Direct sow in early spring once the soil temperature has reached 60℉ and danger of heavy frost has passed. Sow seeds thinly and cover with ¼” of soil. Thin seedlings to 16” apart when they have reached 1-2” tall. Plants can self-sow, so allow a few plants to set seed for blooms next season. Calendula grows best in evenly moist soil.
Cut flowers can be picked at any time, but will last longer if harvested when half open. The petals can be used fresh to decorate salads or cakes, or dried and added to soups and stews. The flowers are prized in arrangements.
Calendula is an annual that grows 10-12” tall. The flowers are daisy-like and bright orange or yellow. They are attractive to a variety of beneficial insects.
Planting Depth: ¼ inch
Soil Temperature: 60℉
Germination: 10-15 days
Plant Spacing: 16 inches
Row Spacing: 16 inches
Maturity: 30-50 days
Soil: Well-drained and loose
Growing Habit: Upright herb
Sun: Full sun
Flower Size: 2-2½ inches
Calendula has been grown since the 1600s. Ancient Greek, Roman, Arabic and Indian cultures used calendula as a medicinal herb and as a dye for fabrics, food and cosmetics. Today, the oil from the flowers is sometimes used for perfumes, and crushed stems, leaves, flowers and buds are used in preparations for skin problems. The flower petals can be used fresh to decorate salads or cakes, or dried and used to flavor stews or tea.
Connection to Extension
Calendula is one of the seeds offered by Strawbery Banke Museum through our free seed for education program.
This planting guide was created through partnership among Strawbery Banke Museum, New Hampshire School & Youth Garden Network, New Hampshire Master Gardener Alumni Association and UNH Extension Master Gardeners.