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Grow a Soothing Chamomile Lawn in 5 Easy Steps

Have you ever dreamed of walking barefoot across a lawn that feels like a soft, fragrant carpet? Do you want a lawn that requires less mowing, watering and maintenance? If so, consider planting a chamomile lawn. With its sweet floral scent and velvety texture, this medicinal herb makes a stunning alternative to traditional turf grass.

Growing chamomile as a lawn is relatively easy if you follow a few simple steps. In this guide, you’ll learn how to choose the right chamomile variety, prepare the planting area, sow the seeds or transplant starts, and care for your chamomile carpet. Soon you’ll be enjoying this soothing plant right outside your door. Let’s get started!

What is a Chamomile Lawn?

A chamomile lawn consists of chamomile plants used as a turf grass substitute. Rather than mowing upright blades of grass, a chamomile lawn features low growing chamomile flowers and foliage. The chamomile carpets the ground in a dense, even mat.

There are a few different varieties of chamomile that work well for lawns. Roman and German chamomile are perennial types that come back year after year. They spread via rhizomes and self-seeding to form a lush ground cover. There are also non-flowering, double flowered cultivars used as lawn chamomile.

Chamomile lawns provide all the benefits of traditional lawns, such as play spaces for kids and pets. But they also offer some advantages over grass. Let’s look at why you may want to grow this aromatic medicinal plant instead of plain old turf.

Why Grow a Chamomile Lawn?

Chamomile makes an attractive, low maintenance alternative for a traditional lawn. Here are some of the top reasons to grow this soothing ground cover:

Soft and Soothing

Wouldn’t you love to kick off your shoes and feel the softness of chamomile flowers underfoot? Chamomile lawns have a lush, velvety texture perfect for kids and pets. The fragrant plants release their calming scent when walked upon. It’s a wonderfully soothing sensory experience!

Fragrant and Peaceful

The sweet apple-like aroma of chamomile flowers is treasured for its relaxing properties. As you walk across or sit on a chamomile lawn, the gently crushed blooms will emit their signature fragrance. The floral perfume promotes relaxation and creates a peaceful oasis right outside your home. Learn more about essential indoor plant care like water, light and temperature.

Visually Stunning

When in full bloom, chamomile lawns explode with cheerful daisy-like flowers in shades of white, yellow, and orange. As a dense living carpet, chamomile makes a vibrant statement. It’s sure to draw compliments from visitors to your landscape. Find out what grows well with chamomile in Herb Growing Guide: How to Choose the Right Herbs for Your Garden.

Choosing the Right Variety of Chamomile

To create a lush chamomile lawn, it’s important to select the right variety. The optimal types are perennial, low growing, tolerate foot traffic, and spread aggressively. Here are some top options:

Roman Chamomile

Roman Chamomile
Roman Chamomile

With its bright green, finely divided leaves and abundant white flowers, Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) makes a lovely lawn. It grows just 2-4 inches tall and spreads readily via underground rhizomes. This variety thrives in cool climates and partial shade.

German Chamomile

German Chamomile
German Chamomile

Also known as Hungarian or wild chamomile, this perennial (Matricaria recutita) has finely cut foliage and white flowers with yellow centers. It grows 4-8 inches tall, spreads through self-seeding, and tolerates light foot traffic. German chamomile prefers full sun and hot climates.

Double Flowered Chamomile

Double Flowered Chamomile
Double Flowered Chamomile

These non-flowering, sterile cultivars produce lush green foliage but no pollen. Popular varieties include ‘Treneague,’ ‘Flore Pleno,’ and ‘Flora Perpetua.’ They grow just 3-5 inches tall and make dense, low maintenance lawns in sun or partial shade.

Look for seed mixes formulated specifically for chamomile lawns. Or purchase plants from a reputable nursery. Now that you’ve picked some varieties, it’s time to prep the planting site.

Preparing the Planting Area

Chamomile isn’t too picky, but preparing the soil properly will give your lawn the best start. Here are some tips:

Test Soil Drainage and pH

Chamomile prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6.0-7.0) that drains well. If drainage is poor, add organic material like compost to improve it before planting. Test pH and amend with sulfur if needed.

Remove Existing Lawn or Weeds

Eliminate any existing grass or weeds, which may compete with young chamomile plants. Smother the area with cardboard, black plastic or mulch for a few weeks, or use an herbicide. Till the soil.

Rake and Level the Soil

Chamomile likes an even, smooth planting area. Rake thoroughly to create a fine texture. Use a lawn roller or weighted lawn mower to flatten any bumps. Add a thin layer of compost or manure if desired.

