Classy Calendula (Pot Marigold)

I’ve always been a big fan of the colorful pot marigolds (Calendula officinalis) out in the garden.  We use them in various locations throughout the gardens, in particular our herb garden and in some other seasonal displays.  At the top of the post is the variety ‘Pink Surprise’ and directly above is the selection ‘Orange Porcupine’ which are two of my favorites.  Flower colors are mostly in the orange and yellow range but some exciting shades of salmon, light pink and creamy white are available as well. Flowers can be single, semi-double or fully double with the darker flower centers offering contrast.

Thought to be originally native to Southern Europe, this member of the Asteraceae family has naturalized in many areas as it tolerates most soils.  Pot marigolds were thought to make it to North America in the 1600s.  Preferring full sun, pot marigolds can tolerate part shade but don’t like the intense summer heat and humidity.  They may languish during the toughest portions of the growing season but seem to enjoy the “cooler ends” of our active growing windows out in the gardens.  Consider cutting them back in late summer for a resurgence of bloom in early fall and removing spent blooms (deadheading) will contribute to continued flowering as well.  The flower florets are edible (as our the leaves – not tasty apparently) and typically used to add color to salads or as a garnish.  The term “pot marigold” apparently comes from the additional use of flower petals in soups and stews (tossed right in the pot).  The plant also has a long history in cheese making, as a dye plant and for myriad medicinal uses in ancient Greek, Roman and Middle Eastern regions.  Easy to grow from seed (flowers within 2 months), Calendula officinalis will frequently attain heights between 12″ and 24″ and pinching the plant back early will result in a bushier form with more flowers.  This tough annual is worthy of more consideration out in our sunny gardens.

‘Maayan Orange’ (above)

double Calendula mix (above)

unknown Calendula officinalis varieties (above and below)

‘Alpha’ (above)

‘Double White Shades’ (above)

‘Funky Stuff’ (above)

‘Apricot Twist’ (above)

CHEERS™ Orange (above)

CHEERS™ Yellow (above)

‘Lemon Twist’ (above)

‘Mandarin Twist’ (above)