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?
Calendula as a Companion Plant
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.
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.
While they grow quite large Calendula don’t normally need support and can be left alone, this is because of their bushy nature.
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.
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.
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.