General Information

Scientific Name: Asteraceae Asteroideae Calendulae Calendula officinalis
Common Names:  pot marigold
Zones ?
perennial, but frost killed.  Also self seeds if allowed to mature.  Effectively an Annual
Growth Habit: Central stalk with some branching
Height: 1-2 feet
Permaculture Designation: Flowering beneficial, Medicinal, herbaceous layer


Grew 4 calendula from seeds started indoors.  They didn’t really seem to thrive there by the driveway, and it could be from the transplant shock.  I’ll try direct seeding next season.  I did get 5-6 flowers from it, which my wife deadheaded for me.  They’re still growing, so it’s possible I’ll get some more.

Also, these medicinal herbs are a little shorter in height than the others I’ve written up so far, so that gives another height layer to a medicinal herb plot.


It’s listed as a short term perennial, but will die with any freeze, so effectively, it is an annual in most of the US.  Sow seeds directly in the ground after last frost in the spring through the year into Fall.  Not a very picky plant, but does require consistent watering.  The seeds are interesting little things, all warped around and spiky – unmistakeable once you’ve seen them.


Medicinal uses include topical salves for wound healing.  Sometimes taken internally for inflamed or infected mucous membranes.  Harvest the flowers at their peak before they set seed.  Doing so encourages more flowers, whereas letting the flower go to seed effectively “seals the deal” for the plant, and it dies off.  Also, harvesting flowers in the hottest part of the year seems to increase resin content.

Dry the flowers face down out of sunlight, and wait for them to get brittle.  Store the whole flower after completely dried, or remove the petals and store for later use.

Calendula petals can also be used as garnish for salads, but don’t impart much in the way of flavor.

Links to sites consulted:

The best information on growing and uses came from root simple and organic gardening.

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