Host: Gary Bachman, Ornamental Horticulture Specialist
Calendula is one plant that looks good in the garden and great in a salad today on Southern Gardening.
Calendula is called pot marigold and has daisy-like flowers that range in diameter from two to four inches. There are single, double, and semi-double forms. Colors range from bright yellows and oranges, to subdued colors of apricots and cream. The petals are fantastic when mixed in with baby salad greens. The vivid colors can wake up any everyday salad. Calendula will grow up to 30 inches tall and wide. This is a good plant to attract butterflies so plant with food sources for the caterpillars like fennel or butterfly weed.
Calendula is a good choice for a combination container. Try calendula and nasturtium for a feast for the eyes and the dinner table. Direct sow the calendula and nasturtium in a good potting mix. Add pansy or viola for a splash of color while the nasturtium and calendula develop.
In the landscape plant in either full sun or partial shade in amended well drained soil. Once flowering they will continue until frost in the fall. By midsummer the plants may look tired so prune back by half and they will come back strong for the autumn show. Keep the soil moisture consistent and fertilize once per month using a good water soluble formulation. Start seeds inside with your tomatoes and peppers about six weeks before the spring frost date for your area. Be sure to cover with potting media as the seeds will not germinate if exposed to light. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.