The Q&A Archives: Chamomile Lawn Care

Question: I planted Roman chamomile (grown from seed) in a row to make a chamomile path, in April. It has grown well (a few gaps). My question is -- how do I get it to spread across the path (it's intended to be about 12 inches wide). Do I need to divide the plants, and if so when? Or will I be able to encourage the direction
of the spreading by cutting? Or, finally, should I re-seed
the bare bits next year? Also, is it true that treading on
it is good for it and will encourage growth?

Answer: Chamaemelum nobile, or Chamomile, forms a soft-textured, spreading mat of bright light green, finely cut, aromatic leaves. The most commonly grown form has small yellow buttons of summer-blooming flower heads; some forms have little daisylike flower heads. It makes a great groundcover or lawn substitute, especially if mowed or sheared occasionally.

Chamomile will continue to spread and will eventually fill in the gaps, but you can encourage this outward growth by clipping the foliage back a bit. You can reseed next spring, or dig and divide the plants, or just be patient and allow the plants to fill in at their own pace. Regular clipping or mowing will keep the plants neat and produce additional lateral growth.

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