Calendula is a healing herb
If you want to grow plants that have multiple purposes then Calendula officinalis, also known as Pot Marigold, is your flower. It doesn’t need a lot of space, produces a lot of blossoms over a long growing period.It has been used medicinally for centuries to heal wounds, burns and rashes, internally and externally. The flowers have also been used traditionally to support the immune system as a anti inflammatory and lift the spirits,it can be made into a cream, oil, gel, compress, tincture or tea; used in a bath or facial steam; eaten in salads and stews; whipped into toothpastes or mixed into mouthwashes; handmade soap and is gentle enough for babies. It’s also a gorgeous yellow to orange colour that brightens up the garden and the soul and feeds the bees.
How to plant it?
You can grow Calendula directly from seeds that are sown in a prepared garden bed early in the spring season,(and autumn if in the Auckland region or northland or have mild winter conditions) and cover ever so slightly with garden soil. They start growing immediately and will grow very quickly.
You can purchase some seed from my online store. Or you local garden center.
Where will it grow?
Calendula grows best when sown directly into the garden. It tolerates any type of soil and will grow in partial shade to full sun. It will do well in almost any soil, and semi-shade as well. Calendula takes well to pot culture, and is easily grown in a variety of pots and window boxes on a balcony or deck.
When should I plant it?
From seed, you can sow it directly into the garden any time after the last frost in your area. Generally you’re looking at an initial planting during the early spring and succession planting throughout the summer season. This will ensure a continuous supply of flowers. Note: if you let the flowers go to seed they should have a natural succession if they get enough water. Free plants yay!
Taking care of it.
Calendula likes water, so be sure that the soil doesn’t dry out. Fertilizer isn’t necessary, but your flowers will thank you if you were to add plenty of yummy compost.
In order to harvest Calendula flowers and petals for medicine making, it’s best to pick them at their peak — and pick them frequently. Begin harvesting the Calendula as soon as the first flowers open fully and then continue throughout the spring and summer season.When you pick calendula, your fingers will be sticky from the resinous bracts, which form the green base of the flower head. The resin is an important part of calendula’s healing legacy, and is a good indicator of strength.
Trust me when I say…you can’t pick these often enough, the more flowers you pick, the more flowers your plant will produce. Usually — in ideal growing conditions and peak season — this means you should be harvesting every 3-4 days.
Harvest mid-day, when the flowers and foliage are dry, and after the dew from the morning has evaporated. Then cut the stems, as close to the flower head as possible.
Drying Calendula is the most common way to preserve the medicinal properties of the flower. Not to mention, harvesting and preserving Calendula during the spring and summer, when the flowers are in abundance, will help keep your costs low throughout the year.
Here are your tips:
Upon harvesting the flowers, bring them indoors — away from direct sunlight.
Do NOT wash the flower heads.
It’s good to dry in small batches, immediately after harvest.
Dry in a dark, well-ventilated space by spreading the heads out on a drying screen (i.e. an old window screen), cheesecloth, or re-purposed sheet. Note: Using a dehydrator is an option so long as the temperature does not exceed 95 degrees fahrenheit as Calendula is heat sensitive.
Store the dried flowers — once they are crispy dry — in air-tight glass containers.
Keep the flowers as whole as possible and store them in a cool, dry, and dark place. They will keep fresh approximately 6 months.
If you want to learn how to solor infuse calendula into a massage oil look up my previous blog on infusion.
This one has been infused for two mooncycles, so its double strength, look at that beautiful colour. I can't say enough amazing things about this oil and how good it makes your skin feel, perfect for giving those dry gardening hands the deep nourishment they need.
How about trying a nice anti inflammatory herbal tea:
1/2 part calendula petals
1/4 part lemon balm
1/4 part chamomile
Place in a cup or tea pot add boiling water and steep. Sip, relax and enjoy x