Grow and Care for Calendula (Pot Marigold)

Grow and Care for Calendula (Pot Marigold)

How to Grow and Care for Calendula (Pot Marigold)

Overview of Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula, scientifically known as Calendula officinalis, is a perennial in warmer climates but often grown as an annual in cooler regions. Despite being called pot marigold, it is distinct from the common marigold (Tagetes spp.). As a member of the Asteraceae family, calendula resembles daisies and chrysanthemums and features daisy-like flowers. It's planted in spring after the last frost and flowers within six to eight weeks from seeding. The name 'pot marigold' originates from its gold blooms during Renaissance-era Virgin Mary festivals. Historically, calendula served as a medicinal herb and a dye in various ancient cultures. Today, it is cultivated for its vibrant yellow, orange, red, pink, and cream flowers.

Basic Plant Information

  • Common Names: Calendula, pot marigold, common marigold
  • Botanical Name: Calendula officinalis
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Plant Type: Perennial, annual
  • Mature Size: 1-2 ft. tall and wide
  • Sun Exposure: Full to partial
  • Soil Type: Well-drained
  • Soil pH: Neutral
  • Bloom Time: Spring to fall
  • Flower Color: Yellow, orange, red, white, pink
  • Hardiness Zones: 2a-11b (USDA)
  • Native Area: Mediterranean

Calendula Care

Calendula is typically an annual, except in zones 9 to 11 where it can be perennial. It grows easily from seeds in gardens or containers. For best growth, rich soil is preferred, but once established, it requires minimal water or fertilizer. It thrives in full sun but may wilt in extreme heat. Regular deadheading promotes reblooming.

Light Requirements

Calendula favors full sun but may need afternoon shade in the hottest months.

Soil Requirements

This plant prefers well-drained soil rich in organic material and tolerates a pH range from slightly acidic to neutral.

Watering

Water regularly until established. Mature plants need only occasional watering.

Temperature and Humidity

Calendula prefers mild summer temperatures and may not survive intense heat. Protection from hard freezes is necessary.

Fertilization

Calendula requires little feeding. Fertilize marginally if planted in less fertile soil.

Calendula Varieties

Several cultivars exist, including 'Pink Surprise', 'Touch of Red', 'Greenheart Orange', 'Citrus Cocktail', 'Dwarf Gem', 'Prince', and 'Golden Princess'.

Harvesting Calendula

Calendula flowers and leaves, used in salads and as a dye, are best harvested in late morning. Dry the flowers in a shady area and store in jars.

Growing Calendula From Seed

Calendula seeds are easy to grow and germinate readily. Start indoors before the last frost or sow directly in the garden. Watch for self-seeding in the garden.

Potting and Repotting Calendula

Calendula, also suited for pots, thrives in well-draining, organic potting soil. Ensure ample drainage and regular feeding.

Common Pests and Diseases

Calendula is relatively pest-free but can face issues like powdery mildew, slugs, snails, aphids, and whiteflies. Good air circulation and basic pest control measures can mitigate these problems.