How to Grow and Use Calendula

More Than Just a Garden Beauty: How to Dry, Use, and Grow Calendula

There are a lot of great reasons to grow Calendula. In addition to their bright orange and yellow daisy-like blooms which bring cheer to the garden, Calendula attracts good insects like bees and butterflies while deterring unwanted pests. But most importantly, Calendula has a long-standing reputation as a natural anti-inflammatory skin care treatment. It’s easy to grow, harvest, and dry in the home garden, and beneficial for use in recipes and DIY beauty products, a practice that dates back to ancient history.

How to Grow and Use Calendula

The early Greeks and Romans used to drink Calendula tea for upset stomach as well as adding the flower to soups and stews to improve digestion. The bright hues were often used to dye fabrics and cosmetics. Most commonly, Calendula was used in salves, ointments, or as a poultice for treating wounds. Calendula has been historically used for burns, cuts, bruises, and conditions that involve inflammation.How to Grow and Use Calendula

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is part of the daisy family, Asteraceae, and they are also known as pot marigolds. Many gardeners grow them in the vegetable garden to attract pollinators and repel pests. Calendula contain the phototoxin alpha-terthienyl, which protects against root-eating nematodes. Nematode-susceptible tomatoes do very well with companion-planted marigolds. You can also plant marigolds near cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts to deter cabbage worms. These fragrant flowers are also reported to mask the scent of the vegetables protecting them from veggie-sniffing insects far and wide.How to Grow and Use Calendula

How to Plant Calendula from Seed

Calendula can easily be started from seed, either indoors or out. To sow the seeds outdoors, the best time to plant them depends on what type of climate you live in, but a good rule of thumb is to plant them just after the last frost of the season. To start Calendula indoors, plant them approximately 8 weeks before you plan to move them outside into the garden and allow them to germinate in the dark for a week or two.

Plant the seeds about ¼” deep. Dwarf Calendula should be spaced 8” apart, while the taller varieties should be about 20” apart. Calendula like lots of sunlight and can become leggy if they do not get enough, so plant them somewhere bright but not extremely hot.

How to Grow and Use Calendula

How to Grow Calendula in the Garden

Calendula can survive in dry conditions, but during the hottest time of year water them once a week to keep them perky and encourage blooming. Deadhead old flowers regularly to promote new growth, and if the plant begins to look wilted or otherwise unhealthy cut it back quite drastically. It will come back healthier and bloom later in the year.

Calendula can fall victim to powdery mildew, a fungal disease that can be identified by white patches on foliage. Remove the affected area of the plant as soon as you notice it and dispose of it to prevent the disease from spreading.

How to Grow and Use Calendula

How to Harvest, Preserve, and Use Calendula

Organically-grown Calendula flowers are the gold standard for medicinal plants, so you will probably want to preserve some for home use. Harvest flowers when they are fully open and spread them out on a screen or in a shallow basket to dry. They are ready when the petals feel papery to the touch. Store in an airtight jar and use them in natural beauty recipes, herbal infused oils, or tea.How to use Calendula

You can also use the flowers fresh as cake decorations, or add the petals to a fresh salad.Calendula petals on salad

Here are some of the recipes on Garden Therapy that include Calendula:

 

 

 

About the Author : Stephanie RoseAn artistic gardener aiming to feed the body & soul through an urban potager garden & a community veggie plot in Vancouver.View all posts by Stephanie Rose

  1. Adrienne
    AdrienneJuly 29,17

    I am a big fan of calendula-mostly as a flower in my garden, but I do use calendula oil to treat minor abrasions and find that it works quite well! Your photos are gorgeous and I am finding myself envious of your garden.

  2. Elmer Jhones
    Elmer JhonesAugust 1,17

    I have grown calendula plant in my garden and it looks very beautiful. You have shared such a nice tips on calendula with growing tips and beautiful images. Keep sharing such an informative articles

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