Jump To Section
What is Chamomile?
Chamomile is a flowering herb in the Asteraceae plant family, grown primarily for medicinal uses and herbal tea. On top of its practical uses, chamomile is a beautiful ornamental plant with a pleasing aroma. There are two common types of chamomile plants, German chamomile and Roman chamomile.
What Are the Benefits of Companion Planting?
Companion plants will either help a specific crop grow or will grow better beside a specific crop, and can do many support jobs in the garden:
- Repel insect pests. Cabbage worms, cucumber beetles, Mexican bean beetles, carrot flies, cabbage moths—all kinds of pests can plague vegetable gardens. Many companion plants (like marigold flowers, catnip, and rue) repel specific pests and should be planted near certain crops to keep them pest-free.
- Attract beneficial insects. Pollinators like honey bees and ladybugs can use a little encouragement to visit vegetable gardens and pollinate the crops. Gardeners often plant attractive plants like borage flowers to encourage pollinators to visit.
- Improve soil nutrients. When crops grow, they take up valuable nutrients from the soil—leaving the gardener to do a lot of work at the end of the season to renew the soil’s nutrients. However, there are many companion plants (like bush beans and pole beans) that add nutrients like nitrogen back into the soil, helping keep other plants healthy.
- Encourage faster growth and better taste. Many companion plants (like marjoram, chamomile, and summer savory) release specific chemicals that encourage faster growth or better taste in the plants around them.
- Provide ground cover. Plants that spread low across the ground (like oregano) serve as a blanket over the soil, protecting it from the sun and keeping it cooler for plants that benefit from lower temperatures.
- Provide necessary shade. Plants that grow tall and leafy (like zucchini and asparagus) can provide welcome shade for sun-sensitive plants beneath them.
- Serve as markers. When growing slow-growing plants, it can be difficult to tell where the rows will be while you’re waiting for the seeds to sprout. Gardeners often use fast-growing plants (like radishes) interspersed with the slow growers in their rows to delineate where the slow growers will be.
4 Companion Plants to Grow With Chamomile
For chamomile to be an effective companion plant, you must care for it properly. Plant chamomile in a garden bed that allows it to receive full sun (or partial shade in particularly hot climates), and make sure soil around it is consistently moist. When chamomile is thriving, it benefits other plants growing nearby.
- Brassicas: Plants in the cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, turnips, radishes) are vulnerable to harmful pests like cabbage moths, cabbage butterflies, and cabbage worms. Chamomile is an ideal companion plant for Brassicas because its strong scent masks the aroma that attracts common cabbage pests.
- Basil: Chamomile makes a good companion to basil in your herb garden because its presence increases the amount of essential oil that basil produces.
- Fruit trees: For ages, farmers have taken advantage of chamomile's antibacterial and antifungal properties by planting it near apple trees and other fruit trees to prevent fungal infections.
- Cucumber: Chamomile's scent helps cucumbers by attracting beneficial insects like ladybugs and hoverflies. These insects eat harmful pests like aphids that suck fluid from cucumber plants.
Grow your own food with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the MasterClass Annual Membership and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.