Bright and cheerful calendulas, also called pot marigolds, look right at home in a cottage garden, herb patch, or container. Plant this easy-going annual in early spring to enjoy its flowers, which resemble daisies or chrysanthemums, until the heat of summer sets in. In regions with moderate summers, expect calendula varieties to bloom even more abundantly in fall. Add the edible blossoms to soups and salads as a colorful garnish.
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Garden Plans For Calendula
Best Planting Partners
Grow calendula plants with other early-season bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Pansies, sweet alyssum, and stock stand out as easy-to-grow annuals to partner with pot marigold. Pretty perennial companions include cushion spurge, candytuft, bleeding heart, lady's mantle, and columbine.
Calendula Care Must-Knows
Plant them in average well-drained soil and full sun. Plants do best with a few hours of afternoon shade in hot climates. Start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date or sow seeds directly in the garden just before the last frost. Seedlings or purchased transplants can go in the ground after the last frost. Blanket the soil around young plants with a 2-inch- thick layer of mulch, then water well.
Boost the Number of Blooms
Calendula unfurls handfuls of flowers in regions with cool summer climates. Deadhead plants regularly to push this annual to produce even more blossoms. To promote compact, bushy growth, pinch back the long stems of young plants by half or more. Hot, dry summers cause this annual to languish and sometimes even die. Encourage growth through summer by watering plants regularly and cutting foliage back by half when your region experiences especially hot temperatures. Calendula will begin blooming again with gusto when temperatures cool down in early fall.
More Varieties of Calendula
Calendula 'Candyman Orange' offers double orange flowers on compact plants that grow only 1 foot tall.
Calendula 'Daisy Mix' offers single flowers in shades of yellow, apricot, and orange.
Calendula 'Spring Surprise' offers double yellow, orange, and apricot blooms on 2-foot-tall plants.
Plant Calendula With:
Chrysanthemums are a must-have for the fall garden. No other late-season flower delivers as much color, for as long and as reliably as good ol' mums. Beautiful chrysanthemum flowers, available in several colors, bring new life to a garden in the fall. Some varieties have daisy blooms; others may be rounded globes, flat, fringed, quill shape, or spoon shape. They work exceptionally well in container plantings and pots. Learn more about using mums for a fall-flowering garden.
Osteospermum adds instant cheer to spring and fall gardens with its colorful, daisy-shape flowers and dark green foliage. The blooms are wonderful for cutting and appear in a wide range of colors. In fact, it's such a striking plant that cut flowers sometimes look artificial!The plant does best in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. It likes cool weather, so in hot-summer areas, it blooms best in spring and fall. Though grown as an annual in most parts of the country, it is perennial in Zones 10-11.
Few gardens should be without the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with beautiful color variations on each flower. Plus, snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. Gather a dozen or more in a small vase and you'll have one of the prettiest bouquets around.Snapdragons are especially useful because they're a cool-season annual, coming into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are just being planted. They're also great for fall color.Plant snapdragon in early spring, a few weeks before your region's last frost date. Deadhead regularly for best bloom and fertilize regularly. Snapdragons often self-seed in the landscape if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year, though the colors from hybrid plants will often will be muddy looking. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch.Shown above: 'Rocket Red' snapdragon