Can’t wait to get making your own balms? Or is there a vase just waiting for a flush of bright orange colour? Either way, you clearly need to know when you can harvest calendula, keep reading to find out!
When To Harvest Calendula?
Harvesting in the morning is preferred over-harvesting in the mid-day sun as the blooms will quickly dry and wither in the sun.
When harvesting your calendula as a cut flower to display then you should also take a few half-open flowers. These will then open in the vase and prolong your calendula display.
If you are taking the flowers for use as cut flowers then make sure to try and take as much of the stem as possible.
If you are harvesting to make your own balms then avoid flowers that are looking a little dated, you want the freshest flowers possible for this use.
Don’t worry about over-harvesting, calendula is a really proficient flowering plant and you will soon see lots of brand new blooms appearing.
With calendula it really is a case of the more you cut the more you get, so keep cutting!
If you want your plants to self-seed though and come back next year then you will obviously need to leave a few of the flowers to go to seed. You can read more about When To Collect Calendula Seeds Here.
Once you have finished harvesting your calendula you need to think about What To Do With Calendula In Winter.
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.
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 is commonly known as pot marigold. 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.
Calendula and Marigolds are from the same family of plants (Asteraceae) 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.