5 Types of Chamomile for Your Garden

You probably know chamomile for its cute yellow and white flowers or its use as a relaxing herb. But did you know there are multiple chamomile species and varieties? Join farmer Briana Yablonski to learn five types of chamomile you can plant in your garden.

chamomile types. Chamomile is characterized by feathery, fern-like leaves and small, daisy-like flowers with white petals and yellow centers.


With a move to a new home on the horizon, I’ve spent the past few weeks planning a garden from scratch. One of my first steps was jotting down some plants I knew I needed in my garden. And chamomile was at the top of the list.

An evening mug of chamomile tea is a mainstay at my house, so I was thrilled at the prospect of having a homegrown source of this relaxing herb. Plus, there’s no comparing the flavor of just-harvested chamomile flowers with those found inside old teabags. And I knew the different chamomile varieties offered other benefits like beautiful cut flowers or low-maintenance ground covers.

After researching the different species and varieties of chamomile, I ended up adding a few different types of this herb to my ‘must plant’ list. I’ve included five of my top contenders below so you can decide which type of chamomile works best for your garden and needs.

What is Chamomile?

Close-up of Chamomile growing outdoors with many small flowers on thin arching stems adorned with white petals surrounding yellow discs.
Navigate the diversity of chamomile for your perfect cuppa.

Before I dive into five of my favorite types of chamomile, I’d like to clear something up. While many plants are grouped by their genus name or species, chamomile is an anomaly in the plant world. People use the term to refer to species throughout numerous genera, which makes it confusing to determine what is—and isn’t—chamomile.

In general, all types of chamomile belong to the aster family and have small flowers. However, not all these flowers can be used to make the popular chamomile tea. Therefore, it’s important to research the different types of chamomile plants and choose one that matches your intended uses.

German Chamomile

Close-up of flowering plants Matricaria chamomilla, presenting finely divided, fern-like leaves and delicate, white, daisy-like flowers with yellow centers.
Unlock the benefits of this versatile herb with calming properties.
botanical-name botanical name Matricaria chamomilla
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 12-24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-8

The tallest chamomile species, gardeners love German chamomile for its long stalks topped with daisy-like flowers. This warm-season annual is native to eastern Europe, but it grows well in most temperate climates. Although it’s commonly known as German chamomile, people also refer to it as Hungarian chamomile, wild chamomile, and common chamomile.

If you want to grow German chamomile at home, you can direct sow the seeds a few weeks before the last spring frost or transplant seedlings to your garden in mid-spring. With full sun and moderate water, the plants should begin flowering in late spring and continue blooming throughout the summer. Harvesting the flowers once a week not only supplies you with a continuous supply of blooms for tea but also encourages the plants to produce new flowers.

Since German chamomile is a tall, annual plant, I find it works well with other annual herbs and flowers like basil, dill, and calendula. These plants form a beautiful herbal tea garden that you can harvest and enjoy all summer. And if you’re thoughtful enough to dry your herbs in the summer, you can enjoy homegrown teas all year long.

While German chamomile’s soothing properties are well-known for inducing sleep, the flowers contain a host of compounds with different effects. Bisabolol helps relax smooth muscles in the intestines, leading to decreased abdominal pain and improved digestion. Various flavonoids also possess anti-inflammatory and sedative properties.

Roman Chamomile

Chamaemelum nobile, commonly known as Roman chamomile, displays finely dissected foliage and produces small, daisy-like flowers with white petals and yellow centers, creating a charming, carpet-like effect.
Experience perennial tranquility with this ground-covering chamomile variety.
botanical-name botanical name Chamaemelum nobile
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 3-6 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

If you want to enjoy the calming benefits of chamomile but don’t want to replant it each spring, check out Roman, aka English, chamomile. This low-growing perennial comes back each year, making a great ground cover. The plants can tolerate light foot traffic, so they’re appropriate for garden edges but not regularly-travel walking paths.

Since the plant spreads by creeping rhizomes, you don’t have to fill an entire area when planting. With well-draining soil and full sun, the plants will sprawl from where they were planted. You can plant them in a raised bed or container if you’re worried about their spread. And if the plants outgrow your intended area, just cut and dig the rhizomes.

Roman chamomile produces white and yellow flowers that are slightly larger than those produced by German chamomile. Although Roman chamomile plants produce fewer flowers than their German counterparts, both flowers have similar properties and uses.

