The vivid yellow-orange flowers are highly attractive. As a companion plant, it shares many of the attributes of its close cousin - true marigolds, it repels some garden pests and over time will attract beneficial nematodes. It is also viable as a trap crop for aphids.
Calendula flowers are prized by herbalists for their documented medicinal properties. Compounds in the Calendula plant fight inflammation, viruses, and bacteria. Calendula has been shown to help wounds heal faster. It is also used to make topical skin creams. [University of Maryland Medical Center]
In the culinary realm Calendar Tea is a tasty and healthy tonic that is increasing in popularity. Calendula is used in salads.
As an herb, Calendula can be used in place of saffron and it is used as a coloring agent in butter and cheese.
Calendula is an extremely easy plant to grow. They are highly adaptable to multiple environments and are considered low maintenance. They will grow in full sun or partial shade. They are frost tolerant, but will not fare well in extreme heat, they do best in the cooler weather of spring, early summer and autumn, not so much the dog days of mid summer. In fact, in hot summer weather the flowers will sometimes drop, and then re-grow when cooler weather returns.
Once established, calendula is reasonably tolerant of drought.
Deadheading doesn't mean you should subject your plants to Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, not that that's a bad thing. Deadheading is the removal of flowers before they go to seed, preventing the plant from setting seed, it will automatically produce new flowers and continuously try to produce seed before its life cycle ends.
During the growing season it is a good idea to pinch the plants back ever so slightly from time to time. This will serve to produce a bushier and more attractive calendula plant as opposed to a tall spindly top heavy one.
When allowed to set seed, Calendula easily re-seeds itself. Allowing at least some of the healthiest plants to go to seed towards seasons end will help to produce another batch of Calendula plants for the following season.
Plants can be started indoors in cell packs , peat post or any viable container. They can also be direct seeded in the garden area. No rocket science here, simply bury them less than a 1/4 inch deep and lightly water.
Fertilizer ? yeah, sure why not - but not absolutely necessary. If you are going to fertilize use a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorous, which promotes blooming.
Naturally , well draining soil is best, but calendula will also survive in poorly drained soil. It's not going to grow in a swamp, but will still grow in poorly drained soil. Overwatering calendula plants can easily lead to root rot.
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