Want to grow your own calendula, maybe as a cut flower or perhaps to make your own balms, but unsure of when to plant it? Then this guide to when to plant calendula is for you!
When To Plant Calendula?
When sowing in late April and throughout may you can usually direct sow calendula seeds where they are to grow.
You can also sow calendula in September and October and overwinter them ready for a really early spring display next year.
Overwintered calendula can be in full bloom as early as May and sometimes even April depending on the weather that spring.
You can direct sow some Calendulas in Autumn and they will survive outside over winter. There are a lot of factors that go into this and not least is your location.
Where I am up in the Pennines in Northern England doesn’t really allow for this. Don’t panic though if you are in a similar location to me, just grow your calendulas in a pot and put them in a greenhouse over winter. You can then plant them out into the garden in early spring.
Another factor is the variety of Calendula grown, for the best chance of overwintering your plants grow “Indian Prince”.
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.
And even if you don’t find the perfect spot then don’t worry, calendula can always be transplanted!
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.
They are also a very good plant for attracting bees into your garden.
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.