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chamomile lawns

If you have a sunny slope that is difficult to mow, in a location with well drained, sandy soil, try a chamomile lawn.

The delightful apple scent is a reward in itself, and using chamomile as a groundcover offers some advantages, like low mowing, feeding and watering needs, but the plant is definitely not low maintenance.

To make life easier, chose a low growing, non-flowering variety that has been bred specifically for this purpose, and make sure the spot you are covering is weed free. This hybrid variety will not go to seed, for obvious reasons, so you will need to purchase the plants and/or propagate them by division in spring. The plants need to be spaced 12 to 18 inches apart, which requires patience with the spotty look until they fill out.

If you select a species variety, which does come true from seed, you’ll have the benefits of the plants reseeding themselves, but the plants grow too tall and you’ll have to shear the spent flowers unfailingly, otherwise the lawn develops bare patches. Regular weed killers are too harsh for this groundcover, so the weeds will have to be plucked by hand or you need to apply spot treatment.

Chamomile doesn’t like wet feet, especially in winter, which is why light soil with good drainage and full sun exposure are essential. The established lawn is quite long lived and will tolerate light foot traffic after its first year.

I have tried growing chamomile for years, as a medicinal plant, not a ground cover, but didn’t have much luck with the annual variety. This time I planted Roman chamomile and it seems to have overwintered beautifully. I’m thrilled!

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