Chamomile is a lovely herb that produces dainty, daisy-like blooms throughout much of the growing season. Growing chamomile in containers is definitely possible and, in fact, works like a charm if you’re worried that chamomile, a generous self-seeder, may be too rambunctious in the garden. Read on to learn more about growing chamomile in a pot.
Note: This article pertains primarily to Roman chamomile (Matricaria recutita), a perennial that works beautifully as container-grown chamomile. German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) is a hardy annual that needs plenty of open space and, thus, isn’t recommended for containers. If you want to give it a try, use a very large container.
How to Grow Chamomile in a Container
Chamomile will grow happily in any type of container, as long as it has a drainage hole. Drainage is critical because like most herbs, potted chamomile plants are likely to rot in soggy soil. For the same reason, use a loose, well-drained potting mixture.
There are a few ways to get started with container-grown chamomile. The easiest is to purchase a small plant at a garden center or greenhouse that specializes in herbs. Alternatively, start seeds in small pots and transplant the seedlings to larger containers later, or save time by simply sprinkling a few seeds on the surface of the soil in a larger pot. A 12-inch container is roomy enough to grow one chamomile plant.
Don’t cover the seeds, as chamomile in a pot requires light in order to germinate.
Caring for Container-Grown Chamomile
Chamomile isn’t fussy, so potted chamomile plants require little care. Here are a few tips:
Allow the top ½-inch (1.25 cm.) of potting mix to dry between watering, then water deeply and let the pot drain thoroughly.
If your container-grown chamomile is outdoors, move it into a shady spot when temperatures exceed 90 F. (32 C.). Bring potted chamomile plants indoors before frosty weather arrives in autumn.
Chamomile doesn’t need much fertilizer and too much can decrease the aromatic essential oil in the leaves. As a general rule, a light application of a general-purpose, water-soluble fertilizer once every month is plenty.
Potted chamomile plants are relatively pest resistant, but small pests like aphids and mealybugs are easily treated with insecticidal soap spray.