Because the plants remain short, make sure not to plant them right beside taller plants. They can tolerate some shade but will perform best in full sun. Due to their low-growing habit and love of well-draining soil, these plants are great additions to rock gardens.

Dyer’s Chamomile

Close-up of Cota tinctoria flowering plants, showcasing finely divided, feathery leaves and clusters of small, bright yellow, daisy-like flowers, adding a splash of vibrant color to the garden landscape.
Illuminate your textiles with the golden magic of dyer’s chamomile.
botanical-name botanical name Cota tinctoria
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 18-36 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-7

When you think of chamomile, you probably don’t think of it as a dye plant. But as you may imagine, dyer’s chamomile is a beloved plant of people interested in natural dying. The small, yellow flowers brighten up the garden and also turn cotton, wool, silk, and other textiles bright gold.

While many other plants serve as yellow dyes, dyer’s chamomile is one of the most lightfast options. That means your yellow t-shirt or curtains will remain vivid even after hours of sun exposure. Not only does dyer’s chamomile create a brilliant yellow hue, but you can also use it to dye over fabrics dyed with indigo and madder.

Also known as yellow marquette, dyer’s chamomile is easy to grow at home. Since it’s a perennial, make sure to choose a suitable long-term home before planting. A location with well-draining soil and full sun is best, but these plants don’t mind nutrient-poor soil.

Although the plant is a perennial, it doesn’t grow in a spreading form like Roman chamomile. Instead, it produces tall stems and clusters that are two to three feet wide.

‘Zloty Lan’ Chamomile

Matricaria chamomilla ‘Zloty Lan’ presents finely divided foliage and yields clusters of small, бело-yellow, daisy-like flowers.
Achieve abundant chamomile harvests with ‘Zloty Lan’s’ robust growth.
botanical-name botanical name Matricaria recutita ‘Zloty Lan’
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun
height height 12-24 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-8

A specific cultivar of German chamomile, ‘Zloty Lan’ is a Polish variety renowned for its vigorous growth and high concentration of essential oils. Therefore, ‘Zloty Lan’ is an excellent option if you want to harvest chamomile flowers for tea or essential oil production.

‘Zloty Lan’ is a tetraploid, which means it contains four rather than two sets of chromosomes. These extra chromosomes lead to a more robust plant with a greater number of larger flowers. Since the plants produce so many flowers, make sure to harvest mature blooms at least once a week.

This variety is an annual, so you’ll need to replant each spring. However, if you leave a few flowers to mature on the plant, it will readily self-seed.

Pineapple Weed

Matricaria discoidea, commonly known as pineappleweed, displays fern-like foliage and produces small, button-like yellow flowers, resembling miniature pineapples.
The fruity fragrance of pineapple weed delights passersby.
botanical-name botanical name Matricaria discoidea
sun-requirements sun requirements Full sun to partial shade
height height 4-18 inches
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Sometimes known as wild chamomile, pineapple weed is native to western North America but has spread throughout the country. It grows in gravel driveways, road edges, old garden beds, and other areas with poor, compacted soil. Although it can also thrive in well-maintained areas, you’ll likely spot it popping up in neglected areas.

Pineapple weed gets its name from the tropical, fruity fragrance it releases when crushed or brushed. The fragrance still has hints of calming chamomile, but it’s much less earthy than that of Roman or German chamomile. Both fresh and dried flower heads make an excellent tea.

You can also use this plant’s appearance to differentiate it from other types of chamomile. The feathery green leaves look similar to other chamomile plants, but the flowers lack white ray florets. I think the bright yellow-green flowers resemble small, unripe strawberries.

Pineapple weed is an annual, but the plant readily self-seeds. Therefore, you’re likely to spot these plants in the same area year after year. If you want to add pineapple weed to your garden, try sprinkling the seeds in a compacted area, like the edge of a path or the end of a gravel driveway.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for an annual or perennial, a groundcover or an upright plant, or a dye plant or a cutting flower, you can find a chamomile for you. Since different types of chamomile have different growth habits and uses, don’t be afraid to grow a few varieties in your garden.

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beneficial weeds. Close-up of flowering Chickweed plants (Stellaria media) in a sunny garden. Chickweed is a delicate annual herb with small, oval-shaped leaves arranged in pairs along its succulent, branching stems. Its dainty white flowers, each containing five deeply notched petals.

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