Discover the Vibrant and Versatile Calendula: A Guide to Growing, Harvesting, and Enjoying these Beautiful Edible Flowers


Calendula, also known as marigold, is a versatile and beautiful addition to any garden. With its bold orange petals and brilliant coloring, it is sure to catch the eye of any passerby. But did you know that calendula is not just a pretty face? It is also an edible flower with a peppery flavor that can add a touch of elegance to any meal.

Growing calendula is a great idea for both experienced gardeners and those new to gardening. These plants are easy to grow and require minimal care. They are hardy and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions, as long as it is well-draining. Calendula plants need sunlight to thrive, so be sure to place them in a sunny window or outdoor spot where they will get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.

When it comes to watering calendula, less is more. These plants do not like to be over-watered and can suffer from root rot if they are planted in soil that is too moist. It is best to water them sparingly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Adding a layer of mulch around the base of the plants can help retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.

One of the great things about calendula is that it produces a continuous bloom throughout the growing season. The more you deadhead the spent blossoms, the more flowers will appear. Deadheading is the process of removing faded blooms to encourage new growth. This will not only help maintain the beauty of your calendula, but it will also prolong the flowering period.

Calendula plants have relatively few problems with pests and disease, making them a low-maintenance choice for your garden. They can, however, be susceptible to thrips, a tiny insect that feeds on the foliage. If you notice any damage or discoloration on the leaves, it is important to act quickly to prevent the spread of thrips. Applying an organic insecticide or introducing natural predators, such as ladybugs, can help protect your calendula plants.

In addition to their ornamental value, calendula plants have a variety of uses. The petals can be added to salads and soups, used to flavor tea or infused in oil for medicinal purposes. Calendula oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties, making it a popular choice for treating skin conditions such as eczema and sunburn. Whether you use calendula for its beauty or its benefits, it is a plant that is sure to enhance your garden.

“Calendula is not just a beautiful flower, it is also a tasty addition to any meal.” – UF/IFAS

How to Grow Calendula

Calendula, also known as marigold, is a brilliant and bold flower that is not only beautiful but also edible. Growing calendula is relatively easy, as it is a hardy plant that can tolerate a variety of conditions.

To grow calendula, start by selecting a sunny spot in your garden or a sunny window sill if you are growing it in a container. Calendula plants thrive in full sun, so make sure they have at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.

Calendula prefers well-drained soil, so make sure the soil in the planting area is loose and well-drained. If your soil is heavy or poorly drained, adding compost or organic matter can help improve its texture and drainage.

When it comes to watering calendula, they prefer moist soil but can tolerate some drought once established. Water the plants deeply once a week, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Avoid watering from overhead, as wet foliage can lead to fungal problems.

Calendula plants do not require much fertilizing. If you want to give them a boost, a light application of organic fertilizer, such as compost or seaweed solution, in the spring should be sufficient.

Propagation of calendula can be done by seed. Sow the seeds directly into the garden in the early spring, as calendula is a cool-season plant. Make sure to keep the soil consistently moist until the seedlings emerge. Once the seedlings are large enough, thin them out, leaving about 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) of space between plants.

Pruning is not necessary for calendula, but you can deadhead the spent blooms to encourage more flowering. Simply snip off the faded flowers at the base of the stem. This will also help prevent the plants from self-seeding and taking over the garden.

Calendula is known for its many beneficial uses. The flowers can be used to make herbal salve, added to salads or soups for a pop of color, or dried for use in teas or potpourri. The dark green foliage of calendula is also a great addition to floral arrangements.

In terms of problems, calendula is relatively pest and disease-free. However, they can be susceptible to aphids and powdery mildew. If you notice aphids on your plants, simply spray them off with water or use an organic insecticidal soap. Powdery mildew can be prevented by providing adequate air circulation and avoiding overhead watering.

In conclusion, growing calendula is a rewarding and easy gardening project. With their brilliant and bold flowers, calendulas will add beauty to your garden and can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you want to enjoy their edible petals or use them for medicinal purposes, calendula is a versatile and lovely plant to have in your garden.

What is Calendula

Calendula, also known as marigold, is a quick-growing annual flower that is easy to grow and has a variety of uses. It is often used in the garden as a companion plant to help deter pests and attract beneficial insects.

