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Calendula officinalis - L.

Common Name calendula, Pot Marigold
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 2-11
Known Hazards Low potential for sensitization and contact dermatitis. Possible allergies if allergic to daisy family plants. Topical use may cause rash [301].
Habitats The original habitat is obscure but it is found as a garden escape on waste, cultivated and arable land and along roadsides[200].
Range S. Europe. A garden escape in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (5 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Calendula officinalis calendula, Pot Marigold

Calendula officinalis calendula, Pot Marigold


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Bloom Color: Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid fall. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Calendula officinalis is a ANNUAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to November, and the seeds ripen from August to November. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Bees.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Calendula aurantiaca. Calendula eriocarpa. Calendula hydruntina. Caltha officinalis.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves
Edible Uses: Colouring  Tea

Leaves - raw[14, 21]. When eaten they first of all impart a viscid sweetness, followed by a strong penetrating taste of a saline nature[4]. They are very rich in vitamins and minerals and are similar to Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) in nutritional value[179]. Fresh petals are chopped and added to salads[183]. The dried petals have a more concentrated flavour and are used as a seasoning in soups, cakes etc[183]. High in vitamins A and C[218]. An edible yellow dye is obtained from the petals[46]. A saffron substitute[21], it is used to colour and flavour rice, soups etc[2, 14, 27, 33]. It is also used as a hair rinse, adding golden tints to brown or auburn hair[201]. A tea is made from the petals and flowers, that made from the petals is less bitter[183]. There is no record of the seed being edible, but it contains up to 37% protein and 46% oil[218].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiphlogistic  Antiseptic  Antispasmodic  Aperient  Astringent  Cholagogue  Diaphoretic  Emmenagogue  
Homeopathy  Skin  Stimulant  Vulnerary  Warts

Pot marigold is one of the best known and versatile herbs in Western herbal medicine and is also a popular domestic remedy[4, 254]. It is, above all, a remedy for skin problems and is applied externally to bites and stings, sprains, wounds, sore eyes, varicose veins etc[4, 254]. It is also a cleansing and detoxifying herb and is taken internally in treating fevers and chronic infections[4, 254]. Only the common deep-orange flowered variety is considered to be of medicinal value[4]. The whole plant, but especially the flowers and the leaves, is antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, skin, stimulant and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 21, 46, 165, 201]. The leaves can be used fresh or dried, they are best harvested in the morning of a fine sunny day just after the dew has dried from them[4]. The flowers are also used fresh or dried, for drying they are harvested when fully open and need to be dried quickly in the shade[4]. A tea of the petals tones up the circulation and, taken regularly, can ease varicose veins[201]. An application of the crushed stems to corns and warts will soon render them easily removable[7]. The leaves, blossoms and buds are used to make a homeopathic remedy[232]. It is used internally in order to speed the healing of wounds[232]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Calendula officinalis for inflammation of the mouth and pharynx (throat), wounds and burns(see [302] for critics of commission E).

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Compost  Cosmetic  Dye  Essential  Repellent  Weather forecasting

The growing plant acts as an insect deterrent[14], it reduces the soil eelworm population[24]. The flowers are used cosmetically. They can be used in skin lotions and when added to hair shampoos will lighten the hair colour[244]. The flowers are an alternative ingredient of 'Quick Return' compost activator[32]. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost[K]. A yellow dye is obtained from the boiled flowers[2, 4, 46]. An essential oil is obtained from the plant[7]. It is used rather sparingly, in view of the difficulty in obtaining it, in perfumes that have a rather sharp tang[7]. The flowers close when wet weather is likely to occur and they can therefore be used as a rough means of weather forecasting[7].

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife  Dynamic accumulator  Food Forest  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses: Border, Container, Massing, Rock garden. An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any well-drained soil[200, 268], though it prefers a good loam and requires a sunny or at least partially sunny position[4, 15, 200, 268]. Plants flower best when they are grown in a poor soil[108]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.3. The pot marigold is a very ornamental plant that is commonly grown in the flower garden, and occasionally as a culinary herb, there are some named varieties[183]. When well-sited it usually self-sows freely and will maintain itself if allowed[1, 4]. The flowers are sensitive to variations in temperature and dampness, closing when it is dark and when rain is expected[7, 244]. All parts of the plant are pungently scented[245]. The growing plant attracts hoverflies to the garden, the young of which are fairly efficient eaters of aphids[24, 201]. The flowers are attractive to bees[108]. Marigolds are good companion plants, they grow well with tomatoes[14]. Cucumber mosaic disease and powdery mildew can cause problems with this plant[188]. Special Features: Edible, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Extended bloom season in Zones 9A and above. In garden design, as well as the above-ground architecture of a plant, root structure considerations help in choosing plants that work together for their optimal soil requirements including nutrients and water. The root pattern is branching: a heart root, dividing from the crown into several primary roots going down and out [2-1].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow in situ from spring to early summer and again in September. The seed germinates best in darkness and usually within 1 - 2 weeks at 21°c[138]. The plant often self-sows freely.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Common Marigold, Scotch Marigold, Ruddles, Pot Marigold

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Calendula arvensisField MarigoldAnnual0.3 5-9  LMHNM23 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

Kathy Stevens   Wed Dec 6 2006

Calendula incorporated into an oil or gel is very ANTI-INFLAMMATORY on the skin and it explains the QUICK HEALING properties, esp. for feet of a diabetic when speed of healing is critical.

Anni Dixon   Thu Jul 26 2007

Anni Dixon. I used calendula tea as a mouthwash after deep and violent surgery to remove bone infection from upper and lower jaws of the mouth. It greatly assisted healing without infection. I was also interested to read somewhere (can't remember where now) that it is one of the few remedies for bone infection, when taken as a tea, which even antibiotics are unable to deal with because bone infection tends to lack a viable blood supply and therefore supply of oxygen. I have also found this tea used as a lotion for bathing the only thing to give relief to severely broken and dis-integrated skin during bad attacks of eczema on the hands.

Megan   Wed Feb 11 2009

It says nothing in here abot how they are used for predicting the weather

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