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Growing & Using Calendula

Calendula is an amazing herb and flower.  Beautiful, healing, useful, and edible.  It’s one of my favorite floral blooms in the garden and something I plant much of every year. If you’ve got some or are wanting some here are some tips to growing and using calendula.

Growing and using calendula is easy and rewarding.It self-seeds in most climates and has culinary, medicinal, and beauty product uses.

Growing Calendula

Seeds can be sown directly into the ground a couple weeks before the last frost or started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost.  I always start my seeds in the greenhouse.  They like full sun but will tolerate partial shade.  I grow a few in pots on the porch but can say that the ones grown out in the garden with full sun do much better.

Harvesting Calendula

When harvesting calendula, it’s the petals we’re after.  Cut blooms when they’re open and supple – not at all wilted or starting to dry.  You can use the calendula fresh or dry it for future use.  To dry, simply lay out on a shelf or tray until the leaves are crisp.  Pull the petals off the plant and store them in a jar until ready to use.

Growing & Using Calendula - Homespun Seasonal Living

Saving Calendula Seed

Growing & Using Calendula - Homespun Seasonal Living

Allow the flowers to bloom and die back.  The seed heads will form here.  I leave them on the plant until quite brown then pull off and harvest all the ‘c’ shaped seeds.  Keep the seeds in a dry, cool place until ready to replant.

Growing & Using Calendula - Homespun Seasonal Living

Using Calendula Medicinally

Growing & Using Calendula - Homespun Seasonal Living

Using Calendula Topically

Calendula is considered to have many soothing and softening qualities making it a great addition to bath teas and homemade body products.  These body products, like sugar scrubs, lotion bars, bath melts, and more are a great way to include a little homegrown goodness in gift baskets.

Using Calendula as Food

Toss some petals into risotto to give it that saffron-yellow color.  The flavor is different but no-less-delicious and much more frugal.  The fresh petals make a wonderful addition to salad and you can make cookies, soups, and more from the dried petals.  Be adventurous here!

Some Additional Resources:

How about you?  How are you growing and using calendula in your garden and home?

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Saturday 4th of February 2017

Love the flower, we sow it early here in Virginia cuz likes cool weather


Wednesday 1st of February 2017

We've had calendula before, but I really haven't used it for many things. I just moved into the "City of Marigolds" and wanted to both pay it homage and learn about herbal uses this year.

FYI, the link to Paul's article is no longer there.

Homespun Seasonal Living

Thursday 2nd of February 2017

I hope you have so much fun learning to use these amazing flowers! Thanks for telling about the link, I removed it - bummer.

The Herb Lady

Wednesday 2nd of December 2015

I grow calendulas every year. I'm fortunate that they do self sow for me. When I do plant seed, I always direct sow it into my garden. My experience is that calendula do not like to be transplanted.

Homespun Seasonal Living

Wednesday 2nd of December 2015

How wonderful that they self-sow for you! I start the seeds in my greenhouse every year and transplant outside with no problems.

VerĂ³nica Soto

Monday 14th of July 2014

Excellent site! Thank you from Argentina!


Monday 14th of July 2014

Nice article! I just started growing calendula from seed this year and all of the flowers will be saved for seed for next year. I just happen to have purchased a large bag of dried flowers so I'm good for a while on those, but looking forward to growing a HUGE batch to harvest next year. Thanks for sharing.