Plants - Annuals

Cultivate skin-soothing calendula

Packed with antioxidants, pot marigold works hard in the garden and on your skin.

Calendula, also known as English or pot marigold, is a heady flower, containing potent, active healing antioxidants. Grown in your garden, cultivars of Calendula officinalis grow quickly and are available in a wide spectrum of bright, golden hues. Plant your own with these garden and container growing and harvesting tips.


  • Soil: Well drained; Pot marigold can tolerate poor soil with low nitrogen
  • Moisture: Average to dry
  • Condition: Thrives in full sun to part shade
  • Zone: USDA 3–10; Prefers moderate to cool temperatures and can tolerate light autumn frosts
  • Bloom time: Late spring and lasting through to autumn

Container tips: Use a light, organic potting soil. Ensure that you do not overwater.

Calendula care: Deadheading of spent blooms will prolong flowering. Their stems are long—30 to 75 cm—which makes calendula an excellent cut flower. Pick when blooms are partially open.


Any plant with officinalis in its name refers to one used for medicinal purposes, says Canadian Gardening magazine’s senior horticulture editor, Stephen Westcott-Gratton. To harvest C. officinalis for medicinal use, pick when blooms are fully open. First, cut the stem just above the leaf node, and then cut the flower head off the stem. Ensure that you wash the calendula petals before consuming (and be sure they haven’t been sprayed with any harmful pesticides). Dry upside down on a screen out of the sunlight. The centres will take longer to dry than the petals.

Health benefits

It’s important to note that people with ragweed allergies, pregnant women and patients on blood-thinning medication should stay away from chamomile, as it’s reputed to cause irritation.

Use topically for its skin soothing properties
  • Calms burns, bruises, stings, infections and inflammation
  • Moisturizes dry, sensitive skin

Did you know?
Calendula’s bright blooms are also edible! Once you’ve dressed your salad, add some petals for colour and taste.


Read more in Plants and Annuals

  • Page 1: Ornamental and good for your health

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