A vibrant orange flower that is planted in the fall, easily grows throughout the winter, and greets you in the early spring, is none other than Calendula officinales, also known as pot marigold. Not a true marigold, Calendula should not be mistaken as a marigold for it maintains unique and very strong medicinal properties.
Here in Central Texas, Calendula seeds should be planted in the fall in full sun. They will grow during a mild winter and reward you with early bright orange, sometimes yellow flowers that bloom steadily and can be harvested as needed. During the heat of our summers, you might loose your Calendula crop, but a few of my plants have surprisingly survived over one or two summers. The flowers of Calendula are edible and quite beautiful in a fresh green salad. The flowers have anti-depressant properties (who could stay depressed just looking at these bright, sunny flowers), as well as excellent anti-inflammatory properties most useful for skin disorders. I use the flowers most often to make a soothing Calendula Salve. I often make a simple Calendula Salve, but also combine this incredible herb with other herbs that are useful for skin problems. I include Calendula flowers in all my salves including All-Purpose Salve, Fungal Salve, Scratch No More Salve, Black Salve and Wound Salve. Applied externally Calendula salve will effectively treat burns, stop bleeding, soothe the pain of injuries and irritation, and promote the healing of wounds, insect bites and bruises. Calendula is also excellent for chapped lips, frostbite, hemorrhoids and a wide variety of skin disorders. Calendula can also be taken as a tea to reduce fevers, ease menstrual cramps and help promote healing of eruptive skin disorders like measles.
A miraculous little flower, Calendula has a permanent home in my garden. Last year on Valentine’s Day I had a Calendula flower blooming through the snow that fell that day. Calendula enjoys the cold weather and that is why it needs to be planted in the fall so we can enjoy its winter or early spring arrival.
So if you didn’t have the opportunity to plant seeds this fall, go out and buy some 4 inch plants and transplant them in to your garden. Remember to collect the seeds so you’ll have a fresh crop every year.
Fall is the best time to plant many herbs, flowers and vegetables here in Central Texas. So get busy in the garden, prepare your soil and enjoy the bounty that Mother Nature so graciously provides you.
With Warm Green Blessings,