Now it’s time to get those chamomile plants in the ground! Chamomile can be planted in spring or fall, giving you some flexibility.

When to Plant Chamomile

Chamomile can be sown directly outside or started indoors and transplanted. Here are the optimal spring and fall planting times:

Spring Planting

If starting seeds indoors, begin 4-6 weeks before your last expected spring frost. Transplant seedlings or sow seeds directly outdoors after danger of frost has passed.

Fall Planting

For a fall lawn, sow seeds or set out transplants 6-8 weeks before your average first fall frost. This timing allows roots to establish before winter dormancy.

Make sure to purchase fresh seed each season for best germination rates. Now let’s look at planting methods.

How to Plant Chamomile

You can propagate a chamomile lawn from seeds, transplants or plant divisions. Here are some options:

Start Seeds Indoors

For an early spring lawn, start seeds indoors in trays or pots 4-6 weeks before transplanting. Gently press them into soil mix and keep moist. Thin or transplant seedlings once true leaves appear. Harden off before planting outside.

Transplant Seedlings

Carefully dig up chamomile seedlings with a garden trowel, keeping roots intact. Plant 12-15 inches apart in prepared soil. Water thoroughly after transplanting and mist leaves for the first few days.

Sow Seeds Directly Outdoors

Once soils have warmed in spring, sow seeds directly into the lawn area. Scatter them evenly across the prepared soil, or sow in rows 12-15 inches apart. Gently rake seeds into the top 1⁄4 inch of soil. Water lightly to settle.

Whichever method you use, be patient. It may take a full season or two for the chamomile to fill in thickly. Proper care will encourage faster spreading and establishment.

Caring for Your Chamomile Lawn

With a bit of attention, your chamomile lawn will thrive. Here are some care tips:

Watering

Chamomile needs about 1 inch of water per week. Allow soil to partially dry between waterings. Avoid overhead watering, which can lead to fungal diseases. Water early in the day.

Weeding

Pluck any weeds as soon as you spot them. Mulch around plants with straw or pine needles to suppress weeds. Hand pull carefully to avoid disturbing chamomile roots.

Fertilizing

Fertilize each spring with a balanced organic fertilizer or compost tea. Chamomile doesn’t need much extra nutrition, so go easy.

Pruning

If plants get leggy or open in the center, prune back by 1/3 after flowering. Shear occasionally with gardening shears to encourage thick growth.

Routine care and occasional pruning will keep your chamomile lawn lush. Once established, this soothing ground cover is low maintenance and trouble free. Now for the fun part – enjoying your chamomile!

Enjoying Your Chamomile Lawn

A chamomile lawn provides endless opportunities for relaxation and creativity. Here are some ways to make use of this versatile plant:

Make Tea

Harvest chamomile flowers and dry them to make calming herbal tea. The tea boasts anti-inflammatory and mild sedative properties to ease anxiety.

Dry for Potpourri

Hang bunches of chamomile upside down to air dry. Then add the crisp flowers to potpourri mixes and sachets. The scent promotes tranquility.

Extract Essential Oils

Chamomile’s essental oils have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Steam distill flowers to create chamomile oil for use in lotions, soaps and aromatherapy.

With its sweet charm and myriad uses, a chamomile lawn is a real treasure. We hope these tips have inspired you to create your own patch of floral tranquility. Just follow the simple steps, nurture the plants with care, and soon you’ll be enjoying a perfectly soothing chamomile lawn. Happy gardening!

FAQ

What are the best conditions for growing chamomile?

Chamomile thrives in full sun to partial shade and moderately fertile, well-draining soil. Maintain pH between 6.0-7.0. Ensure the lawn gets 1 inch of water per week. Chamomile can tolerate light foot traffic when established.

How do I harvest chamomile flowers?

Use garden shears to snip flower heads when the blooms are fully open. Harvest in morning after dew has dried. Spread flowers on screens or trays to dry in a warm, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight.

Should I fertilize my chamomile lawn?

Yes, fertilizing once a year is recommended. In early spring, apply a balanced organic fertilizer or rich compost. Avoid high-nitrogen formulas, as excess nitrogen stimulates foliar growth over flowers.

What pests or diseases affect chamomile?

Chamomile is relatively pest and disease free, but may attract plant bugs or aphids. Powdery mildew, root rot and wilt can occur if irrigation is excessive. Ensure good drainage and allow soil to partially dry between waterings.

How long does it take for chamomile to establish a lawn?

It can take 1-2 seasons for chamomile plants to fully spread and fill in. Be patient – mowing and foot traffic will encourage the chamomile to grow low and dense. Feed plants and keep them moist for optimal establishment.

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