Calendula officinalis | ‘English Marigold’, ‘Ruddles’ | ~100 seeds
Cultivated since time immemorial, Calendula officinalis is a flowering herbaceous species of the Asteraceae family, thought to be native to southern Europe and now widely naturalised to many countries around the globe. It’s known by a wide range of informal names, including ‘Calendula’, ‘Common Marigold’, ‘English Marigold’, ‘Pot Marigold’, ‘Ruddles’ and ‘Scotch Marigold’, and is generally considered to be extremely easy to grow, whatever your ability!
Officinalis (syn. Calendula aurantiaca, Calendula eriocarpa, Calendula hydruntina, Calendula prolifera, Caltha officinalis, Calendula ranunculodes) is a sparsely-branched, aromatic annual which grows erect to semi-erect to approximately eighty centimetres high. The hairy, oval-shaped leaves of this species reach up to roughly eighteen centimetres long and are a deep blue-green in colour. Enticing a wide variety of birds and insects, beautiful orange-gold-yellow flowers (up to roughly seven centimetres in diameter) bloom between spring and autumn and are often incredibly fragrant. The plant also bears small, curved thorny fruit.
Popular as an ornamental species, many cultivars (varying mainly in flower colour and habit, but variegated species are also known) exist too, including several which have garnered the UK Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. Calendula officinalis also bears a long history of use as an edible, notably for its flowers, which are used as an ingredient of rice, salad or soup dishes, as an herb or in place of saffron. Medicinally, officinalis has been used since ancient times by cultures including the Greeks, Indians, Middle-Eastern peoples and Romans, for purposes such as healing wounds and preventing infection. Commercially, the plant and its products are also useful sources of cosmetics, dyes and oils.
Calendula officinalis thrives in rich, well-drained soil (neutral to mildly acidic is fine), preferring a sunny location in USDA Hardiness Zones 6-11 and often blooming a mere two to three months subsequent to germination. Space young plants a minimum of twenty-five centimetres apart, so that they have sufficient room to reach maturity. Water regularly in average amounts and don’t fuss too much, as this particular species is generally tolerant of neglect!
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced