Calendula officinalis is also known as pot marigold, ruddles, common marigold, garden marigold, English marigold, or Scottish marigold.
It is a short-lived aromatic herbaceous perennial, growing to 80 cm tall, with sparsely branched lax or erect stems. The leaves are oblong-lanceolate, 5–17 cm long, hairy on both sides, and with margins entire or occasionally waved or weakly toothed. The inflorescences are yellow, comprising a thick capitulum or flowerhead 4–7 cm diameter surrounded by two rows of hairy bracts.
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.
Calendula are considered by many gardening experts as among the easiest and most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, especially since they tolerate most soils. In temperate climates, seeds are sown in spring for blooms that last throughout the summer and well into the fall. In areas of little winter freezing (USDA zones 8-11), 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. Pot marigolds typically bloom quickly from seed (in under two months) in bright yellows, golds, and oranges.
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