Calendula Officinalis is absolutely one of our favorite annual flowers to grow in the garden! Ok but first, it’s technically not a flower. It’s a flowering herb. Also, sometimes calendula is referred to pot marigold, but those are actually a different plant. So just to be clear, we are talking about the REAL calendula! ;)
Calendula is an annual herb that thrives in pretty much any soil. It’s grown as an annual but, it can be considered a short-lived perennial in warmer climates (Zones 8-10), which includes us! In our own gardens, it grows from early spring thru November! You can find lots of varieties of calendula, with shades ranging from orange to yellow, to “strawberry blonde” and so on! Some of our favorite varieties are Zeolights, Strawberry Blonde + Bronze Beauty. But to be honest, we love ALL calendula because of its many benefits!!
Before we dive into the bennies…let’s talk GROWING.
This is literally an EASY herb to grow from seed. The seeds themselves look a bit prehistoric, kind of a moon shape with very defined ridges.
To plant: We like to scatter the seeds in our garden, and run our fingers thru the soil afterwards like a rake (but free, and attached to our bodies, with other uses LOL), so that the seeds are lightly covered. And guess what. That’s it!
Sun or Shade? They thrive in full sun or part shade, but sunshine is really its jam.
Keep those blooms coming all season long!! How, you ask? You can deadhead the flowers as they lose their petals, which will help them producing those beautiful blooms.
Want to save seed (and save $$$)? It’s SO easy with calendula!!!
Leave a few dried seed heads alone until they’ve turned brown and look dry. Snip the seed heads (yes, that means you will be decapitating them) and put into a paper bag, mason jar, something like that. You can shake the container and let the seed heads naturally fall off, but they’re pretty easy to pluck off once they’ve dried on the seed heads too. We store our seeds in packets, or envelopes, sometimes jars, but always away from sunlight. Like in a cabinet, closet, etc.
Hopefully this sounds easy enough, but we’ll make sure to do a couple of IG stories and maybe a post later this summer/fall on how to save seeds!
Ok now let's get down to the real real. Real Reasons WE love to grow Calendula
- Easy to Grow & Low Maintenance
- Calendula is absolutely beautiful!!!
- The pollinators love it!
- Flowers + leaves are edible - enjoy in salads, bone broth, herbal butter, tea, quiche, cookies, shortbread, etc.!
- Healing* properties - Soothing for skin, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-fungal, astringent, anti-microbial, wound healing +++++
- *Note that we are not medical doctors so please do your research before using or better yet, check with your doctor.
How do WE use calendula??
- Calendula-infused oil (dried petals) - this is the foundation for making your own skin care items like herbal salves, lotion bars, cream, etc.!
- Herbal Salves - either Calendula focused or infused with other skin healing herbs (also grown in our gardens) like: plantain, comfrey, yarrow, dandelion, self-heal, CBD, basil
- Calendula Lotion Bars (dried petals)
- Herbal Butter (fresh petals)
- Calendula Tincture (dried petals)
- Add to chicken feed (lots of benefits for the feathered babies!)
Are you convinced yet? (wink, wink)
Ok so also, we are absolutely not trying to re-create the wheel. We just want to share our love of plants with you but also share the resources we ourselves use! So that being said, here are some great resources we personally use when it comes to growing, harvesting, using & learning about calendula!
The Nerdy Farm Wife: herbal remedies (soaps, salves, lotion bars, etc.); she has several eBooks that are amazing too!
Grow Cook Forage Ferment: Colleen Codekas, the creator of GCFF, used to live in Oregon first of all. Woot! She's got a surplus of recipes, tutorials, plant guides, all are super easy to follow! We honestly refer to her website ALL THE TIME. She's also written some books, we've got Healing Herbal Infusions and have made several recipes so far!
Homestead and Chill: You might know her as Deannacat on IG! She grows magical things and has taken the time to really explain how and why on her website. We've made lots of edible recipes and also read and re-read her calendula posts countless times!