Calendula is often used as a substitute for saffron and in Morrocan dishes. See Couscous . 'Pacific Giants' is sold by many seed companies, but it is not marketed as an herb. We have had excellent results with 'Erfurter Orangefarbige' sold by Johnny's Seeds and listed in their herb section. This cultivar is very productive and extremely hardy in Zone 4, making it an excellent choice for landscaping as well. We plant it in spring. If summer comes quickly, it will almost hibernate until fall. It, and Verbena, are often the only plants left blooming after the first few frosts.
1. Calendula officianalis--Pot Marigold -
Calendulas grow one to two feet tall and produce flowers of yellow and orange. They do best in full sunshine and a rather dry soil. The plants bloom most of the summer, but are intolerant of intense heat and may die out during periods of hot humid weather. The flowering season is prolonged when old flower heads are removed. Pot marigold can be used as a bedding plant or as a source of cut flowers. Space plants eight to ten inches apart.
The seed may be started indoors or be planted directly into the garden.
Germination takes 10 to 14 days at 70 degrees. Cover the seed with soil to exclude light.
Seeds sown in July bloom in late summer. When transplanting Calendula try not to damage
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State Univ. Home Horticulture Index
- 01700146, 01/01/96
2. Calendula officinalis - Penn State Directory of Herbs
Language and mythologyAlso known as Pot marigold, the ancient Romans named
this plant after they saw it bloom the first day or "calends" of every
month. For centuries this plant was associated with the sun and believed
to open with the sunrise and close with the sunset.
DescriptionCalendula has erect angular branched stems with fine hairs.
Flowers are rays in solitary terminal heads 1.5 to 4 inches across, yellow
to orange in color and close up at night. Leaves have grey-green margins
and are alternate, spatulate or oblanceolate with smooth to widely spaced
teeth. Leaves are also hairy and are 2.75 inches long. The fruit are
Plant type and hardinessHardy annual; hardiness zone 3-9.
Height and widthHeight 18 - 20 inches; width 10 inches.
Light and soilFull sun; average, well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0.
Pests and diseaseSlugs, snails, aphids, whiteflies, nematodes, beetles,
thrips, leafhoppers, caterpillars; mildew,leaf blight, stem rot, smut,
CultivationSow seeds in spring, plant 12-18 inches apart. Deadhead for
continuous flowering. Calendula will self seed.
Bloom time and color June - Sept.; yellow to orange.
HarvestingPick flowers when open and dry at low temperatures to preserve
color, or macerate the petals in oil. Pick leaves when young. Dry petals
on paper and in the shade to prevent sticking.
Herbal usesMedicinal, culinary, decorative, cosmetic.
Culinary: Flowers can be dried and ground and used as a good substitute
for the color saffron provides in soups, stews, and poultry. Flowers can
also be used for a culinary dye in butters and custards. Decorative: Dry
flowers can be used in arrangements. Calendula also makes a pale yellow
dye for fabrics. Cosmetic: Add to skin cream and also use in herbal bath
mix to stimulates the body. Calendula is said to have some medicinal uses.
Avoid use during pregnancy.
Source: Penn State Vegetable Crops