Calendula officinalis is one of the best calendula varieties for incorporating into your yard and garden. Calendulas, pot marigolds, should not be confused with Tagetes, the common marigold used as bedding plants. Find information on growing calendulas.
Calendula officinalis Facts
Calendulas are hardy annuals that can grow in Zones 1 to 10. They are fairly resistant to cold, but do not tolerate heat very well. They reach heights from 6 to 24 inches.
Flower colors range from yellow, gold, apricot, orange, and cream. The flowers are a daisylike bloom with double, crisp petals. The flowers close at night and on cloudy days. Calendulas bloom in spring and fall where climates are hot, and in summer in cooler areas.
Calendulas prefer rich, well-drained soil with a pH of 5 to 8. They can be fertilized with an all-purpose fertilizer. They prefer moist conditions, but must have good drainage. Grow them in full sun to light shade and space them 12 to 15 inches. Propagation is done by planting seeds.
- Start the seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting outdoors, in flats placed in full sun or under fluorescent lights. Cover seeds completely, as they need darkness to germinate.
- Prepare soil outdoors before planting, adding generous amounts of organic matter, such as peat moss, leaf mold, or compost, to enrich it.
- Sow seeds outdoors 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and 6 inches apart in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. In mild areas, they can be sown in late summer for fall and winter blooming.
- Thin seedling 4 inches high to permanent spacing.
- Set plants outdoors in midspring after all danger of frost has passed or early fall.
- Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist.
- Fertilize soil prior to planting and again when buds start to form.
- Pests are snails and slugs. They can be trappe with slug or snail bait or in partially submerged pans of beer, you may also dust the ground with wood ashes or diatomaceous earth.
- Mulch in early spring to keep the roots moist and cool.
- Harvest flowers as soon as they are fully open. Petal may be used fresh or dried. Be sure to deadhead flowers as they fade to ensure continuous bloom.
- Dry flowers on a screen in a warm, airy, dry place. The petals may be removed from the flower head either before or after drying.
- Store dried petals in an airtight container.