Plant Profile: Calendula

This beautiful plant works best when part of the herbaceous layer of an ecological garden. Plant it there and you will enjoy beautiful blooms all season; attract an abundance of showy pollinators; and build up your soil every year!

But what is Calendula, and what exactly is the herbaceous layer anyways?

Calendula is from the marigold family. Considered a herb, the Calendula plant is very adaptable and does not require much maintenance. After the plant has established, water only occasionally. Try to situate it away from the hot afternoon sun as the plant prefers cool microclimate.

Uses

Petals to garnish and as a spice in stews and broths. The petals are also excellent for the skin and are used in many cosmetic products (we have a special recipe below!). The entire plant has immunity boosting properties and can be made into a balm to apply on cuts and scrapes. The plant also attracts away aphids from other plants and fruit trees!

Problems

Aphids and whiteflies like to live on the undersides of the leaves. The honeydew from aphids attracts ants. The key to control for pests is increased biodiversity. The plant, like most plants, is susceptible to powdery mildew. Good air circulation should solve the problem. Calendula smut is a disease that causes brown spots, so discard stems and leaves that have them. 

Companions

Fruit trees, broccoli, cabbage, leafy greens, strawberries

Recipe

Check out this excellent resource: How to make Calendula cream

And what is the herbaceous layer? It’ll take a while to explain, but we are offering a course that will explain this (and similarly confusing terms) fully! Stay tuned for updates!