What an all purposeful flower to have in the garden! The calendula is both edible and medicinal. Commonly known as Pot Marigold, this plant is a member of the daisy family and originates from the Mediterranean. It comes in a variety of golden colours such as yellow and orange.
Growing – They’ve been a lovely addition to our Sydney veggie patch – these green small and lush plants have a long growing season, flowering from mid-winter to late Autumn, giving your garden some lovely bright colour in the cooler periods. They will make a great border plant (30 cm apart) at Booyong in the new veggie spiral (if the kangaroos don’t eat them).
Care – Calendulas are considered easy to grow. They prefer a sunny position in a well-drained soil, and will apparently tolerate light frost.
Pruning – The plant doesn’t require pruning, however the more you deadhead and remove the flowers the more will emerge.
Companion Planting – Calendula flowers provide habitat for bees and other beneficial insects in the garden. Companion plants are tomato and asparagus, and they are often planted with spring salad vegetables, peas, carrots, and cucumbers.
Pests and Diseases – Powdery mildew is common in older plants.
Harvest – It helps to place Calendulas somewhere accessible so you can regularly harvest each day as flowers emerge. Just snip them off close to the stem with a pair of clean scissors. They should be removed when flowering and fully open (usually mid-morning) as they close late in the afternoon and evening. Ensure they are completely dry when harvesting.
Propagation – Propagate by seed in early Spring or divide the plants; and if you leave some flowers on the plants, they will likely self-seed. We will try both methods to share plants with friends and take some to the farm.
Health Benefits – Calendula is said to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and skin healing properties. Calendula flowers infused in vegetable oil has historically been used to heal burned or abraded skin. As a salve, it is also said to be useful when treating nappy rash, chapped or cracked skin, abrasions, sunburn and eczema, and assists in soothing insect bites. It makes a great lip balm as well, and we may try some soap.
Eating – Calendula flowers are edible and can be used in salads or vegetable dishes, and their leaves and petals can be added to quiches, biscuits, stir fry, soups, and other meals. You can also infuse Calendula petals in olive oil and use it as a dressing in salad.
The flower petals from calendula can be used to add colour to salads, rice dishes, soups, stir fries, stews, biscuits and desserts. You can also use fresh leaves in salads.
Some recipes can be found below and were sourced from a book we purchased at a Lifeline sale
101 Easy homemade products for your skin, health and home – Jan Berry as we are only harvesting and drying now, we are yet to try them. We’ve placed the petals in Olive oil and now need to patently wait for 4-6 weeks.
Calendula oil is the base of a variety of recipes and you can make it with entire flower heads or just the petals, depending on your intended use. If you want to use the oil for dressing then a pure, organic olive oil would be beneficial. If you are intending to use it as a base for salve, you could use almond oil, jojoba or coconut oil, which are all lovely and soft on your skin.
The recipe for making Calendula oil is:
• Dry the flowers or petals entirely first – this can be done on a piece of paper or even in a dehydrator if you have one. When your flowers are dry, they will be brittle and the petals will be easy to remove from the heads. I have also read if you are drying flowers to do so face down, and if you wish to store your dried calendula petals or flowers keep them out of the sun in a dark cupboard or paper bag.
• Place the dried flowers or petals in a clean, dry glass jar (water will cause it to go rancid) and cover completely with your chosen oil.
• Place lid on the jar and label with today’s date and place in a cool dark place
• Leave oil to infuse for 4-6 weeks, then strain
• ¼ Cup Dried Calendula flowers
• ½ Cup Coconut oil
• 2 Tablespoons grated Beeswax
• 2 Tablespoons raw honey
Infuse the flowers in the coconut oil, and strain the infused oil using a cheesecloth and strainer, squeezing out as much of the oil as possible.
Put the infused oil into a glass jar and place in a saucepan with 2.5 cm of water, then add beeswax and heat over a medium-low flame until melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Allow the salve to sit undisturbed to thicken for 5-10 minutes, then stir thoroughly for a few minutes for the honey to be combined. You can omit the honey if you choose.
