Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) belongs to the daisy family often known as marigolds. It is also well known as Pot Marigold because during the old days calendula are utilized like herbs in a pot of stew hence the name “pot marigold”. The name marigold is also derived from name of the Virgin Mary, (Mary’s gold). The flowers are used as offerings by different cultures like India.
I like to plant Calendula in my garden because not only it adds to the beauty of the garden, it is edible too. Then upon researching, I found out that it is used as medicine too. The petals contains compounds that are antioxidants. Extracts from the plants are also used in cosmetics due to the presence of saponins, resins and essential oils which are good for your skin.
It has lots of uses. The flowers are made into dyes for fabrics, but it also has been used to color cheeses just like the turmeric. It is used as a substitute for saffron in cooking. The petals are used nowadays to garnish garden salads, together with nasturtiums and other edible flowers.
As for medicinal purposes I really have not tried but they say it has anti-inflammatory properties. It is now being researched as a cancer treatment plant.
Calendula plants are easy to grow. Just like their cousin the common marigold, they are beneficial plants in the garden. I always start calendula from seeds that way I will have more plants in the garden. My mother grows them in California and whenever I come to visit, she will always give seeds from her garden. After that I never buy seeds from nurseries anymore.
The flowers are sometimes bright yellow and some are almost like gold in color. The bees and butterflies love them. Planting calendula in the garden invites beneficial insects which helps in reducing pests in the garden. That’s why I never used any pesticides. If I find any problem with pests, I will just make my own pesticide. I’ll crush a clove of garlic and mix it in water. I will strain the water and fill a spray bottle with the water and add a drop or two of dishwashing soap, you may use castille soap if you prefer. And then I will also add a drop of an essential oil, (I prefer to use peppermint oil) or horticultural oil. You need to use this spray early in the morning or at dusk because the hot sun will burn the plants. Make sure you spray under the leaves, and leave it there for about 15 minutes then rinse the plants with water. I rinse it using a hose with the nozzle in shower position.