Calendula is basically everything we wish we could be. It’s attractive, resilient, thrives off of neglect, and stays beautiful for the majority of the year when the rest of us turn into purple, crusty cabbages during the winter months.
Also known as “pot marigold”, calendula is not only an ornamental plant! But I won’t give anything away just yet. Today you’re going to learn about all of the other wonderful things that calendula has to offer! So buckle up and listen up, because you are in for a mildly interesting ride aboard the calendula express.
Once you type out the word calendula enough times, you’ll start to realize it’s really the only option for naming your firstborn. It’s a truly lovely word.
Table of Contents
- Calendula Officinalis
- Reasons to Grow Calendula
- Are calendula leaves edible?
- When do calendulas bloom?
- Are calendula plants resilient?
- Where does calendula grow naturally?
- Which part of calendula is medicinal?
- Will calendula grow in the shade?
- Is calendula poisonous to dogs?
- Can calendula survive the winter?
- Are calendula and marigold the same thing?
- Why are calendulas called pot marigold?
Just kidding. It’s not. But I figured I’d start you out with a pretty hilarious account of its historical uses. Before calendula was ever considered to be medicinal, it was used for magical purposes!
Say there was an unmarried woman who had the horrible dilemma of having two suitors to choose from. This woman would go and visit the town witch or warlock who would then whip up a special concoction — made from primary calendula simmered with wormwood, thyme, and marjoram, in honey and white wine elixir.
Once this unmarried woman drank this love elixir, apparently her true love would be revealed to her! Honestly, I would drink that potion simply because it sounds amazing.
This is actually true! Once people got out of their whole magician phase, they started to realize that calendula is actually tangibly good for you. Historically it has been used to treat both your insides and your outsides.
It’s soothing on your skin! It can help heal and soothe minor burns and scrapes and cuts when applied topically.
When ingested, it’s said to help relieve fevers, toothaches, headaches, abdominal cramps, and even constipation! Hallelujah!
A Little More About Calendula
This gorgeous little perennial is part of the Asteraceae family and is native to Macronesia, Western Europe, and Southwestern Asia.
The term calendula actually translates from Latin into “little calendar” or “little clock” or “little weather glass”. This could be because calendula is rather sensitive to weather patterns, and depending on how open or closed the flower is, it can indicate what kind of weather is approaching. Neat, huh?
Reasons to Grow Calendula
1. It’s Gorgeous and it Blooms Forever!
This incredibly vibrant flower blooms from June until sometimes later than November! Adding this plant to your garden will keep it striking and lovely long after the other plants have gone to sleep for the colder season.
2. It’s a Great Companion Plant
Calendula is an incredible plant to pair with your veggie patch or near your fruits. Why?
It’s an incredible flower for attracting pollinators. This not only helps the calendula itself, but it helps other plants in the garden that may struggle with attracting pollinators. And since calendulas are in bloom for such a long time, that’s a whole lot of extra pollen for the pollinators.
Not only this, it simultaneously repels certain pests and attracts other kinds of pests away from vulnerable plants. They attract ladybugs and hoverflies which are predatory to smaller pests. They also repel whiteflies away from tomatoes and lures away aphids with an enticing smell. Unfortunately for the aphids, calendula is poisonous to them.
One last benefit for the rest of your garden: their root system! The root system of calendula plants can act as a type of mulch. The roots are so fibrous and grow in thick, dense patches that it protects the soil.
3. They Attract Lepidopterans
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term Lepidoptera, this is the family to which butterflies and moths belong. So whether you’re more of a moon child or a sun child, you’ve got a beautiful winged friend to adorn your precious garden.
4. They Predict the Weather
This was briefly touched on earlier, but it’s such a cool factoid I just had to reiterate! Calendula flowers are super sensitive to weather conditions. If you pay close attention to how open or closed their flowers are, they will tell you what to expect without having to check the Weather Network!
When the flowers are wide open, you can expect a sunny day. If they’re closing up, it may be a good idea to postpone that picnic you were planning on account of it raining cats and dogs.
5. Calendula Can Be Used For Natural Dyeing
If you ever harvest a bunch of calendula flowers to brighten up your home, you should try out boiling a few of them to see what kind of color seeps out.
Historically calendula has been used as a natural dyeing property, specifically to color butters and cheeses. It’s still used today to dye clothes and paint colors as well!
6. Use Them For Homemade Cosmetics
Calendula is really good for you when topically applied. It’s quite easy to use calendulas when making homemade lotions, balms, or even use it to tint homemade makeup too!
Calendula leaves, flowers, oils, and stems can all be used when making your own tinctures and moisturizers, and whatnot.
7. They’re Medicinal
Calendulas have been used for herbal remedies for a long time. They’re very rich in vitamins and minerals. They also have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties too. Dried calendula is what is incorporated into other tinctures and balms to be taken either topically, or ingested. Having calendula in your garden is like have your own personal holistic pharmacy!
8. They are Incredibly Low Maintenance
And last but not least, calendulas require almost nothing from you. It seems a little bit uneven really, they provide so much for your garden and ask for almost nothing in return. Calendulas actually thrive in soils that are low in nutrients. So don’t use fertilizer on them! They don’t need it!
They also tend to perform quite well without too much water. Like I mentioned before, they are extremely resilient and thrive off of neglect. Calendula is a true superhero flower.
Are calendula leaves edible?
Not only are they edible, but they’re also good for you! Dried calendula leaves can be made into tea, used in making natural lotions and balms, and they make for a lovely garnish on a dessert or savory dish too!
When do calendulas bloom?
They can remain in bloom from early June all the way up until late November sometimes.
Are calendula plants resilient?
They most certainly are. You can pretty well ignore them for their entire existence and it won’t make a difference to them. They don’t need nutrient-rich soil and they don’t need lots of water. They make out pretty well with totally natural conditions.
Where does calendula grow naturally?
It was first endemic to places like Southwestern Asia and Northern Europe, but it is not cultivated all over the planet.
Which part of calendula is medicinal?
Every part of calendula can be used for medicinal properties or just for eating. Seeds, stems, flowers, roots, leaves, everything.
Will calendula grow in the shade?
Yes! It actually prefers to have a little bit of shade and a little bit of sun, but it will do just fine with almost any type of sun exposure.
Is calendula poisonous to dogs?
Not at all. Some people actually give calendula to their pets to ease anxiety or help with difficult poops.
Can calendula survive the winter?
They will lose their blossoms near the end of November and remain dormant if there is snow, but they’ll pop their little heads back up come early summer!
Are calendula and marigold the same thing?
No, they are not. They are both members of the sunflower family, but they are different genus’.
Why are calendulas called pot marigold?
This reference actually comes from renaissance festivals called the “Virgin Mary”. Calendulas would be in full bloom in a rich golden flower. Hence the name marigold.
Savanna Lentz hails from no place in particular. Having moved 30 times before the age of twenty, the constant change in environment has earned her expert status in all things homemaking. Whether it be interior painting and designing, baking, hosting charming dinner parties, or colour coating her collection of books, she is the cool kind of Stepford wife.
A double major in English Literature & Creative Writing has truly harnessed her ability for communication, and her knack for the strange and comedic has been read far and wide. Savanna loves contributing to any canon, from short fiction to music reviews, DIY projects to climbing lifestyle magazines. This multifaceted lady is a gemini ginger (oh god), and she has got something to say!