This article has been checked for horticultural accuracy by Oliver Parsons.


A chamomile lawn can make a great alternative to a grass lawn, particularly where foot traffic is low or in areas that are hard to access with a lawn mower. The most suitable variety for creating a chamomile lawn is Chamaemelum nobile 'Treneague'. This creeping variety only grows to 5-10cm in height and knits together to form a dense, weed-suppressant mat of fragrant foliage. Crucially, it does not flower, so no deadheading is required to stop the lawn becoming patchy.

If you would prefer a flowering lawn, you can instead use Chamaemelum nobile 'Dwarf'. This grows to a height of around 15cm and makes an excellent flowering lawn. However, deadheading will be required to avoid the lawn becoming patchy. Both varieties are evergreen and fully hardy.

Chamomile lawns provide a fragrant, visually appealing lawn in the right location. Unlike grass lawns, they remain green, even in very dry weather. There's no need to mow (although the occasional trim will keep them compact and dense), which makes them low-maintenance, and the species plant Chamaemelum nobile provides flowers for using in teas and other herbal remedies, as well as nectar and pollen for insects.

If you intend to walk on your lawn regularly, consider adding stepping stones to enable you to enjoy the space without damaging it. However, light bruising of the leaves is to be encouraged, as it releases a wonderful apple-like fragrance.

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Chamomile can be grown in an existing lawn, but bear in mind that the grass will eventually outcompete the chamomile. You will have a much better overall look and effect by replacing a grass lawn with one that is completely chamomile.

Chamomile isn't dangerous to dogs. Indeed, due to the healing properties of plants in the chamomile family, eating small amounts of chamomile can soothe gut aches and ease anxiety. However, if eaten in large quantities, you may want to consult your vet to be on the safe side.

How to grow a chamomile lawn

Plant a chamomile lawn in free-draining soil in a sunny position with low foot traffic. There should be no need to mow the lawn, apart from a trim now and again to keep it dense.

If you opt for a flowering lawn using Chamaemelum nobile 'Dwarf' you will need to deadhead the flowers to stop it becoming patchy – this can be done with shears. Propagate new plants, to fill any gaps, by division.

Where to grow chamomile lawns

Low-growing chamomile planted between paving slabs
Low-growing chamomile planted between paving slabs

Grow a chamomile lawn in free-draining soil. Avoid planting a chamomile lawn on clay soil as this will bake in summer and be too wet in winter. Sandy, free-draining soils work well but can become too dry in times of low rainfall. A sunny spot will yield the best results, as too much shade will lead to patchy growth. Choose an area with light footfall as too much foot traffic will kill the plants.

How to plant a chamomile lawn

Young plants and plugs are widely available. Prepare the planting area by clearing it of grass, weeds or debris. If lifting an existing grass lawn, use a spade to remove the top layer of turf down to around 5cm. As weeds compete with chamomile and are a pain to remove after you've planted the lawn, take extra steps to ensure the area is weed-free.

It's a good idea to wait up to a fortnight for any rogue weed seeds to germinate and then hoe them before planting. If the soil is heavy, it may be worth adding some horticultural grit to the area to improve drainage, although this is only practical on very small patches. If planting on a flat lawn, rake the area level.

Dig planting holes that are slightly larger than the rootball of the chamomile plants, 10-20cm apart. Place each plant in a hole and backfill with soil, gently firming around the roots. Ensure the plant is at the same level as it was in the nursery container, with no roots sitting proud of the surface.

Water the plants thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots, and continue watering every few days until plants are established.

How to care for a chamomile lawn

Avoid walking on your new chamomile lawn for at least 12 weeks, and then with only very light foot traffic for the first year. Chamomile lawns can become patchy even with light foot traffic, which can lead to weed problems.

Water regularly in its first year, especially during dry periods.

Chamomile lawns do not require regular mowing, but they will benefit from an occasional trim to keep the lawn dense. If there are straggly bits, then prune them off lightly with shears, and also don't forget to deadhead with shears if you are using a flowering variety.

Bare patches will develop as plants naturally age and die, or after a hard, wet winter, so it's a good idea to have young plants on standby to fill the gaps.

By keeping bare patches to a minimum you should have a dense, low-maintenance and weed-resistant lawn. If weeds appear, dig them out swiftly and replant the area with fresh chamomile plants, to keep further weeds at bay.

How to propagate chamomile lawns

Dividing chamomile plants to make new plants for filling in gaps
Divide chamomile plants to make new plants for filling in gaps

As chamomile plants grow and spread, they form clumps. To propagate them, simply dig up a clump and use a spade or old bread knife to divide it into smaller pieces, always with a good portion of roots intact. Replant the new divisions immediately, either back in the ground or into pots to plant out later, and water thoroughly. Bear in mind that any divided plants will suffer root damage, no matter how carefully you divide them, so continue watering for a week or so until they have recovered and appear to be growing strongly.

Pests and diseases

Chamomile lawns are relatively low-maintenance and, as long as they are in appropriate sunny and free-draining conditions, less prone to issues compared with traditional grass lawns. They are susceptible to aphids, however, especially on tender new growth. If large infestations occur, aphids can weaken the plants and negatively affect their overall health. Bear in mind that natural predators such as house sparrows, ladybirds and hoverflies rely on aphids to complete their lifecycle, so it's best to leave nature to take its course.

Advice on buying chamomile for a lawn

  • Decide whether you want a lawn made using Chamomile nobile ‘Treneague’, which produces a low-growing carpet without flowers, or a flowering lawn with Chamomile nobile 'Dwarf', which requires more maintenance
  • Chamomile nobile ‘Treneague’ can't be grown from seed and is only available as plants. The species plant Chamomile nobile can be grown from seed but grows to a height of around 30cm so is usually not appropriate for a lawn
  • Buy young plants from a reputable supplier. If buying plugs or very young plants you may need to grow them on before planting out

Where to buy chamomile for a lawn

Suitable cultivars for a chamomile lawn

Chamaemelum nobile ‘Treneague’ – This species has been specifically bred for use as a chamomile lawn. It forms a dense, low-growing and spreading mat of aromatic foliage but doesn't flower. It is known for its tolerance to foot traffic. Height x Spread: 10cm x 40cm

Chamaemelum nobile 'Dwarf' – This dwarf cultivar grows to just 5cm in height, making it more suitable for using in a lawn situation. It also tolerates more shade than 'Treneague'. Height x Spread: 5cm x 40cm