Add magnificent bursts of color from mid-spring to early fall by planting calendula in your garden. Calendula is an herbaceous plant with healing properties, that attracts beneficial pollinators to the garden, repels garden pests, and is even an edible plant. It is considered an annual plant in most regions and produces a profuse amount of showy flowers when deadheading spent blooms is practiced. Check out this guide to learn more about calendula flower companion plants, benefits, and care information so that you can reap the rewards of a showstopping display in your garden landscape.
Calendula Flower Care Information
Calendula flower seeds germinate rather quickly and are easy to grow by directly sowing them in the garden bed. Sow calendula seeds directly into the ground, planting seeds ½ inch deep and 10 inches apart. Seedlings are quick to emerge within 5 to 10 days after planting. You can also get a jump start on your calendula flowers by starting seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost.
Calendula Soil Requirements
Calendula grows well nutrient-rich garden soil and needs very little maintenance to bloom and thrive throughout the growing season. When planting calendula, choose soil that is well-draining and falls somewhere between 6.0 and 7.0 on the pH scale.
How to Plant and Space Calendula Flowers
It is important to plant and space calendula flowers correctly in the garden. Plant calendula plants 8 to 12 inches apart and spaced 18 inches between rows. Proper spacing will help airflow, proactively combat against diseases such as powdery mildew and allow for the adequate spread of blooms.
How Much Light do Calendulas Need?
As you begin to care for your calendula flowers you may wonder, how much light do calendulas need? Plant cheerful calendula plants in an area of full sun that receives a minimum of 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. While these plants can withstand partial shade areas, you will get the most vigorous blooms in full sun conditions.
How to Water Calendulas
It is important to maintain moist soil both when you plant seeds and when plants are young. Over time, root systems will develop, and you can water them less frequently. Your area’s weather will dictate how you water calendulas, you may need to water calendulas every day until the roots are better established. As plants mature, they are more drought-resistant and require much less direct care. For best results and continuous blooms, deadhead spent flowers regularly.
Ideal Temperature and Grow Zone for Growing Calendula
You may be wondering, where can I grow calendula? Or possibly, is calendula an annual or a perennial? Calendula is a hardy perennial in planting zones 9, 10, and 11, but is most often used as an annual planting in USDA Grow Zones 2 through 11. This colorful bloomer thrives particularly well during the more mild days of summer, as they don’t seem to enjoy very hot weather.
Common Calendula Flower Pests and Diseases
Calendula flowers can be plagued with powdery mildew in damp conditions or in areas of high humidity. For the best chance of avoiding this devastating disease, space your plants adequately for proper airflow and be sure that your plants receive plenty of sunlight.
Powdery mildew can also be combatted with a mixture of a gallon of water, ½ cup of baking soda, and a few tablespoons of dish soap. Spritzing this mixture on calendula leaves at the first sign of disease will help to eradicate the fungus and keep it from spreading to other plants.
Luckily, common garden pests tend to be repelled by calendula plants, which is a prime reason they are sought after as companion plants in vegetable and flower gardens. Slugs are one of the most significant pests that seek to feed on these showy plants.
Calendula Flower Care
One part of your calendula flower care routine should be cutting back calendula plants and deadheading regularly for continuous blooming. This rewarding flower loves the sun but will reward gardeners immensely when the weather turns a bit cooler, creating a spectacular splash of color well into the fall. Calendula is a cold-hardy plant that withstands occasional frosts and will continue to thrive through the first hard freeze of winter.
As the growing season draws to a close, use care to leave some of the blooms intact so that their seeds can propagate for next season.
Calendula Companion Plants
Companion planting plants like calendula with vegetables and certain flowers can bolster each other and significantly improve your garden productivity. Calendula attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies to the garden, which are essential for plant reproduction.
Calendula is part of the marigold family and both have a reputation for protecting vegetable gardens from pests. They are touted for having a scent that deters rabbits from chomping on precious greens and masks the smell of other crops and flowers, providing a shield of protection from pests.
They have been beneficial against destructive:
- Potato beetles
- Flea beetles
- Corn earworms
- Japanese beetles
- Squash beetles.
Marigolds release a chemical into the soil that repels damaging nematodes as well.
Interplant calendula with:
The plant’s vibrant yellow and orange hues put on a show in the garden and can be beautifully paired with complementary colors of other flowers in the garden landscape.
Try interplanting marigolds with these flowers to achieve eye-catching appeal:
Collecting Calendula Flower Seeds
The seeds of the calendula plant are great for seed saving because they’re easy to collect and store, so you will never have to rebuy seeds or plants. First, even though you have been deadheading the plant all season, leave some blooms to dry out on the plant until all of the petals dry up and fall away. Watch the flowerhead as it transforms into green bulges, which are the seed pods of the plant. Be patient and wait a little while longer until the green crescents are all dried up, stiff and curvy. Gently remove them from the flowerhead and store them in a paper bag in a cool, dry place.
Calendula Benefits: Medicinal and Edible
Calendula is a flower you can eat, although some people find the taste somewhat bitter, the flowers and leaves of calendula can be used in salads and other recipes, both fresh or in dried form. Calendula blooms can be used in salads, stir fry, casseroles, soups, and rice. Calendula petals can also be dried and used as a seasoning, much like saffron. The plant is often regarded as a medicinal herb, and its oils have been commonly used in ointments. It is also known for having tremendous anti-inflammatory effects.
Recommended Calendula Varieties
- ‘Tangerine Cream’
- ‘Golden Princess’
- ‘Pacific Beauty’
- ‘Pink Surprise’