• Iris

Dyer’s Chamomile - Anthemis tinctoria

Dyer’s Chamomile is a bushy perennial that flowers prolifically, it produces masses of yellow daisy like flowers throughout the summer and is often grown in garden borders. Dyer’s Chamomile goes by many names including golden marguerite, marguerite’s daisy and yellow chamomile. It is native to Europe, the Mediterranean and Western Asia and is typically grown as a short lived biennial. It was used in the Medieval era as a yellow dye, although not as frequently as other traditional sources of yellow dyes, such as weld. Seeds of dyer’s chamomile have been found in excavations in southwestern Finland dating back to the 14th to 16th centuries, suggesting its use as a dye plant and/or medicinal plant. The fresh or dried flowers produce warm yellow tones when dyeing wool or cotton.

Sow from March onwards indoors on a warm sunny windowsill. Germination is best at 18-20C and can be slow often taking 2-3 weeks. If you are growing your marigold seeds in one of our soil pods, sow approximately 3 seeds per pod, allow the seedlings to grow for a few weeks until they have formed the first true leaves, then separate and select the strongest seedlings to plant on into larger pots or directly outside in the ground.

The plants require a lot of sun to produce a good crop of flowers and do not like to be shaded out by other plants. Leave a good spacing between plants of at least 30cm as they spread and become bushy to fill the space. Plants require relatively frequent watering to prevent wilting. Depending on the conditions you may have a good crop of flowers by late summer in the year of sowing. Do not remove the plants at the end of the season as they are hardy and will continue to grow through the winter, in the spring prune them back to a manageable size and shape and expect a large crop of yellow flowers throughout the summer. 

Harvest the chamomile flower heads when the flower has opened completely by snipping or snapping them off. This way the plant will continue to produce more flowers throughout the rest of the season. Once you have harvested the chamomile you are ready to dye! You can also dry them out in a sunny spot on a windowsill to save them for use during the winter.

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