Should You Grow Calendula With Carrots?

Everyone knows that marigolds are a common companion plant, but does this extend to pot marigolds? Should you grow Calendula with carrots to help deter pests?

growing calendula with carrots
growing Calendula with carrots

Calendula as a Companion Plant

Unlike normal marigolds, pot marigolds don’t have a pungent smell so I don’t think they would be too good at deterring pests. I have never heard of them being grown as a companion plant for this reason.

They are sometimes used as a companion plant for attracting pollinators so you will sometimes see them next to crops like courgette that always need help with pollination.

They also grow quite big and bushy so could easily take up too much room in vegetable beds, so as a general rule of thumb you should not plant them with carrots just because of the space waste for no real gain. That is unless you want to grow calendulas based on their own merits, which are plentiful!

Marigolds as a Companion Plant

Unlike Calendulas (pot marigolds) regular marigolds are commonly used as a companion plant in the veg garden.

They have a strong pungent smell which apparently deters all kinds of pests although not everyone agrees it actually works but there really is no harm in doing it.

They are commonly grown with tomatoes, carrots and onions as a pest deterrent.

Marigolds as a companion plant

Calendula Officinalis (pot marigold)

Calendula is an annual herb that is edible and is commonly used in herbal remedies for all kinds of afflictions.

While being an annual it does have a strong self-seeding habit so grows almost as if it was a perennial. Plant some in a garden bed and expect them to readily self-seed and come back year after year.

They are really easy to grow and not too fussy at all. Provide them with a nice sunny spot in good, well-draining soil and they will reward you with ample bright orange blooms.

How to Grow Calendula

Calendula can be easily started from seed. Like all annual flowers (technically Calendula are a herb but they are normally grown as flowers), you want to start them early if possible to get the best summer displays.

Sow a few seeds per pot in early spring in a sheltered spot. A greenhouse or sunny windowsill is ideal.

Calendula Seedlings
Calendula Seedlings

They are good germinators and not overly fussy, just plant them under a thin layer of compost. You can use seed compost or just general purpose compost to sow Calendula.

As with most small seeds I find it better to water the soil to get it nice and moist before planting the seeds so you do not risk moving them with a deluge of water.

Once the seedlings have developed a good set of leaves I will tip them out from the pot and start separating them. The aim is to break the soil apart softly and keep as much of the root of each seedling as intact as possible.

You can then pot them on into individual pots or a couple of seedlings per pot if you are running short!

Transplanting Calendula Seedlings
Transplanting Calendula Seedlings

I will then grow them on in pots until all risk of frost has passed. At this time they can be planted out in the garden.

If you have grown your Calendula in a heated area, such as a heated greenhouse or inside your home then you will need to gradually acclimatise them to outside life before planting out.

Benifits of Calendula

Calendula is edible and was commonly known as poor man’s saffron. This is because they can be used to colour food dishes in much the same way as saffron is, although they do not taste like saffron. The flower petals can be added to salads for a splash of colour.

Beyond being edible calendula flowers have been used for many hundreds of years as a herbal remedy.

It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties and is used in all sorts of things from topical creams to lip balms.

What is Calendula’s common name?

Calendula are known as pot marigolds. Despite this, they are not marigolds but the name stems from them looking very similar to marigolds and either commonly being used in pot cooked food dishes or the fact that they grow well in pots, depending on who you ask.

How to tell Calendulas and French Marigolds apart

There are a few easy ways to differentiate between the two plants.

French Marigold

The more common marigold is grown as an attractive flower and is not usually considered edible, although some varieties are. This is a whole other topic which is hotly debated and I’m not going to get into it here, for the sake of simplicity I will say they are not edible.

They are grown for their flowers and also as a pest preventive. Marigolds are commonly used in companion planting as they are believed to deter certain pests.

To Summarise

Calendula and Marigolds are from the same family of plants (Aseraceae) but are from different genera. French marigolds are from the Tagetes genus whilst pot marigolds are from the Calendula genus.

They have both been simply referred to as marigolds in the past but now pot marigold is the common name for calendula. To avoid any confusion though I think it is simply best to refer to them as calendula.



Hey, I'm Daniel. Having worked as a professional gardener for years as well as keeping a private allotment I decided to create this website to help spread my knowledge. I love gardening and hope to show you just how rewarding it can be!

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