Patsy Bell Hobson is blogging at Oh Grow Up! When not in the garden or on the road, find her in southern Missouri USA. Read more travel stories at Striped Pot. Find more garden, travel and random rants on her Facebook.
Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) is in the family Asteraceae. This annual, which is cultivated as an herb and can be grown easily in sunny locations and in most any kind of soil, typically produces flowers quickly from seed in golds, yellows and oranges. It is hardy to Zone 6 and is not frost tender.
Calendula comes in a variety of rusty oranges and yellows. While dead heading is not necessary, it will extend the bloom time with a flush of new flowers.
Medicinally, this herb is used to treat burns and open wounds. American Civil War physicians preserved the juice from aerial parts of the plant with a bit of alcohol to use on the battlefield. World War I battlefield doctors poured boiling water over dried flower heads and applied the mixture to soldiers’ wounds to prevent infection and inflammation.
Pick calendula flowers or dead head to encourage more growth. Use the flowers fresh or dry them for later. To dry, cut the flower heads off and spread them out in a shady spot. I use cookie cooling racks and space out the blooms, turning occasionally until they're dry. Once the flowers are papery dry, store in moisture-proof canning jars or Zip Lock bags, away from light.
Calendula is drought tolerant.
This is an easy flower to grow. Start early indoors or sow seeds in gardens. Calendula is not fussy, requires little attention and seldom shows any sign of insect damage or disease. Make room for this flower in the herb garden for a splash of repeating color.
Find calendula-infused beauty recipes for shampoo, hair rinses and salves at Renee's Garden. (The salve moisturizes hands with olive oil and vitamin E.)
These sun-loving herbs are an excellent addition to any herb or vegetable garden.
Photos by Patsy Bell Hobson
Seed Packet Giveaway
Renee's Garden has agreed to give away a packet of calendula seed to three lucky Herb Companion readers. Read Renee's Blog or visit her website, Renee's Garden, to order seeds from her online seed catalogs. You will also find great how-tos and gardening tips on her website.
HOW TO ENTER
• Post a comment telling us how you use calendula, or what kind of calendula you grow in your garden.
• End date: August 10, 2012 (12:00 a.m. Central Time) UPDATE: Time's up!
The winners have been contacted. They were chosen using Random.org. Thanks to everyone who entered my Garden Giveaway! Watch out for even more giveaways.
Thanks again to Renee's Garden.