Introduction to Growing Organic Calendula in Pots or Containers
The Scientific name of Calendula is Calendula officinalis. It belongs to the Asteraceae family, which includes the chamomile plant and yarrow. Calendula is also known as “pot marigolds”. Calendula plant adapts to a wide variety of climates and soils. Growing Calendula indoors from seeds is much less expensive than starting with nursery-grown plants. Harvest Calendula flowers when they are fully open and spread them out on a screen or in a shallow basket to dry. The flowers are ready when the petals feel papery to the touch. Store Calendula in an airtight jar and use them in natural beauty recipes, herbal infused oils, or tea. Calendula flowers can be harvested and mainly used as a medicinal herb. In this article we also discuss the below topics;
- How to grow Calendula at home in pots
- Growing Calendula from seed
- Growing Calendula indoors
- Can you grow Calendula in pots
- Tips for growing Calendula
- How much time Calendula take to grow
- Does Calendula need sunlight
- How do you care for potted Calendula
A Step By Step Guide to Growing Organic Calendula in Pots or Containers
Different Varieties of Calendula
There are many varieties of Calendula, offering flowers of slightly different appearances. Some popular ones are;
‘Radio extra’ – This is a tall plant with bright orange and cactus-like blooms.
‘Pink Surprise’ – This has ruffled gold and yellow flowers, sometimes with pink edges and dark apricot centres.
‘Touch of Red’ – This has flowers with a mixture of orange and red colour shades with red-tipped petals.
‘Neon’ – This plant features double-petaled flowers in bold colours.
‘Greenheart Orange’ – This has flowers with orange colour petals surrounding lime-green centres; a very unusual looking plant.
‘Tangerine Cream’ – This has double-petaled flowers with bi-colour blooms of bright orange and cream colour.
‘Bronzed Beauty’ – This plant has cream and peach flowers that grow on tall stems.
‘Citrus Cocktail’ – This plant is a compact, short plant with yellow and orange flowers; it works well in containers.
‘Sherbet Fizz’ – This plant has buff-coloured flowers with deep red undersides petal tips.
‘Dwarf Gem’ – This is a compact variety with double-petal blooms of orange and yellow.
‘Fruit Twist’ – This plant is a variety featuring a mix of single, double, and semi-double flowers in yellow and orange.
Difference between Marigold and Calendula
- Calendula plant is from the Asteraceae family, which includes the chamomile plant. While, Marigold is a member of the Tagetes family, includes the common sunflower.
- Both Calendula and Marigolds are members of the Asteraceae family. Calendula is members of the Calendula genus, a smaller genus with 15 to 20 species while Marigolds are members of the Tagetes genus.
- Calendula seeds are curved, brown, and slightly bumpy. Marigold seeds are straight black seeds with white and paintbrush-like tips.
Organic Soil Preparation for Growing Calendula in Pots or Containers
Calendula plant needs a well-drained soil high in organic material. This plant tolerates a wide range of soil pH level but prefers a slightly acidic to neutral soil. Use well-draining, organic potting soil or make your mixture with half garden soil and half well-rotted compost for growing Calendula. The key is to select a container for growing Calendula is plenty of drainage holes. Container grown Calendulas need full sun and average nutrients. Calendula plants prefer full sun but will tolerate light shade in warmer areas. It is best planted in prepared large containers filled with organic potting soil.
Light Requirement for Growing Organic Calendula in Pots
Calendula plant mainly prefers full sun, but in hotter areas, it sometimes languishes during the hottest months unless it receives some afternoon shade. Choose a spot for Calendula that receives full sun. Calendula plants do not require any special soil. Calendula plants need a moderate amount of water.
