Chamomile a Mild Fungicide

The single term used to describe underground, soil line, or crown rots of seedlings due to unknown causes is damping-off. The term actually covers several soil borne diseases of plants and seed borne fungi including...

  • Rhizoctonia root rot (Rhizoctonia solani)
  • Pythium Root Rot (Pythium spp.)
  • Phytophthora root rot (Phytophthora spp.)
  • Black root rot (Thielaviopsis basicola)
  • Miscellaneous fungi causing similar symptoms include Sclerotinia (white mold), Sclerotium rolfsii, Macrophomina phaseoli, some species of Botrytis (gray mold), Aphonomyces, Fusarium, Cylindrocladium, and others.

Hence the need for the collective term known as damping-off.

To avoid damping off there are several things you can do, but a natural and organic preventative, is Chamomile Tea.

Chamomile is a naturally high source of sulfur and a good fungicide helpful in preventing damping-off.

There are two ways to use chamomile as a fungicide for damping off, grow your own flowers to use whole (or buy them at your local co-op)to make a tea, or purchase chamomile tea bags. Use the tea as a spray soil used for starting seedlings and in any humid planting area.

Use Whole Chamolile Flowers

  • To make a chamomile fungicide spray, place a large handful or about 1/4 cup of chamomile blossoms in a heat-proof glass bowl and Infuse. (add 2 cups boiling water)

  • Cover and let steep until cool

  • Strain (use a stainless steel strainer or cheesecloth) then pour into a spray bottle

  • Spray freely on seed bed soil and seedlings to prevent damping off

  • Use any time a white fuzzy growth appears on the soil of seedlings

  • Liquid can also be used as a seed soak prior to planting

  • Leftovers will keep for about one week before spoiling

  • If fresh chamomile flowers are not available, dried ones may be purchased from most health food stores

Using Tea Bags

Pour boiling water over a chamomile tea bag, leave to steep for ten minutes, when cool use as a spray the same as mentioned above.

Tom Clothier
University of Arizona


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