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Calendula officinalis Calendula, Pot Marigold1

Edward F. Gilman and Teresa Howe 2


A hardy annual, from southern Europe, the pot marigold is one of the most reliable cool season annuals. Flowers are single or double and usually yellow or orange. Pot marigold will grow one to two feet tall and require full to partial sun. As an herb the petals are much prized for their coloring and flavor. The colonists used the petals to color butter and cheese and added the dry petals to soup for flavor. In USDA hardiness zones 9b, 10, and 11, Calendula officinalis is generally planted in the fall for winter and spring color.

General Information

Scientific name: Calendula officinalis
Pronunciation: kuh-LEND-yoo-luh off-fiss-in-AY-liss
Common name(s): calendula, pot marigold
Family: Compositae
Plant type: herbaceous
USDA hardiness zones: all zones (Fig. 1)
Planting month for zone 7: May
Planting month for zone 8: Mar; Apr; Sep; Oct
Planting month for zone 9: Mar; Nov; Dec
Planting month for zone 10 and 11: Feb; Dec
Origin: not native to North America
Uses: container or above-ground planter; mass planting; cut flowers; attracts butterflies; culinary
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the plant

Figure 1. Shaded area represents potential planting range.
Figure 1.  Shaded area represents potential planting range.


Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet
Plant habit: round
Plant density: dense
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: ovate
Leaf venation: not applicable
Leaf type and persistence: not applicable
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: not applicable
Fall characteristic: not applicable


Flower color: yellow; white
Flower characteristic: showy


Fruit shape: no fruit
Fruit length: no fruit
Fruit cover: no fruit
Fruit color: not applicable
Fruit characteristic: inconspicuous and not showy

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: not applicable
Current year stem/twig color: green
Current year stem/twig thickness: medium


Light requirement: plant grows in full sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; acidic; loam
Drought tolerance:
Soil salt tolerances: unknown
Plant spacing: 6 to 12 inches


Roots: not applicable
Winter interest: not applicable
Outstanding plant: not particularly outstanding
Invasive potential: not known to be invasive
Pest resistance: long-term health usually not affected by pests

Use and Management

Pot marigold is useful planted in a container or 12 to 18 inches apart in a mass planting. Their bright colors draw attention to an area. They look nice as an annual groundcover in an open bed or beneath a small tree. A tree with dark bark contrasts nicely with a mass planting of pot marigold. Cultivars include: 'Bon Bon', 'Coronet', 'Fiesta Gitana', 'Geisha Girl', 'Indian Song', 'Kablouna', 'Mandarin', and 'Pacific Beauty'.


1. This document is FPS87, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 1999. Reviewed February 2014. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; and Teresa Howe, coordinator, Research Programs/Services, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Publication #FPS87

Date: 5/5/2015

      Organism ID


      • Gail Hansen de Chapman