Growing Calendula: Bringing Herbal Sunshine To Your Garden

Growing Calendula: Bringing Herbal Sunshine To Your Garden | Growing Up Herbal | Discover the art of growing calendula with our comprehensive guide. Learn essential tips for planting, care, and harvesting calendula flowers in your garden. Start cultivating vibrant blooms today!

Calendula (Calendula officinalis), often called pot marigold, is a delightful addition to any herb or flower garden, bringing vibrant colors and numerous wellness benefits right to your fingertips. Whether you’re an experienced herbal gardener or just starting out, growing calendula is a rewarding experience (and a must-have for any herbalist, in my opinion).

Below, I will walk you through the steps to cultivate this versatile and beautiful plant in your own garden.

How To Grow Calendula

Choosing the Right Location

Calendula is a versatile plant that can grow in a wide range of climates. It is typically grown as an annual in most regions but can sometimes act as a short-lived perennial in areas with mild winters. Calendula is adaptable and can thrive in various conditions, making it suitable for many gardening zones.

Calendula is generally recommended for USDA hardiness zones 2 to 11, which covers a broad range of climates across the United States. However, it’s essential to note that specific growing conditions, such as temperature, soil type, and sunlight exposure, can influence the plant’s performance.

In cooler climates (zones 2-6), calendula is usually grown as an annual and may not survive harsh winter conditions. If you live in these zones, you can sow calendula seeds in the spring after the last frost date and enjoy the flowers throughout the growing season.

In temperate climates (zones 7-10), calendula can behave as both an annual and a short-lived perennial. It may self-seed and return year after year under favorable conditions. With mild winters and moderate temperatures, calendula plants in these zones may continue to bloom even during the winter months.

In warmer climates (zones 10-11), calendula can be grown as a winter annual, thriving in the cooler temperatures of the fall and winter months. In these zones, calendula may produce an abundance of flowers during the cooler seasons, providing color and interest to the garden when other plants are dormant.

No matter what zone you’re in, calendula thrives in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. When planning your garden, select a location that receives at least six hours of sunlight daily to ensure optimal growth and blooming.

Preparing the Soil

Calendula prefers well-drained soil rich in organic matter. If your soil is heavy or lacks nutrients, amend it with compost to improve its texture and fertility. This preparation sets the stage for healthy root development and robust flowering.


Once the threat of frost has passed, sow calendula seeds directly into the garden. Plant them about a quarter-inch deep and space them 12 to 18 inches apart. Keep the soil consistently moist until the seeds germinate, which typically happens within 7 to 14 days.

One way to ensure the seeds stay moist until germination is to cover the seed with a light plastic held down at the edges with brick or rock. This helps to create a greenhouse-like environment that traps moisture and maintains high humidity levels around the seeds. If you start calendula in pots or seed trays, you can use plastic wrap or clear plastic domes to cover them.


Calendula appreciates moderate watering. Keep the soil evenly moist, but avoid overwatering, as soggy conditions can lead to root rot. Once established, calendula can withstand some drought but benefits from regular watering, particularly during dry spells.


While calendula isn’t particularly demanding in terms of fertilization, a balanced fertilizer applied lightly once or twice during the growing season can promote healthy growth and abundant flowering. Additional fertilization may be unnecessary if your soil is rich in organic matter.

Some of the best organic fertilizers are as follows:

  1. Compost
  2. Manure
  3. Fish emulsion
  4. Bone meal
  5. Blood meal
  6. Seaweed and kelp meal
  7. Worm castings


Deadhead spent flowers regularly to encourage continuous blooming and prevent the plant from going to seed prematurely. Pinch off the faded blooms as they appear, promoting the production of new flowers throughout the season.

Deadheading spent flowers is helpful to a plant because it not only encourages continuous blooming and prevents self-seeding but it also enhances the aesthetic appeal of your garden by keeping plants looking tidy and attractive, redirects energy so stronger roots and foliage are developed, and prevents disease and pest problems by removing dead parts of the plant that can lead to decomposition and bacterial growth.

Pest and Disease Control

Calendula is generally resistant to pests and diseases, but monitoring your plants for common garden pests like aphids and slugs is wise. If necessary, employ organic pest control methods such as handpicking or using homemade insecticidal soap to keep infestations in check.


Enjoy the fruits of your labor by harvesting calendula flowers as soon as they fully open. Regular harvesting encourages continuous blooming, providing abundant fresh flowers to enjoy in your garden or use in herbal preparations. You can also dry the whole flowers for use later in teas, salves, and other homemade herbal recipes.

Winter Care

In regions with mild winters, calendula may continue to bloom throughout winter. However, it may die back in colder climates with the onset of freezing temperatures. Applying a layer of mulch around the base of the plant can help insulate the roots and protect them from winter chill.

Saving Seeds

If you wish to save seeds for the following growing season, allow some of the flowers to mature and dry on the plant entirely. Once the seeds are dry, collect them and store them in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to sow them again.

To Wrap It Up…

So there you have it, friend — growing calendula is a rewarding endeavor that adds beauty, fragrance, and versatility to your garden. By following these simple steps, you can cultivate thriving calendula plants and enjoy their delightful blooms throughout the growing season. Now it’s your turn to roll up your sleeves, dig in the dirt, and let calendula bring a touch of sunshine to your garden paradise.

Do you have any questions about growing calendula that I haven’t answered in this article? If so, leave your questions in a comment below, and I will get back to you!

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