Growing Calendula Flowers
Calendula: Cheer up Your Front Porch with Bright Yellow Daisy-Like Blooms
Calendula flowers (calendula officinalis) flaunt bright, spatula-shaped flowerheads that will certainly capture your eyes. Flowers come in yellow, cream, apricot, or orange colors. The central part is composed of many ray florets.
Calendula belongs to the daisy (Asteraceae) family and is a native to North Africa, the Canary Islands and Southern Europe. Calendula is also known as pot marigold.
Calendula comes from the Latin word, “calendae” which means first day of the month. True to its name, Calendula flowers have a long blooming season. In fact, most varieties blossom all year round.
Calendula plants are bushy and grow one to two feet high and usually form dense clumps. Most Calendula varieties have an aromatic scent.
Growing Calendula flowers makes for a good companion plant to use in beds, borders, and as container plants. They also make nice cut flowers. Several species of Calendula are known for their medicinal properties such as to remedy skin irritations, minor burns, and other inflammatory conditions.
In fact, Calendula has been used in skin creams for centuries. Other species have quite a long history of culinary use. Its petals are edible and are sometimes used to flavor salads and rice.
Calendulas are propagated from seed. Take note that these plants do not grow well in extremely hot weather. Now, if you’re living in the south or in regions with hot summers (90F or higher), then it’s imperative to plan ahead. Calendula has big seeds so it is easy to plant.
Hot summer: Start seeds indoors in summer to have blooming plants for fall. Transfer outdoors once the seedlings are big enough to handle.
Mild summer: Start seeds after all the danger of frost has passed. Sow directly in your flower garden. Space the plants 12 inches apart. Calendula seeds take about 5 to 15 days to germinate at 70F.
What to consider: Calendulas require full sun. Full sun means continuous sun exposure for more than six hours daily. In warmer areas, they will tolerate bright partial shade. Calendulas thrive in fertile and well-drained soil. These are best planted in large container pots, filled with fresh, compost-filled garden soil. Water regularly but do not let the plants stand in wet soils. Additionally, you may divide the perennials as an alternative way to propagate.
How to Grow Calendula
Calendula is easy to grow. They are undemanding plants that blossom well with a few simple tips:
- Deadhead or remove spent blooms regularly to encourage new blooms and to prolong flowering. This also keeps the plants neat and attractive.
- Feed the plants with organic fertilizer regularly during the growing season.
- When saving Calendula seeds, dry out the blooms and cut them off. The flowerheads contain the seeds so you can hang them upside down until the next growing season.
Calendulas are not typically bothered by insects. In fact, Calendula flowers repel various insects and pests, which make them good companion plants for vegetables and herbs. However, do not overwater as Calendulas are prone to mildew in fall and other fungal diseases when left in soggy environment.