Calendula has to be one of my favorite flowers to grow on our homestead in North Central Florida.
Here are just a few reasons why:
- Easy to start from seed and transplant.
- Beautiful flowers that attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
- Has beneficial medicinal benefits, it’s edible and and can be used as a natural dye!
If you’re new to gardening I think calendula is a great place to start growing something!
Note: I’m talking about Calendula officinalis in this post. While some people call it pot marigold, common marigold or Scotch marigold it is not actually a marigold.
How I grow calendula in Florida
In our area (Zone 8b- North Central Florida) calendula is typically grown during the cooler months as it doesn’t do well in full sun during our hot and humid Florida months. However, since I love a good garden experiment I’ve been playing around with trying to grow calendula during most of the year here. This past year was my best yet! I figured out what I need to do to grow calendula from August all the way to early June! Wild, right? I grow calendula in my gardens almost year round. Yay!
It’s just a matter of succession planting seeds so when they are ready for transplanting I make sure to plant them into a partly shaded area of the garden where they will live during those hotter months.
For example, the seeds I start in Dec/Jan I will transplant into the garden by March and they will often bloom for me all the way up until the first week of June depending on how hot it gets here. I have found that if I plant my calendula to the west of my tomatoes and east of an oak tree it gets just the right amount of sun to thrive and last longer during spring/summer. The growing tomato vines provide some much needed shade in the morning and the oak tree provides afternoon shade. It works out just right!
Pro tip for Florida gardeners: WHEN THE SEED PACKET SAYS “FULL SUN” THAT DOESN’T MEAN FULL SUN IN FLORIDA!
So, don’t think your failed gardening attempts are you. It may just be you that you did too good of a job following directions that don’t apply in your area.
Want to follow my gardening adventures in Zone 8b- North Central Florida? Follow my journey via video by subscribing to my homesteading YouTube channel.
How I use calendula:
I’ve been growing calendula in my gardens for almost a decade now. I’ve grown several different varieties, too. My favorite is Calendula Resina. This type of calendula “has the highest amount of the resins prized by herbalists.”
- Dried calendula: I mostly grow calendula to dry the flowers. Once dried I like to make calendula infused oils for salves or soap. Depending on how thick or thin I make the salve I use it for scratches, scrapes and bug bites (thicker formulation) or as a moisturizer at night after showering (thinner formulation).
- Cut flowers: Depending on the height of the calendula I’m growing I also use it for cut flower arrangements to add some color and beauty to my kitchen counter.
- Pollinators: Bees and butterflies are often buzzing all around my calendula so I will often leave flowers on the plants just for them.
If you’d like to learn how I make my calendula salves let me know below. I may put together a video for you since I’m almost out and will need to make a new batch soon!
We’re coming up on cooler months soon and this is a great time to start calendula seeds!