Chamomile’s sweet hay-like flowery aroma immediately takes you to the height of Summer. Famous for soothing frazzled nerves and helping a good night’s sleep, it’s an essential of every herb garden.
The name chamomile comes from the Greek ‘chamos’ meaning on the ground and Greek ‘melos’ meaning apple—indicative of chamomile’s aroma which resembles that of apples.
We grow two species of chamomile; Matricaria chamomilla, commonly known as German chamomile, and Chamaemelum nobile, known as Roman chamomile or lawn chamomile. Both species are used interchangeably to make ‘chamomile tea’. In some respects they are similar, but they also have some key differences. German chamomile is an annual that behaves like a perennial on account of its tendency to self-seed and re-establish itself where it grew the year before. Roman chamomile, on the other hand, is a true perennial.
From the perspective of a gardener, and drinker of chamomile tea, the main difference between the two species is that German chamomile produces a LOT more flowers, much more quickly, and they are much sweeter than the comparatively bitter flowers of Roman chamomile. Both thrive in full sunshine in well-drained sandy soils.