Dictionary of Flowers: Calendula Officinalis (English Marigold, Pot Marigold)

Calendula Officinalis (English or Pot Marigold). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Tero Laakso and Flickr
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Calendula Officinalis (English or Pot Marigold). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Tero Laakso and Flickr

  • Calendula Officinalis
  • Common name: pot marigold, English marigold
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Category: annual, short lived perennial in Z 7-11
  • Height: up to 24" 
  • Width: up to 24" 
  • Sun/part sun
  • Blooms: summer to fall
  • Attracts: butterflies, bees
  • Growth habit: clumping. Used as a filler in containers
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: average, free draining. Water regularly if grown in containers
  • Garden uses: containers, border, beds, herb garden
  • Diseases: disease resistant, powdery mildew in humid climates
  • Pests: grasshoppers, aphids

One of the easiest annuals to grow in the garden, calendula is a hardy annual native of southern Europe. 

The blooms resemble daisies, with yellow, orange or salmon petals and yellow or dark centers. They can be single, semi double or double. 

They act as perennials in USDA zones 7 and up, though is best to start plants in spring for summer bloom and in late summer/early fall for late winter/early spring bloom. 

They are easy to grow from seed, indoors and outdoors. 

The flowers are edible and they have medicinal properties.

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Calendula does best in full sun, but in areas with very hot summers, it might be best to plant them in a partly shaded location.

Pot marigold dislikes hot, humid weather. They are tolerant of average soils and require average watering.

Fertilize monthly with a balanced fertilizer and deadhead for continuous bloom and to prevent self-seeding if not desired. At the end of the growing season, allow plants to go to seed. Collect and store seed to plant next year. 

They are readily available in nurseries in spring. To grow from seed indoors, sow seed early in the spring in moist starting medium. The seeds should be planted about 1/4 inch deep. Seeds germinate fast, in about a week.

When plants are big enough to handle and danger of frost has passed, plant outside after hardening off.

They can also be sown outdoors, as soon as the last frost date in the same manner. Thin seedlings to 12 inches apart. Pinch back young plants to encourage bushiness.




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Calendulas’ main problem is powdery mildew in hot humid climates or when watered from above. To prevent it, it's best to water without getting the leaves wet.

It can be treated with an antifungal remedy.

If aphids become a problem, treat affected plants with insecticidal soap. Calendula is deer resistant.

Popular varieties:

  • Calendula officinalis 'Indian Prince' - deep orange, with a reddish brown tint. Long stemmed, ideal for cutting
  • Calendula officinalis 'Pacific Beauty' - yellow or orange flowers, semi double or double. Heat tolerant
  • Calendula officinalis 'Kablouna' - unusual variety with large flowers formed by a tufted center surrounded by crown of larger quilled petals. Colors range from cream to dark orange. Mildew resistant
  • Calendula officinalis 'Radio' - orange flowers have cactus like blooms. Tall variety
  • Calendula officinalis 'Calypso' - good variety for containers, double blooms in orange and yellow. Compact plant

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

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