The typical calendula flower is
bright orange or yellow, although more subtle peachy or creamy colors are also
available. Their good looks and assorted uses make them great companions plants
in the vegetable garden. The edible petals are beautiful sprinkled on a salad;
mixed with a soft cheese such as goat or cream cheese, they impart a cheery
yellow color. Some like to throw them into a vegetable stock, which is how the
flower acquired the common name of “pot marigold.” Considered both an herb and
an ornamental flower, calendula is often used as an ingredient in a soothing
2. Plant. Sow Calendula seeds directly in the garden in spring, about 2 to 4 inches apart. Cover seeds with ¼ inch of soil and press gently.
3. Grow. Water the soil to keep it moist for a week or two, until seeds germinate. Once seedlings are a few inches tall, thin them by removing extra plants so the remaining ones are about 8 to 12 inches apart. Pull weeds that sprout nearby, and apply organic mulch, such as bark chips, to control weeds and conserve soil moisture. Plants grow best in moist, well-drained soil.
4. Enjoy.Calendulas can be enjoyed in multiple ways—in the garden, on a salad, in a vase, or in a soothing salve. And they are so easy to grow that no garden should be without them. If you plan to use the petals for medicinal or culinary purposes, harvest the flowers whole, as soon as they fully open and after the dew has dried. Dry them completely in a well-ventilated space before storing in an airtight container.
AT A GLANCE
Exposure: Full sun
Planting time: 1 to 2 weeks before the final frost, and again in late summer where winters are mild.
Planting depth: 1/4 inch deep
Spacing in row: Sow 2to 4 inches apart; thin to 8 to 12 inches apart
Time to flower: 40 to 60 days from seed
Shorter varieties of calendula in containers.
Calendula blooms make excellent cut flowers