White, daisy flowers with bright yellow button centers make sweet false chamomile a pleasant sight in the garden. Originally from Europe and Western Asia and also called German Chamomile, it is naturalized now in parts of the United States. The foliage is scented, releasing a pleasant, sweet fragrance when leaves are crushed.
Description of sweet false chamomile: Sweet false chamomile grows up to 21/2 feet tall. It's a many-branched plant, with numerous small flower heads. Flowers are up to 1 inch in diameter, with about 25 white petals surrounding a golden-yellow disc. Finely cut leaves are 2 to 3 inches long.
Growing sweet false chamomile: Sweet false chamomile will grow easily in any average garden soil. It needs full sun to flower its best. Continuous moisture will ensure larger, more vigorous plants. Apply a balanced fertilizer at planting to develop good plants. Plant in the spring when frost danger has passed. Space 6 to 10 inches apart. It is a prolific reseeder.
Propagating sweet false chamomile: Begin new plants by seeding. Sow in the ground in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked. For an earlier start, sow seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks prior to planting out. Seeds germinate in 20 to 25 days at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not cover seeds; they need light to germinate.
Uses for sweet false chamomile: Grow them in the front of beds and borders, grouping a number of plants together for a mass effect. Because they grow informally, sweet false chamomile also look good in cottage garden plantings and in containers. Grow them in herb gardens for their scent. Plants and foliage are often dried for sachets.
Sweet false chamomile related species: Four species from South Africa are sometimes grown: M. globifera, M. grandiflora, M. suffruticosa, and M. africana, although it is suspected that plants cultivated under these names may really be Tanacetum parthenium.
Scientific name of sweet false chamomile: Matricaria recutita