Whether you’re a beginner and wondering how to grow Calendula or an expert looking for a little more information, welcome.
Calendula Officinalis, commonly known as the pot marigold, is an easy to grow annual flower. The varieties of calendula blossoms come in different shades of yellow, orange, pink or cream.
The leaves are long, slim and medium green. Though it is referred to as the “pot marigold” the flower is not actually in the marigold family. In reality calendula is related to chrysanthemums and daises.
Pot marigolds are used often as a medicinal herb but they are also easy to grow and make a colorful addition to the home garden.
Calendula is the October birth flower. In the language of flowers, the pot marigold symbolizes sorrow or sympathy.
Early Christians referred to the flower as “Mary’s gold” and placed it on or around statues of the Virgin Mary. In India worshipers also graced religious statues with calendula flowers.
How to Grow Calendula
There are many different varieties of calendula to choose from. Decide on the type of plant based on color and size preference.
Calendula “lemon cream” has blooms three inches across. The flowers are a delicate shade of yellow and the plants grow about 2 feet tall.
Calendula “Oktoberfest” is a prolifically blooming orange flower with a small dark accent in the center of the blossom. It also grows to be about two feet tall.
Calendula will grow in just about any type of soil. Like most plants it likes rich, well-drained soil but the plant can also do well in poor soil.
To get your your plants started, sow the seeds directly in the ground and cover them with about ¼” of soil. These plants can also be started indoors, about six weeks before the last frost date.
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Once the seedlings emerge thin them to about 15 inches apart. Seeds germinate quickly and usually bloom by mid-summer.
The plant will reseed itself if left alone. Pot marigold grows best in full sun but if there is intense sun or heat gardeners can plant calendula in an area with partial shade.
How to care for Calendula Plants
Calendula flowers are a hardy annual that can tolerate light frost. They do not need extensive care, but they should be watered regularly to keep them from drying out.
If you have super hot Summers, you can grow your plants in containers so that you can move them to a shaded area during the hottest part of Summer.
Add mulch around the base of the plant to help control weeds. Pot marigold is a prolific bloomer but make sure to deadhead it so new flowers keep emerging. The blossoms will turn to face the sun as it moves around through the day.
Insects like aphids are particularly attracted to pot marigolds. Look for small white specks on the underside of the leaves.
Spray these bugs with a soap and water solution to remove them. The plant can also develop mildew problems if grown in humid areas. Apply a fungicide to help with this.
What can you use Calendula for?
Pot Marigolds can be used in many ways, particularly in the home garden. As the different varieties grow between 8 and 18 inches tall, they can be grown in anything from small containers to large flowerbeds.
Once you learn how to grow Calendula and you see the gorgeous flowers you will realize they are great as cut flowers but some people do find the odor of the leaves to be annoying.
Many grow calendula for the edible flowers. To use the blossoms in salads or other dishes make sure the seed and plants are organically grown.
Calendula flowers are said to have a peppery taste and will add their sunny color to the dish. In fact, when used in cooking the color will tint some food yellow or orange. Wash the flowers well before using them in food preparation.
What are the benefits of Calendula plants?
Some believe the Pot Marigold has medicinal properties and it is used in skin creams to soothe skin irritation problems.
It’s said to have antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties that help with skin issues. It is also used as an antiseptic.
These Calendula Bath Bombs are a great way to use your Calendula flowers.
Others use it to treat ailments associated with menstruation or the intestines. However, some people are allergic to calendula and should not use it or it will cause skin irritation.
Bees and hummingbirds are attracted to the flowers on the Pot Marigold. That’s always a great benefit in my book.
Now that you are finished reading how to grow Calendula and you have a few ideas on how you are going to use it, it’s time to to get to get those seeds started.