Calendula will add beauty, color and usefulness to anyones garden! Calendula officinalis is an everblooming hardy annual (sometimes acts as a perennial). In warmer climates calendula blooms throughout the year, opening and closing with the sun. It is an excellent companion plant for the vegetable garden while attracting beneficial bees and hoverflies for pollination. It has a sticky substance on it stems, making a great catch and control for aphids. It aids in keeping other plants disease and insect free.
Calendula likes rich soil for the best production of flowers. Amend soil with compost. Grow in a sunny location. Begin to harvest just before the blossoms open completely for the best medicinal resins. I harvest every other day. Once you stop harvesting the plant will slow or even stop producing buds to make seeds, so continue that harvest as long as you can or until you want seed. The entire flower is edible, but petals are the best for salads. Dry calendula flowers all summer long for winter use and making of medicines and salves. Add dried flowers to tea mixes! Growing your own calendula has so many benefits, it’s easy and great for kids to help get involved.
Calendula is an important medicinal plant. Commonly found in salves, oils, and tinctures, the bright orange and yellow blossoms contain powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that promote cell regeneration and hasten wound healing. The flower petals are also edible and lovely added to salads, soups and even omelets. Calendula is helpful with moving the lymph system.
Make a healing calendula salve. It’s great for skin infections, diaper rash, and wounds. Plus, it’s super easy and fun to make.
Place 1/2 cup dried calendula flowers and 1 1/4 cup olive oil in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over very low heat. Do not allow to boil. Let herbs infuse until oil becomes a rich golden color, usually 45 minutes. Strain out blossoms. Be sure to press out all the oil and then add 1/4 cup beeswax to warm oil, stirring until melted. Before pouring, check the consistency by placing 1 tablespoon salve in the fridge too cool. If too hard, add a little more oil, if too soft, add a little more beeswax. Pour into small jars or tins and label. It will last for several months. Store in a cool dry place.