Calendula

AKA Pot Marigold

Scientific Name: Calendula officinalis

Light:  Full Sun to Part Shade

Zone:  2 to 11; grown as annual; winter hardy to zone 7.

Height:  1 to 2 feet

Width:  1 to 2 feet; space 9″ in landscape, 6″ for cut-flowers.

Flowers: May to June; Cream to bright yellow to deep orange

Fruit/Seed:

Fall Color:

Butterflies: Attracts

Birds:

Hummingbird:

Deer Resistant: Yes

Insects/Pollinators:  Attracts

Native:  No

Idea Garden:

Propagation:   Sow seeds outdoors a few weeks before the last frost in the spring, or start them indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Avoid warm propagation temperatures, as they will produce weak plants – 55 F to 60 F is optimal. Keep the seeds covered with soil, as light inhibits germination. Seeds should sprout in 7-14 days.  Start an additional set of seedlings in the summer for optimal fall flowering.

For earlier blooms and more robust plants, seedlings may be set out in the fall, 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost – approximately Labor Day.  Seeds should be started by mid-July for fall planting.  A single layer of floating row cover will protect the plants over the winter.

Seeds self-sow readily.  Leaving a few flower heads on the plants after they have faded will allow them to produce seeds that will scatter naturally in your garden.

Description

Calendula is grown in beds and borders for its daisy-like bright yellow to deep orange flowers.  It also works well in pots or as a cut flower.

The petals are edible and usually sprinkled like confetti on salad or soups.

Plants generally appreciate some part afternoon shade during our hot summers but become leggy in too much shade.  Pinch young plants to encourage compact bushy growth.  Plants are non-stop producers of blooms when dead-headed or harvested for cut-flowers regularly. If plants begin to languish during  summer, cut back to promote fall flowering.  

Plants may be started in the fall and overwintered for more robust plants and extra early blooms if they are protected with a single layer of floating row cover.

For cut flowers, grow a tall variety like ‘Pacific Beauty Series’, ‘Prince Series’ or ‘Princess Series’. Harvest when blooms are just beginning to crack open.  Flower support netting is beneficial to keep the blooms upright in the garden.  Because calendula tolerates cold weather, you can grow a spring and fall crop.

Cultivars/ Varieties

Cultivars expand the available flower colors to include many pastel shades and some bi-colors.  This is just a few of the many varieties available.

‘Art Shades’ Mix: flowers are bright variations of yellow and orange, in single colors or as bicolors. Showy dark brown centers provide an interesting contrast. Tolerates poor sites well.

‘Bonbon’ Series: very dense, pompom like flowers in shades of yellow and orange on dense, compact plants. Flowers earlier in the season than most Calendulas. Good for container growth.

‘Touch of Red’ Mix: flowers in shades of yellow and orange with red tipped petals.

‘Calypso’ Series: compact, dense plants are good for container growing. Flowers are double, and come in shades of orange and yellow. The flowers have dark colored centers.

‘Pacific Beauty’ Series: heat tolerant plants bear flowers in shades of yellow and orange on long, strong stems.

‘Prince’ Series: the best for cut flowers. Shades of yellow and orange flowers on long, strong stems. Heat resistant. Prolific flowers.

‘Princess Series’:  Bred for cut-flower production; golden yellow and orange flowers are 2-3″ with black or green centers; mostly double with some single blooms.

‘Kablouna’ Series: mildew resistant plants with flowers in shades of orange and yellow. Petals are arranged around tufted and pronouced centers.

‘Greenheart Orange’: orange petals are arranged around a large, lime green tufted center. Very different from typical Calendula flowers. Showy plants are 1 ½ to 2’ tall.

‘Radio Extra Selected’: very unusual cactus-like blooms are orange, with quilled petals. The plants grow from 1 ½ to nearly 2’ tall.

‘Prolifera’: flowerheads resemble hens-and-chicks.

‘Pink Surprise’:  Unique double flowered calendula, soft apricot petals with orange reverse and warm brown center.  Long stems make it excellent for cutting.

Sources

Calendula – Missouri Botanical Garden

Calendula – Cornell University

Calendula – North Carolina State Extension

Cool Flowers by Lisa Mason Ziegler

The Flower Farmer by Lynn Byczynski

Recommended for Wildlife by

Pot Marigold – Horticulture Magazine

Top 10 Flowers That Attract Bees – Birds & Blooms Magazine

Photos by

Beautifulcataya, CC BY-NC-ND – 2.0

Additional information

Zones

Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8

Light

Part Sun, Sun

Flower Color

Orange, Yellow

Flower Season

Fall, Spring

Wildlife Value

Deer Resistant, Nectar

Notable Features

Containers, Cut Flowers, Long Blooming

Local Availability

Available, Widely Available

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