Posted by Wayne Robinson
Pot Marigold

Pot Marigold, also known as Calendula is one of the easiest herbs to grow and will thrive in many garden situations. Plants will provide bright splashes of colour throughout the growing season (varieties ranging from oranges to red and even one variety bordering on almost white colour), and it is a very happy self-seeder around the herb garden.

The flowers have a far greater use than the leaf, which can be quite bitter in flavour. Fresh flower petals can be added to salad, soups, and teas with petals even incorporated in an omelette. Dried petals are also used in making soothing salves, soaps and many beauty products.

How, Where & When

Will cope with any garden situation, in borders, herb and sensory gardens too. They are happy with full or half shade and even when restricted to containers. Direct sow seeds in early April to a depth of 1cm and water the ground regularly. As soon as suitable conditions are reached, germination takes place 7 to 10 days later. Pot Marigold makes an ideal addition to the veg patch as it not only attracts bees/beneficial insects e.g. ladybirds which eat aphids but acts as a good companion plant by repelling whitefly & tomato worm away from tomatoes & luring aphids away from beans.

Distance

Thin out to avoid competition spacing 30cm apart.

Regular Care

Dead head spent flowers throughout the growing season, to allow new flower buds to flourish. Protect from slugs when seedlings are young and tender after which these plants are overlooked by the slugs. Water regularly and apply high potash feed once a week.

Harvest

Gather young flowers to use in baked goods and teas or to infuse oils for dressings.