Calendula officinalis
Common Name: marigold 
Type: Annual
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Origin unknown
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Bright yellow to deep orange
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Herb
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Black Walnut


Annual. Easily grown in average, moderately fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Plants generally appreciate some part afternoon shade in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area, but become leggy in too much shade. Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date or sow directly in the garden just before last frost date. Set seedlings or purchased starter plants out after last frost date. Young plants may be pinched back to encourage compact bushy growth. Deadhead spent flowers to promote additional bloom. If plants begin to languish in prolonged hot summer weather, cut back to promote fall flowering. Plants often will not last the growing season in hot St. Louis summers. May reseed in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Calendula officinalis, commonly called pot marigold, is a popular annual that is grown in beds and borders for its daisy or chrysanthemum-like bright yellow to deep orange flowers which in cool climates appear over a long summer to fall bloom period. Cultivars expand the available flower colors to include many pastel shades and some bicolors. Single to double flowerheads (3-4” diameter) may have contrasting darker center disks. The species is an Old World potherb and garden plant that was quite popular in England at the time of Shakespeare. It typically grows 1-2’ tall and as wide. Although the flowers and leaves are somewhat bitter tasting, they are edible and may be added fresh or dried to soups, salads or rice dishes for both color and flavor. Aromatic, lance-shaped to oblong-obovate green leaves (to 6” long).

Genus name comes from the Latin word calendae meaning the first day of the month.

Specific epithet means sold in shops. Frequently applied to plants believed to have medicinal properties.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to powdery mildew. Watch for slugs and snails, particularly on young plants. Aphids and whiteflies are occasional visitors.


Beds, borders, cottage gardens, cutting gardens or pots/containers.