Chamomile a Mild Organic 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

The Ready Store
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" ~ Thomas Jefferson

2 thoughts on “Chamomile a Mild Organic Fungicide”

  1. I have asked about white fuzzy mold growing on chamomile flowers; keep getting just the opposite. Can you tell me if the white fuzzy mold on chamomile flowers is dangerous and what causes it ?

    • Hi Nancy, good question… as I’m sure you found out in your search, chamomile is used to fight mold (and does it better then most fungicides) but who doctor’s the doctor? LOL

      Botrytis Blight
      Botrytis blight starts out as brownish/yellow splotches appearing over the leaves and stems. This is most common when the leaves stay wet for an extended period. The dampness causes mature leaves and stems to begin rotting.

      Left untreated, the brown spots will turn gray and take on a fuzzy appearance. This is fungus. If your chamomile gets to this point, handle them with care because the fungus spores will spread when you pick, examine, or trim.

      To deal with this problem, you must carefully remove plant debris and infected growth. Place plastic bags over the herbs carefully and then pull them up by the roots. Having the bags in place helps prevent the spread of mold spores.

      Powdery Mildew
      Powdery mildew is a fungus that reveals itself first and foremost as a white powder across the surface of the leaves. If allowed to continue, it will cause the plant to weaken and die. The mildew blocks sun exposure. Prevention is the same as for other fungal and dampness related problems.

      Also, make sure that you aren’t seeing mealy bugs or scale. If that is the case, neem oil will, most often, take care of them.
      Hope that helps! If not let me know more.


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