Carefully pour the hot salve into tins or jars.
Let it cool completely before use and store it in a cool place out of direct sunlight for 6-9 months.
• ½ Calendula infused coconut oil,
• ¼ cup shea or mango butter,
• 1 Tablespoon Aloe vera gel
• A few drops of essential oil (lavender, peppermint, rose or lime).
Add the Calendula infused oil and the shea butter to a heatproof canning jar. Place the jar into a saucepan containing a few inches of water, and heat over a medium low burner until the butter is just melted; then quickly remove from the heat.
Pour the mixture into a small mixing bowl and cool in the fridge for 30 minutes until it starts to firm. Add the aloe vera gel and essential oil and, using a handheld mixer, beat until light and fluffy.
Spoon into jars and store in the fridge, to use over a couple of weeks.
Calendula Bath Salts
• 1 Cup of Epsom salts
• ¼ Cup baking soda
• 2 tbsp citric acid
• ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
• ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
• ¼ cup dried Calendula flowers
Combine Epsom salts, baking soda, citric acid, ginger and cinnamon into a mixing bowl.
Using a coffee grinder or similar grind the dried Calendula flowers and then add to the other ingredients. Place into a clean and dry glass jar and seal, storing in a cool area, out of direct sunlight.
When bathing, add ¼ cup of the bath salts, a lovely invigorating combination for a winter bath!
Ensure no water gets into the jar and seal tightly after each use.
• ¼ Cup dried Calendula petals
• 284ml simmering water
• 105gm sodium hydroxide (lye)
• 738ml calendula infused olive oil
• 85ml castor oil
Wear protective eye wear and gloves when preparing soap.
Firstly, carefully stir the Calendula flowers into the lye and set it aside to cool in a safe place for 30-40 minutes (the temperature should drop to 38-43 degrees).
Heat the Calendula infused oil until it reaches 32 – 38 degrees, add the castor oil and then poor into a bowl. Add the cooled lye solution and hand stir with an immersion blender until trace is reached (when it becomes thick enough to leave a faint imprint when its drizzled across itself). This may take up to 10 minutes due to the high olive oil content.
Pour into mould and cover with wax paper, place in a towel to retain heat and leave in mould for 24-48 hours. Remove and slice into bars and allow to cure for 6-8 weeks before using.
Calendula Honey Face Wash
• 1/8 cup fresh flowers
• ¼ cup raw honey
Place the flowers in a clean glass jar and cover with the honey, leaving it to infuse for 2 weeks. You can strain if you wish.
Rub the honey over your face and neck, allowing it to sit for a minute. Place a face washer rinsed in warm water over your face for 15-20 seconds, then wash off.
Store the face wash in a cool dark area, ensuring the flowers remain covered. This can stay fresh for several months.
Calendula Lip Balm
• 43ml of Calendula infused oil
• 14gm shea, mango or avocado butter
• 14gm beeswax
Combine your oils, butter and bees wax in a heatproof glass jar and set into a saucepan with 2.5cm of water. Place over medium heat until melted and remove from heat, then pour into metal tins or lip balm tubes.
Store out of direct sunlight and it should stay fresh for 6-9 months.
Calendula Infused Aloe
Apparently good for chapped skin, sunburn, rashes, dry skin and minor scrapes.
• ½ cup Calendula fresh petals
• ½ Cup Aloe Vera Gel
Blend ingredients in a food processor and strain through a fine mesh sieve and store in a glass jar in the fridge (stays fresh for several weeks) or freeze in ice cubes in freezer bags (3-6 months).
Bug Bite Powder
• ¼ Cup dried Calendula flowers and petals
• 1 Tablespoon kaolin clay
Grind the flowers in a coffee grinder to create a fine silky powder, mix with the clay and store in a glass jar. Dab on bites or skin irritations or make a paste by taking a pinch and mixing with a few drops of water. Use within one year.