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The marigold (Calendula officinalis) has been a loyal and easy-care flowering and medicinal plant in many gardens in Central Europe for several centuries. Since the plant often enriches the garden with yellow and orange splashes of color in the same location for years without the gardener doing anything, there is sometimes uncertainty about winter hardiness.

Marigolds do not like deep sub-zero temperatures

The origin of the marigold

The marigold probably originally comes from the Mediterranean region, but has also gone wild in Central Europe, partly on rubble and gravel heaps, as a result of the forced cultivation in monasteries and private gardens for centuries. Because the positive health effects of calendula were discovered early on, it has long been cultivated as an attractive garden plant for consumption. In the wild, however, the marigold has not been able to assert itself in Central Europe to this day, since, contrary to often contradictory claims, it is a plant that is not hardy in Central Europe. The impression of a hardy summer bloomer is based on the annual return of the plants to the same location, which results from the self-sowing of the hardy seeds.

The marigold in the garden and on the balcony

Since the marigold can only survive very light frosts, it should only be cultivated outdoors when severe late and night frosts are no longer to be expected. However, the plants can be grown in the mini greenhouse on the balcony or on the windowsill and planted outside in May. So that the calendula can also thrive on the balcony, it should be watered regularly in a sunny spot and planted with its taproots in a sufficiently deep planter. These robust plants bloom particularly magnificently and persistently if you regularly remove wilted flower heads or harvest freshly blossomed flower heads weekly during the summer season for use in the kitchen.

Multiply marigolds yourself

Marigolds are very easy to propagate yourself. To do this, ensure the following steps:

  • allow some flowers to mature with seeds after flowering
  • Only remove the seeds when they can be easily detached
  • gently dry the seeds at room temperature and store away from moisture

You can then sow the seeds directly outdoors or prefer them indoors, they usually germinate quickly and easily. Seeds that have fallen to the ground in the pot or in the bed often sprout by themselves because they are hardy.

tips

You can also take advantage of the natural healing properties of calendula during the winter months by drying the petals during flowering and brewing them for internal use as a tea or preparing them as topical oils and ointments.

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