Calendula - Balls Improved Orange

Avg seeds/pkt 125

Calendulas make a cheerful show of orange, edible flowers from early-Summer to late-Fall. Commercially, the flowers and leaves are the active ingredient in soothing lotions. In the kitchen, add the saffron-colored petals, fresh or dried, to grains, soups and salads.

About 3 weeks after danger of frost has passed and soil temperature is close to 65°F, choose a sunny location with average garden soil. Sow seeds 1/4-inch deep and 3 inches apart in rows 24 inches apart. Calendula seeds germinate in the dark. Water carefully to keep soil moist without moving seeds to the surface. Plants emerge in 8 to 16 days.

When seedlings are 3 inches high, thin plants to between
8 and 12 inches apart. Although calendulas do not require much water or fertilizer, a layer of mulch will keep soil moist and cool and will suppress weeds. Two-inch blossoms form on 15-inch stems in about 60 days.

For more blooms, pick often or remove flowers as they start to wilt, and before they develop seeds. In the hottest weeks of summer, if cut back to half their height, plants will return, flush with blossoms, from late summer until the first hard frost.

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