Pot marigold, Calendula, is a joyful flower. The simple, daisy-like blooms in yellow and orange come in single, semi-double or fully double forms. These traditional cottage garden plants were often used in healing remedies and have added benefits as the petals are edible and they make good companion plants for vegetables. The nectar-rich flowers of calendula are known for attracting bees, predatory, aphid-eating hoverflies, and other pollinators. You can grow them at the front of borders and use them in containers and window boxes.
How to grow calendula
Grow calendula in moist but well-drained soil or compost. Keep plants well watered during dry weather sand collect seed in autumn to sow immediately or the following spring.
More on growing calendula:
Where to grow calendulas
For best results, grow calendulas in light, nutrient-poor, free-draining soil in sun or partial shade.
How to plant calendulas
Calendulas are easy to grow from seed. Sow under cover in autumn for early flowering the following year or in April. Or you can sow directly into the soil from late April. It takes up to 12 weeks from sowing to the first flowers.
Follow David Hurrion’s No Fuss video guide to sowing calendula and other hardy annuals, in a prepared seedbed:
How to propagate calendulas
Calendulas will often self-seed quite happily, and you can save seed at the end of the summer to sow the next season. However, the best way to ensure continuity of your favourite variety is to take cuttings in summer.
Calendulas: problem solving
Calendula are generally trouble-free, but some varieties may be more prone to mildew. Make sure you keep the soil around the plants weed-free and well-mulched to retain moisture.
How to care for calendulas
Deadhead spent blooms to prolong flowering and pinch out shoots to encourage bushy growth. If specifically growing for cut flowers, pinch out the terminal buds to encourage more flowers. Cut back after flowering.
Great calendula varieties to grow
- Calendula ‘Fruit Twist’ – produces bright orange flowers with red tips. It’s perfect for growing in pots on the patio and makes a delightful cut flower
- Calendula ‘Indian Prince’ – a slightly taller variety, growing to around 70cm, and makes a great cut flower. The orange, daisy-like flowers are tinged with a reddish-brown blush
- Calendula ‘Fiesta Gitana’ – an early-flowering dwarf calendula with semi-double flowers that are yellow or orange. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM)
- Calendula officinalis ‘Pink Surprise’ – has delicately ruffled, soft orange flowers, tinged with pink. It’s perfect for growing in pots on the patio and makes a good cut flower