Calendula officinalis Pot Marigold

Height: 30-60cm (1-2ft)

Planting: distance 30-38cm (12-15in)

Features: flowers spring until first frost

Soil: well-drained, ordinary or poor

Site: sun

Type: annual

This is one of the easiest hardy annuals to grow and, with its glowing daisy-like flowers of orange, cream or yellow, one of the brightest. It flowers from late spring until the first frost.

The flowers and light green, lance-shaped leaves are used in cooking for colouring and to give a tangy flavour, hence the name pot marigold.

Most varieties are 60cm (2ft) tall, though 30cm (1ft) high dwarf varieties are also available. It is excellent for growing in borders, particularly those with poor soil. The long-stemmed varieties make good cut flowers as they last well in water.

Popular varieties:

All garden varieties are developed from Calendula officinalis. Below are some of the easiest to find.

TALL VARIETIES

‘Art Shades’ is a mixture of large, graceful flowers, coming in apricots, oranges, pale yellows and creams.

‘Indian Prince’ has large, semi-double flowers of very dark orange with a brown centre. Its glowing colour makes it ideal for cutting or bedding.

‘Kablouna Gold’ is a variety with bright yellow blooms characteriz.ed by deep brown centres.

‘Kablouna Mixture’ produces large, fully double flowers in a host of colours with attractive quilled petals in the centre of the blooms.

‘Lemon Queen’ has double, clear lemon-yellow flowers.

‘Pacific Apricot’ has large, double flowers of apricot with orange petal tips and mahogany centres.

‘Pacific Beauty’ is a mixture with double flowers in shades of orange, apricot, yellow and primrose. Some flowers are bi-coloured. All are carried on long stems.

‘Pink Surprise’ is unique in having pink-tinged, apricot blooms.

‘Radio’ has orange blooms resembling those of cactus dahlias.

‘Touch of Red’ has flowers in shades of orange, lemon and cream, each delicately tinged with red.

DWARF VARIETIES

‘Double Lemon Coronet’ has large, grapefruit-yellow flowers.

‘Fiesta Ghana’ is a mixture with masses of double, dark-centred flowers in shades of orange, yellow and cream.

‘Orange Gitana’ produces striking flowers of bright orange.

‘Yellow Gitana’ has blooms of golden yellow with brown centres and is ideal for bedding.

Cultivation

Pot marigolds thrive with little attention and under the worst possible conditions. If you want the best results, however, grow them in a well-drained, ordinary garden soil. Sow seeds in their flowering site in early spring for summer flowering, or in early autumn for late spring flowering.

Calendula officinalis ‘Orange Gitana’

Thin out to 30-38cm (12-15in) apart.

Deadhead to prolong the flowering season and prevent self-seeding-otherwise pot marigolds grow to weed proportions the following year.

Alternatively, collect the attractive seedheads and air-dry for use in dried flower displays.

Pests and diseases: Mildew and rust may develop on the leaves. In wet weather watch out for smut – dark irregular spots on the leaves. Caterpillars can be a problem.

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