Time to harvest chamomile is one of my favorite times in the garden. Each fall, I plant a rather large patch. In the spring, the plants grow rapidly and reward me with a profusion of delicate blooms. The apple scented blooms can then be harvested and used. Here’s a quick look at the beginning of this year’s harvest.
In general, I like to wait until the flowers have opened completely. The best quality comes from fresh blooms. I usually don’t bother picking the flowers that have started to form a “cone” shaped seed head. Flowers with petals that have started to hang down towards the ground aren’t the best either.
In my experience, chamomile will very readily seed itself in the yard if allowed to go to seed. In fact, I still have chamomile resprouting in certain vegetable beds from three years ago. Just something to keep in mind when choosing a planting site.
Last September, I broadcast one packet of seeds into a worked garden bed. Even though the chamomile seeds are absolutely tiny, the germination rate is always excellent. Here in my zone 6 garden, chamomile can overwinter as small seedlings without any trouble whatsoever. They are extremely cold tolerant.
By the time hot weather arrives in the summer, the chamomile will be done producing. The good news is, however, we will already have more than enough chamomile flowers and seeds (for planting) than we’ll need. Awesome!