Plant of the Week – Calendula
Calendula is one of my favorite flowers. I plant them in and around my garden, intermingling them with the other companion flowering plants. I love the color, the texture, and look.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is an annual flowering plant in the Asteraceae family which also includes marigolds and sunflowers. It is considered a native plant in North and South America. Some varieties may be considered a noxious species.
Companion Planting with Calendula
As a companion plant, calendula reportedly repels several unwanted soil nematodes and may help repel asparagus beetles. On the downside, calendulas may attract slugs. Calendulas make good companions with tomatoes and asparagus. Calendulas also attract several pollinators.
Calendula in Herbal Medicine
Calendulas have traditionally been used as an anti-inflammatory and for healing wounds. The petals of the flowers are often used in soups and stews, to add color to salads and plate presentations. The golden petals were sometimes added to butter and cheese to enrich the color. Teas are often made with the flower petals.
Styles and Colors
Calendulas come in a wide variety of flower styles and a range of colors from a soft pink to deep orange. The plants are somewhat bushy and stand 12 to 18 inches tall. Some varieties can be used as cut flowers for decorating.
Planting and Care
Calendulas like cool weather and will not tolerate the long hot days of West Texas Summers. The answer to this problem is to plant in early spring and as soon as those plants begin to wither in the summer heat, prepare your bed and replant for another flowering in the late summer and fall.
Plant in healthy well-drained soil. Calendulas need water but don’t like to sit with their feet wet for long periods. Deadheading your calendulas will spur further flowering and extend your enjoyment of these beautiful flowers. To keep the plants from getting tall and spindly, pinch the plants back.
Does and Don’ts
Calendulas will do well in your garden companion planted with almost any vegetable plant. These useful plants will do well in pots and containers. They prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
Be aware that if you don’t deadhead your calendulas and let them go to seed, you will almost certainly have calendulas next spring if not in the fall. Collecting and saving the seeds is as easy as allowing a few of the flowers to develop seed heads and then snipping them off before they begin to drop.
Mix some Calendula into your garden and landscape. They provide an easy splash of color and can be used as part of your edible landscape or your food forest.