When planning what annual plants I want in my garden, calendula is a no-brainer to add. It is a powerful wound healer and wonderful skin care herb and is a staple of my herbal medicine cabinet. And did I mention that the sunny yellow flowers are stunning ornamentals, too? Here’s everything you need to know about planting calendula and harvesting it for recipes.
There are many great reasons to grow calendula. besides them bright orange and yellow daisy-like flowers Bringing happiness to the garden, planting calendula attracts good insects like bees and butterflies while keeping unwanted pests away.
But most importantly, calendula has a longstanding reputation natural anti-inflammatory skin care treatment. It is easy to grow, harvest and dry in the home garden and is beneficial for use in recipes and DIY beauty products, a practice dating back to ancient history.
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Meet Calendula Flower!
calendula (calendula officinalis) Is part of the daisy family, Asteraceae, and is also known as pot marigolds. Although they are often called marigolds, they are not the same species of marigolds that you often find in garden centers. tagetes,
Calendula flowers open during the day and close at night when the sun sets. Culpeper called the flower “an herb of the sun”. And the bright yellow and orange colors sure feel like a bucket of sunshine in the garden.
Flower bloom from spring to autumn As long as you keep deadheading them constantly. The stalk will support flowers with many branches and oblong leaves. The plant has a characteristic sticky feel, thanks to the resin and other components it contains.
Calendula is often harvested for use in teas, tinctures, and oil and vinegar extracts. the early greeks and romans did Drink Calendula Tea for Upset Stomach Also add the flower to soups and stews to improve digestion. Bright colors were often used to dye clothing and cosmetics.
Most commonly, and historically, calendula has been used in the form of ointments, plasters, or poultices. treat wounds, It has antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, hemostatic and tissue healing properties to use for scrapes, cuts, burns, rashes, bruises, bites, itching, sunburn and fungal skin infections. The salicylic acid present in calendula also helps in relieving pain.
When taken internally, It is very good for the digestive system and is known to support the gall bladder and liver. Due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties, it may also act as an immune stimulant. When heated, it works as a diaphoretic by stimulating circulation and sweating.
how to grow calendula from seed
Calendula can be easily started from seed indoors or outdoors. To start seeds outdoors, the best time to plant them depends on the type of climate you live in, but a good rule of thumb is plant them right after the last frost of the season,
When planting calendula indoors, plant them about 8 weeks before you plan to move them outside to the garden and allow them to germinate in the dark for a week or two.
Plant the seeds about ¼” deep. Dwarf calendula should be spaced 8″ apart, while tall varieties should be spaced about 20″.
When growing calendula, the plant likes lots of sunshine And they can become leggy if they don’t get enough, so plant them in a bright spot, but not too hot.
calendula flower maintenance
During the hottest times of the year, Water calendula once a week To keep them shapely and encourage blooming. Otherwise, calendula can survive in dry conditions.
deadhead old flowers Prune regularly to encourage new growth, and reduce significantly if the plant starts to look wilted or otherwise unhealthy. At the end of the year it will come back healthy and bloom.
calendula can be a victim of powdery mildew, A fungal disease that can be identified by white spots on the leaves. As soon as you see an affected area of a plant, remove and dispose of it immediately to prevent the spread of the disease.
Calendula for Companion Planting
Many gardeners grow calendula in the vegetable garden attract pollinators and repel insects, Calendula contains the phototoxin alpha-terthienil, which protects against root-eating nematodes. Nematode-susceptible tomatoes do very well with companion-planted calendula.
You can also do this to prevent cabbage worms Plant calendula near cruciferous vegetables Such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. It is also reported that these fragrant flowers conceal the odor of vegetables, and protect them from insects that smell the vegetables from far and wide.
How to Harvest and Dry Calendula
Organically grown calendula flowers are the gold standard for medicinal plants, so you’ll probably want to preserve some for home use.
As long as you make sure you do this, you can have plenty of flowers to harvest from spring through fall. keep cutting flowers to harvest, The fresh or dried flowers are commonly used for medicinal reasons, but plucking them all takes time, so most people pluck the petals.
Harvest flowers when they are in full bloom and spread them on a screen or in a shallow basket to dry. The petals are ready when they feel papery to the touch. Keep these in an airtight jar and use in natural beauty recipes or teas.
I also like to Let some calendula flowers go to seed, where they form thick, crescent-shaped seeds. These are easy to collect and save for next year’s harvest.
use of calendula
I’m a big fan of calendula, so I have a lot of beauty and medicinal recipes in which I use calendula. for many of my recipes, I add dried calendula to the oil. I have step-by-step instructions for infusing calendula flowers, using either the cold or hot infusion method.
Calendula is also an edible flower, so you can also use fresh flowers as cake decorations or add petals to fresh salads.
Here are some tips from Garden Therapy that include calendula flowers:
Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Calendula
Calendula is an annual plant. The best way to ensure you have calendula for next year is to leave some of the ends of your calendula flowers to seed at the end of the season. These will turn into crescent-shaped seeds that you can store and plant in the spring.
Yes! Calendula has a slightly bitter taste that can be spicy or pungent. It is highly pigmented, so it can also give yellow color to the food.
Generally, calendula is safe for dogs and other animals. Like most plants, if a dog eats too many plants, it can cause an upset stomach. Calendula is also used to promote contractions during pregnancy, which can occur in humans and animals when ingested.
Break off the ends of the calendula and remove the stalks. Place the calendulas on a tray, drying rack or dish and wait for them to dry. Keep them out of direct sunlight and humid conditions. When the petals start to feel papery, you can store them in an airtight container.
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