Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Calendula Officinalis

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch
English Marigold Flower (09/05/2012, London)

Calendula officinalis Flower (09/05/2012, London)

Position: Full sun

Flowering period: Spring to autumn

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 80cm

Eventual Spread: 80cm

Hardiness: 6a – 11

Family: Asteraceae

Calendula officinalis is a short lived perennial/ annual plant. Its mid green leaves simple, opposite, cuneate with entire margins, up to 17cm long, aromatic and are hairy on both sides. Its yellow/ orange flowers are compositae, solitary, up to 7cm in diameter surrounded by two rows of hairy bracts. Its fruit is a thorny curved achene. 

Calendula officinalis, commonly known as Pot marigold, Common Marigold, Garden Marigold or English Marigold, is native to southern Europe though its long history of cultivation makes its precise origin unknown and may possibly be of garden origin. It is also widely naturalized further north in Europe. This plant has a long history of culinary and medicinal uses and has been use as a dye.

The etymological root of the binomial name Calendula is derived from the Latin calendae ’the first day of the  month’, possibly alluding to the flowering of the plant throughout the year. Officinalis is derived from the Latin meaning ‘of the apothecaries’. 

English Marigold (09/05/2012, London)

Calendula officinalis (09/05/2012, London)

The landscape architect may find Calendula officinalis useful in community and wildlife gardens.

Ecologically, C. officinalis is attractive to bees and pollinating insects. The leaves are the food plant of a number of moths.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given C. officinalis ’Fiesta Gitana’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1993.

C. officinalis prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Calendula officinalis requires little maintenance.

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