeds will have germinated, choose the strongest bud, and eliminate the weakest.
- Transplant to a pot of at least 40 centimeters in diameter. Avoid placing chamomile near other pots so that they do not disperse.
- Use a loose soil that allows good drainage. Prepare the mixture of two parts of black earth with some coarse sand.
- Place the pot in the garden or indoors. Choose a site that receives plenty of sunlight but without receiving the sun’s rays directly on the plant.
- Watering must be daily to maintain an optimum level of moisture in the substrate.
- When most of the flowers have been opened, it will be the right time to harvest.
- Collect only flowers that are fully open, trying not to cut leaves and stems.
- Let the flowers dry on paper in a cool, dark place where the air runs.
When you finish the harvest of the flowers, perform a pruning to give new life to the plant. Cut the tips of the stems that carried the flowers.
We must get a seedbed or pot with a soil that has good drainage. We must avoid sandy soils without nutrients, or to solve it, apply a good amount of compost. The depth of the seed is 3 times its size, then cover with mixture without compressing it. Water immediately after sowing and keep moisture.
The transplant will be performed when our seedlings have the second pair of true leaves, preferably in the afternoon: German chamomile 25 cm and Roman chamomile 50 cm between each plant. The roots are delicate. It is advisable to remove the seedlings from the seedbed with as much soil as possible. If their roots are compressed or entangled, separate them carefully. Make holes in the ground and apply compost before transplanting.
When placing the seedling in soil, cover until the beginning of the first leaves and slightly compress the soil around to stabilize the plant. Make a circle or snap with your finger around the plant and water it without wetting the leaves.
Chamomile is a plant that develops in full sun or partial shade. We should keep the soil moist, never soaked, and well-drained. If the temperature is higher than 35 ° C it can damage our plants, so we must protect it with shade mesh or move our pots to a protected place.
This plant demands a lot of nutrients, so it is preferable to apply compost once a month for good growth. It is advisable to loosen the soil around the plant without harming the roots and watering to prevent moisture.
Chamomile is a hardy plant and is not susceptible to many pests and diseases. However, check weekly for aphids, thrips, or mealybugs. To remove aphids, apply water with some biodegradable soap in the afternoon to avoid damage from the sun. The thrips cause small white spots on the leaves, and the mealybugs feed on the plant.
To encourage flowering, we must remove withered leaves and open flowers. For the German, annual variety (live one year) the flowers are collected at the end of the season or when frosts begin. The whole plant is uprooted and hung upside down to dry completely, The Roman variety, a perennial plant, plants are cut until they are about 5-10 cm tall when most of the flowers are completely open.
We can keep dried chamomile in airtight glass jars. It should store them in cupboards or cool spaces without direct sunlight.