Process of Growing Organic Calendula in Containers or Pots
Growing organic Calendula is easy. Also, Calendula is easy to grow from seed and blooms long without the need to deadhead. Calendula is also commonly planted in pots. Most plant varieties do well in pots, although shorter cultivars may be better suited. Use any well-draining and organic potting soil, or you can make a mixture with a blend of half garden soil and half compost. Make sure the pot has plenty of drainage holes since this Calendula plant does not like to be soggy. Potted specimens will require regular feeding with a balanced fertilizer. The bushy plants have branched covered in fine hair that grows up to about 2 feet long. The plant leaves are aromatic and the flowers are hues of bright orange or yellow.
Steps for Growing Calendula in Pots;
Step 1) Calendula flowers can be easily grown in pots. Feel free to decorate the balcony, kitchen and other spaces with Calendula flower pots as long as the spot receives enough sunlight.
Step 2) Take a pot containing plenty of drainage holes to avoid soggy feet.
Step 3) Although it can grow in partial shade, the Calendula plant prefers sunshine. Therefore, place the pot in a spot receiving 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.
Step 4) The plant prefers loose and rich soil amended with compost with a pH level of 6-7.
Step 5) Start the Calendula seeds indoors. Avoid transplanting seedlings and then transfer the plant to pots only once they have reached the budding stage. You can also sow the Calendula seeds directly in the pot.
Step 6) Calendula plant needs plenty of water. Water the pots regularly and then mulch the soil. Avoid overwatering, but supply about 1 to 11⁄2 inches of water per week in mid-summer for optimal growth.
Step 7) Growing Calendula in pots will attract butterflies. Remove old flowers or deadheading to encourage re-bloom.
Step 8) Gather Calendula flowers late in the morning time. Pick the complete flower at full bloom and flowers will re-bloom in about 2 weeks. You can collect seeds when fully mature and dry.
Steps for Growing Calendula from Seed in Pots or Containers
- Calendula is very easy to grow from seeds directly sown in the garden. To start Calendula plant indoors, plant them approximately 8 weeks before you plan to move them outside into the garden and allow them to germinate in the dark for a week or two.
- Then, plant seeds early spring onward or start them indoors and set out the sturdy seedlings. They can be started indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost date for extra early blooms.
- Choose a sunny site for growing Calendula. Soil needs to be moderate-rich and drain well for growing Calendula.
- Start seeds about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date and use a seed starting potting mix, not regular soil or potting mix. You can plant the Calendula seeds in a seed starter kit and follow instructions there, or use anything that gets good drainage.
- Press seeds on top of the soil and spread a ¼ inches layer of soil over the seeds. Firm gently with your fingers.
- Spritz soil until the top ½ inches feels fairly moist. Then, cover with a layer of plastic wrap and poke enough holes in the wrap for air circulation and evaporation.
- Set near a window with southern exposure, one that receives at least 6 hours of sun daily. Or set under fluorescent light. Calendula seed germination will occur in 5 to 14 days. Discard the plastic wrap. Remove the weaker seedlings and rotate the seedlings if necessary so they don’t get leggy trying to reach the light.
- After the seedlings develop their second/true set of plant leaves, they can be planted outdoors if the frost date has passed.
Organic Fertilizer Requirement for Growing Calendula in Pots or Containers
Coming to the way of feeding, Calendula does not need much feeding, and fertile garden soil, it needs no more additional feeding at all. Marginal soils feeding with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer, but over-feeding can make the Calendula plants spindly and leggy. Container growing Calendula plants do require monthly feeding with a diluted balanced fertilizer.
Calendula shouldn’t require fertilizing if you plant into healthy, well-fed soil. If your soil doesn’t have a good amount of best-rotted organic matter, the Calendula will require feeding with a good quality balanced liquid fertilizer halfway through the growing season.
Organic Pests and Diseases Control for Growing Calendula in Pots
Calendula plant has no serious pests or disease problems. Sometimes they can be susceptible to powdery mildew (remedied by good air circulation), and slugs and snails may feed on them, especially young plants. Keep growing areas clear of debris to minimize slug and snail damage. Aphids and whiteflies can sometimes be a problem; spraying with water or treating with insecticidal soaps can eliminate these problems. Removing natural enemies just allows thrips and aphids to flourish. Don’t spray insecticidal soap on hot days or when the sun is directly on the foliage, as doing so may scorch your plants. Slugs also feed on these plants. Remove slugs by hand if you aren’t squeamish.
