By Liz Faermark, certified clinical herbalist
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is one of the easiest medicinal plants to grow from seed. It’s quick germination time inspires confidence in new gardeners. And it’s big, succulent early leaves make it easy to thin and transplant. You can harvest the bright yellow-orange blooms frequently to encourage more flower growth throughout the summer and early fall. The flowers can be dried and used to make herbal teas and infused oils. Read on to learn how to grow this versatile herb!
Calendula Growing Guide
- Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil for planting calendula seeds. Calendula can tolerate some shade, but it grows best in full sun.
- Prepare the soil by removing any unwanted weedy plants or debris, and then loosen the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches.
- Sow the calendula seeds directly into the soil, planting them about 1/4 inch deep and spacing them about 6-12 inches apart.
- Water the seeds gently but thoroughly, making sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Keep the soil consistently moist until the seedlings emerge, which should take about 7-14 days.
- Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them out to about 6-8 inches apart. This will give them enough space to grow and develop into healthy plants.
- Continue to water the calendula regularly, making sure the soil stays evenly moist. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.
- Deadhead the spent flowers regularly to encourage more blooms throughout the growing season. You can save the harvested flowers for use in herbal remedies, culinary applications, or as a natural dye.
By following these simple steps, you can easily plant and grow calendula from seed, and enjoy the beauty and benefits of this lovely medicinal plant!