Calendula officinalis is one of my top ten flower plants to grow with children. Everyone thinks of a sunflower as a children’s flower. The pot or English Marigold may not grow so tall, but it matches the sunflower’s beauty, petal pattern and gorgeous orange and yellow colours.
|Marigold - child friendly plant|
Its family-friendly characteristics include:-
- It is an annual & easy to grow from seed.
- It will self- seed.
- It is bee friendly.
- The plant will keep flowering from June/July to the first frosts (though you will need to keep deadheading for this to occur).
- It has edible flowers – use in salads or to dye rice.
You do not see the grown flowers very often in garden centres so you will need to grow from seed. There is a wide variety of orange to yellow flowers available at varying heights.
You can germinate in pots or sow direct into the ground once the soil begins to warms up in March /April.
Do not confuse with French Marigolds Tagetes Patula which are not edible.
|Marigolds on edge of vegetable bed|
It is also used as a companion plant particularly for certain vegetables. It is therefore often a favourite on the allotment. It repels whitefly from tomatoes and can lure aphids away from beans. It also attracts beneficial insects, including ladybirds, lacewings and hoverflies, all which prey on aphids. Wish my vegetable plot looked like the one above.