Calendula pot marigold
Height 30-60cm (1-2ft)
Planting distance 30-38cm (12-15in)
Flowers late spring till first frosts
Any well-drained garden
The pot marigold is one of the easiest hardy annuals to grow and, with its glowing orange or yellow daisy-like, one of the brightest. The flowers and light green lance-shaped leaves were formerly used in cookery, hence the name pot marigold.
Most varieties grow 45-60cm (18-24in) tall, and several 30cm (1 ft) high dwarf varieties are also available. Pot marigolds are excellent for growing in borders with poor. The long-stemmed varieties make good cut flowers and last well in water.
All garden varieties are developed from Calendula officinalis. This grows 60cm (2ft) high and bears a profusion of single daisy flowers, up to 10cm (4in) wide, in shades of bright orange or yellow. Named varieties, usually with double flowers, include:
‘Art Shades’ is a mixture, 60cm (2ft) tall, coming in apricots, oranges, pale yellows and creams. The flowers are large and graceful.
‘Geisha Girl’ has large orange chrysanthemum-like flowers with incurved petals.
‘Indian Prince’ has semi-double, dark orange flowers with mahogany brown centres. It grows 45-50cm (18-20in) tall.
‘Kablouna Gold’, 50cm (20in) tall, has bright yellow flowers with chocolate brown centres.
‘Lemon Queen’ has double, clear lemon-yellow flowers on 60cm (2ft) high plants.
‘Pacific Apricot’, 60cm (2ft) high, has large double, soft apricot flowers with dark brown centres and orange tips to the petals.
‘Pacific Beauty’ is a mixture, 60cm (2ft) or more tall, with double flowers in shades of orange, apricot, yellow and primrose. Some flowers are bicoloured. All are carried on long stems.
‘Pacific Cream Beauty’ has cream-yellow flowers with dark brown centres.
Pacific Lemon Beauty’ has lemon-yellow blooms with dark brown centres. ‘Radio’, 45-60cm (18-24in) tall, has orange blooms resembling those of cactus dahlias. Excellent for cutting.
‘Apricot Bon Bon’ grows 30-38cm (12-15in) high and bears double, warm apricot flowers.
‘Baby Gold’, 30-38cm (12-15in) high, has long-lasting double, golden-yellow flowers carried on long stems on compact plants.
‘Double Lemon Coronet’ has large grapefruit-yellow flowers on 30cm (12in) high plants.
‘Fiesta Gitana’ comes in mixed colours – oranges, yellows and creams. It grows 30cm (12in) high and as much across and bears masses of double flowers with dark centres.
Pot marigolds thrive with little attention and in the poorest soil. For the best results, however, grow them in well-drained good garden soil.
Sow the seeds in their flowering site in early spring for summer flowering, or in early autumn foliate spring flowering. Cover with 1cm (1/2in) of soil. Thin out to 30-38cm (12-15in) apart. Dead-head to prolong the flowering season and prevent self-seeding.
Pests and diseases
Mildew and rust may develop on the leaves. In wet weather watch out for smut -dark irregular spots on the leaves. Caterpillars can be a nuisance.