One of the main benefits of growing calendula is that it is edible. The flowers have a peppery flavor and can be used in salads, soups, and as a garnish. They can also be used to make calendula-infused oils and creams for medicinal purposes.

When it comes to growing calendula, there are a few common problems that you may encounter. One of the most frequently asked questions is how to keep calendula plants healthy and free from diseases.

Calendula plants are relatively disease-resistant, but they can still be susceptible to a few common diseases. One disease to watch out for is powdery mildew, which can be treated with organic fungicides or by ensuring good air circulation around the plants.

Another disease that can affect calendula is downy mildew, which thrives in moist conditions. To prevent this disease, make sure to water your calendula plants deeply and avoid getting the foliage wet.

Calendula plants require full sun to thrive, so make sure to choose a sunny spot in your garden to plant them. They can tolerate some shade, but they will grow better and produce more flowers in a sunny location.

When it comes to watering calendula plants, it’s important to strike a balance. They don’t like to be watered too much or too little. It’s best to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Water the plants deeply and allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again.

Calendula plants are known for their bold and brilliant flowers, which can vary in color from bright yellow to deep orange. The flowers are often used for their decorative purposes in the garden, and they can also be harvested and dried for indoor decorations or for use in culinary dishes.

Harvesting calendula flowers is easy. Simply wait until the flowers are fully open and the coloring is at its brightest. Then, cut the flowers off the stalk, leaving a short stem attached. The flowers can be used fresh or dried for later use.

In addition to their beauty, calendula flowers also have some medicinal properties. They can be used to treat skin problems, such as cuts, scrapes, and wounds. The flowers can be made into a salve or infused in oil to create a natural healing remedy.

To preserve the flowers and extend their shelf life, you can dry them yourself. Hang the flowers upside down in a dry, well-ventilated area for about two weeks, or use a dehydrator to speed up the drying process.

Overall, calendula is a versatile and easy-to-grow flower with a long history of use in the kitchen, garden, and for medicinal purposes. With a little care and attention, you can enjoy the bold and brilliant blooms of calendula in your outdoor space.

Calendula Growing Requirements

Calendula is a versatile flower with several varieties to choose from. It has specific needs when it comes to growth, and understanding these requirements will help you cultivate healthy and vibrant calendulas in your garden.

First, consider the space where you plan to grow calendulas. They can be grown outside in the garden bed or in a container. If you have limited space, growing calendulas in a container is a suitable option. Container-grown calendulas require fewer square feet and can be easily moved around to ensure they receive the right amount of sunlight and temperature.

When planting calendulas, you can use either seeds or young transplants. Transplants offer a head start, while seeds take longer to grow. Whichever method you choose, make sure to plant them in well-draining soil. Calendulas prefer a moist yet well-drained environment for optimal growth.

Calendulas are quite low-maintenance, so they are perfect for gardeners who are just starting out or those who don’t have much time to tend to their plants. However, they still require some care to ensure their best growth. Deadheading, or removing the spent flowers, helps the plant produce more blooms and prevents pests like thrips from infesting your plant.

Speaking of pests, calendulas may attract aphids and other pests. To fend off these unwanted visitors, you can use organic insecticidal soap or make your own homemade spray using ingredients found in your kitchen. Regularly watering your calendulas will also help keep pest infestations at bay.

Calendulas are relatively disease-resistant, but they can still suffer from diseases like powdery mildew. To prevent diseases, make sure to space your calendula plants apart. Good air circulation helps prevent the spread of diseases between plants.

Another characteristic of calendulas is their ability to bloom throughout the growing season. By deadheading them regularly, you can encourage continuous blooming well into late frost. This makes calendulas a great choice for gardeners who want a bold and striking flower in their garden.

Growing calendulas is not only beneficial for aesthetic purposes but also for medicinal purposes. Calendula flowers can be used to make salves and ointments that have soothing properties for skin irritations. They are also edible and can be used as a garnish or added to salads for a pop of color.

In summary, some of the calendula growing requirements include a well-draining soil, sufficient space, regular watering, and deadheading. They are low-maintenance plants that are resistant to pests and diseases, making them an ideal choice for both beginner and experienced gardeners. Whether you grow them for their medicinal properties or their beautiful blooms, calendulas add vibrancy to any garden setting.

Photo: What more can we suggest? Calendulas are a single-headed flower with many benefits for gardeners!

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.