Plant calendula and spread a little happiness in your garden next year.
Calendula(Calendula officinalis) is one of the easiest herbs to grow as it can tolerate many soils, and is drought resistant. Calendula grows up to 24 inches and they make great border plants. Just find a spot that could use a bit of color.
Sow your seeds in Spring after the threat of frost. Calendula does best in a sunny location, but can be planted in a partially sunny location as well. Place two to three seeds per hole. Once they are at least 5 inches tall, thin if necessary. Be sure to weed when necessary. Adding an organic mulch can help cut down on weeds. Your seeds that you plant in April will have flowers by early to mid June depending on your location. These beautiful orange, edible flowers will last until well after the first frost of October (here in New England). Some may even last until the first snowfall.
A Little History
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) has both medicinal and culinary uses. The plant has been used for thousands of year.
The parts used are the petals and flower heads. The petals can be picked to put in a salad. The petals can also be picked and dried to infuse into an oil. While you can use fresh petals to infuse into oil, they should be wilted at least 24-48 hours first. The moisture in the petals can cause the oil to go rancid and grow mold very quickly. The more vivid the color, the higher is the level of active medicinal ingredients. Calendula is great for healing wounds, dry skin, dermatitis and even diaper rash.
While it is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia, calendula has been cultivated worldwide as a popular item in home gardens. It attracts bees for pollination and keeps harmful insects away from other plants. The herb is an annual, growing to about two feet in height with vivid orange to yellow flower heads similar in structure to the daisy. If let to go to seed, you can collect the seeds for the following year. If the seeds are not collected, they will winter over and grow next spring.
The herb Calendula was named by the ancient Romans. They observed that this beautiful plant was in bloom on the first day of every month. The ancient Romans looked upon the plants nonstop-blooming as a symbol of joy and cultivated it in their gardens to spread happiness. The regular supply of fresh petals and young leaves contributed to its frequent use.
For more details about Calendula, visit our herbal encyclopedia’s Calendula page.