Calendula officinalis, also known as pot marigold, ruddles, common marigold or Scotch marigold, is a plant in the genus Calendula of the family Asteraceae.
Calendula officinalis is a short-lived aromatic herbaceous perennial, growing to 80 cm tall. Calendulas are considered by many gardening experts as among the easiest and most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, especially because they tolerate most soils. Pot marigolds typically bloom quickly from seed in under two months, in bright yellows, golds, and oranges.
Pot marigold florets are edible. They are often used to add color to salads or added to dishes as a garnish and in lieu of saffron. The leaves are edible but are often not palatable. They have a history of use as a potherb and in salads.
Flowers were used in ancient Greek, Roman, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures as a medicinal herb, as well as a dye for fabrics, foods, and cosmetics. Many of these uses persist today. They are also used to make oil that protects the skin.
Marigold leaves can also be made into a poultice that helps scratches and shallow cuts to heal faster, and can help prevent infection.
Growing Calendula from Seed
In temperate climates, seeds are sown in spring for blooms that last throughout the summer and well into the fall. In areas of limited winter freezing, seeds are sown in autumn for winter color. Plants will wither in subtropical summer. Seeds will germinate freely in sunny or half-sunny locations, but plants do best if planted in sunny locations with rich, well-drained soil.