Cabbage loopers are small caterpillars and they are easy to remove by hand. If you need a little more help keeping cabbage loopers under control and treat them with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis), a naturally occurring bacteria that kills loopers by paralyzing their digestive system. Avoid pesticides, which always do more harm than good. Finally, while not much of a threat unless found in high numbers, grasshoppers may be seen frequenting plants in the garden. These can easily be picked off.
Powdery Mildew – This disease appears as white spots on leaves. Calendula foliage can become quite thick, so ensure you have plenty of airflow between plants and this helps to prevent mildew.
Bacterial Leaf Spot – If you have this disease in Calendula plants, you’ll see dark spots where the plant has necrotized. Also, you can get brown spots with yellow edging or black wilted edges of leaves. This is caused by little organisms that reproduce in cool garden conditions. To prevent Bacterial Leaf Spot disease, don’t overwater, water only the roots, not the leaves, and allow for plenty of airflow between plants in healthy soil. Always remove the plants that get this disease.
Aphids – Use insecticide or neem oil to control aphids in Calendula.
Whiteflies – Whiteflies suck the sap from Calendula plants and cause visible damage to flowers. The best method to control whiteflies is to use organic pyrethrum.
Caring for Container Grown Calendula
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- Calendula plants are very easy to grow and require little care.
- Choose a fully sunny site for your Calendula plants.
- Like most herbs, Calendula plants are adaptable and do not require a lot of maintenance. Roots will often adapt to the space provided. The amazing Calendula can be grown in containers or beds in full sun to shade conditions. As this plant prefers cool temperatures, flowers last longer in filtered sun or shady areas.
- A cool-season plant, it can be started indoors under grow lights 6-8 weeks before the last frost or directly seeded outdoors after the last frost. Seeds germinate in 5 to 15 days.
- Water well and apply a liquid bloom fertilizer several times during the gardening season to promote beautiful blossoms.
- Caring for Calendula in a pot couldn’t be easier. First, keep the soil moderately moist. It is best to apply deep drenches and let the pot dry out before watering anew. When you use compost as part of the soil mixture, the Calendula plants do not need fertilizing, but a high phosphorus formula can encourage more blooms.
- Applying insecticidal soap sprays every few days can minimize pests like aphids, whiteflies, and cabbage loopers.
When and How to Harvest Calendula
Harvest Calendula flowers in the hottest part of the day during the summer season when the flowers are entirely dry. Harvest throughout the season as Calendula flowers bloom by snapping flowers off the plant. Dry flowers by hanging them in an area with good airflow or placing them on a drying screen or in a dehydrator at a low-temperature level. Drying should occur out of direct sunlight. It will take 7 to 10 days to fully dry flowers.
Collect Calendula flowers in the late morning. Pick flowers when they are fully open. Turn them occasionally until they are papery dry, and then store them in canning jars until ready to use.
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Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Calendula in Pots
Is Calendula easy to grow?
Calendula plant is easy to grow from seeds directly sown in the garden.
Does Calendula come back every year?
The Calendula flower is an annual which will readily reseed. Too much Calendula plant care can result in stunted or slow growth.
How long does Calendula take to grow?
Calendula plant is easy to grow from seed and quickly grows to maturity in 6 to 8 weeks after sowing.
How long do Calendula seeds take to germinate?
Calendula is easiest from direct sowing. If growing Calendula indoors, germination occurs in 6 to 14 days.
Why Calendula plant leaves turning yellow?
Another problem of Calendula Aster yellows. It causes Calendula plants to become stunted with yellow-green leaves and flowers and eventual death. To prevent this problem remove and destroy any infected plants.
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