Calendula officinalis

Family: Asteraceae

Countries: Europe, Spain

Calendula officinalis, is a short lived perennial, (it’s usually treated as a hardy annual) which can be sown outside, directly where you want the plant to flower.  I find that March through until June is usually the best time to sow seed of Calendula in the UK; although seeds of Calendula officinalis can also be sown from mid August to September and October, when they’ll overwinter, for earlier flowering the following spring.

I find that once my plants have flowered, those that manage to make it through to the following year are usually rather battered and look quite tatty, so I always sow fresh seed each year and discard my plants after flowering/collecting seed.

Plants do self seed a little; I wouldn’t call it invasive, but I usually find the odd Calendula officinalis plant self seeded here and there – but don’t let that put you off, this wonderful plant is easily sown, easily grown, and easily lifted if you don’t want it after all!  After you’ve grown Calendula officinalis once, you will be able to collect your own seed, for future sowings.

Calendula officinalis is popular with bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects.  It also makes a pretty cut flower.  The more you pick Calendula, the longer your plants will flower for, which is rather wonderful; I like to feel virtuous while I am picking flowers!

This drought tolerant plant is easy to grow, Calendula officinalis has a great many uses!  Calendula officinalis is an edible flower; its petals can be sprinkled over salads.  Calendula can be used to add an orange colour to dishes, or it can be used in place of saffron.  You can also use the petals of Calendula officinalis to dye and colour fabrics.

Calendula officinalis is a medicinal plant, which can be used for all manner of healing treatments; it can be used in creams and lotions and in all manner of preparations.  Calendula is said to offer many benefits to the skin, it’s a widely ingredient in skin creams.  If you’re interested in making your own skin care products, you can use Calendula officinalis to formulate all manner of balms, creams and lotions.

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