Growing Marigolds (Calendula Officinalis)

| 11/30/2010 12:00:36 PM

H.CardenasHeidi Cardenas is a freelance writer and gardener in Lake County, Illinois, with a background in human resources. She has written about gardening for various online venues and enjoys The Herb Companion’s valuable resources. 

Calendula officinalis, or pot marigold, is an herbaceous annual or perennial plant related to daisies and asters. It is native to Macronesia, the Mediterranean and Iran. Calendula is not the same as the more familiar French marigolds, annuals with pungent foliage and orange and yellows flowers, and other marigold varieties. It is a separate species of flowering plant that grows in a small clump with fragrant lance-shaped leaves; it produces flowers that resemble large yellow and orange daisies.

11-30-2010-calendula officinalis
Calendula is different than the more familiar French marigold.
Photo courtesy
Wikimedia Commons 

Calendula needs a sunny location with rich soil to grow well and sprouts quickly in the warm late spring garden. Both flowers and leaves are edible and make tasty additions to mixed salads or colorful garnishes for lunch and dinner plates. (Discover delicious Calendula officinalis recipes.) 

Calendula flowers have many healing properties. They are used as teas for stomach ailments, to relieve hemorrhoids, to soothe infected eyes and for healing skin irritations. Calendula was used in ancient Greece and Rome in cooking and medicine. The name of the flower comes from the Latin word kalendae, from which the word calendar is derived, because it could be found blooming at the beginning the month. Calendula has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, astringent and wound healing properties. Use calendula salve on dry lips and skin, blemishes, burns, slight scrapes and cuts. While there are a multitude of commercial cosmetic creams and lotions available, it is easy to make a rich, soothing calendula salve in your own kitchen.

Make a Calendula Salve