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Calendula is an old-school plant experiencing a recent resurgence in popularity. Also known as "pot marigold," it typically has beautiful yellow-orange flowers, though some varieties are pink or red. The leaves are edible (better after boiling), but the petals have long been used as an edible garnish, and natural food dye and subtle flavoring (much like saffron, though with a different flavor). Back in the day, dairy farmers often dyed butter orange with calendula petals to make it look more appetizing. It also seems likely it was playing a preservative role, as the plant is now known to have some anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. It is still widely used a medicinal plant (especially for inflammation and to prevent infections) and in cosmetics (due to the presence of saponins, essential oils, and resins. This 'Resina' variety was bred by Mark Wheeler of Pacific Botanicals in Oregon for its high content of medicinal resin. It has since become the preferred variety among in-the-know herbalists and natural medicine practitioners. The plant is very easy to grow in a wide range of conditions. It is typically treated as an annual in North America, but it is actually a short-lived perennial and can persist for many years in warmer climates. It is believed native to southern Europe, but it is possible that it is a completely domesticated species that was developed from wild relatives in cultivation. Our seed comes from Aaron Parker of Edgewood Nursery in Maine.
GROWING TIPS: Direct Sow or start a few weeks early indoors. Does best in rich soil and full sun, but will tolerate part shade. Reliably self-sows if seed head are left to shatter on the plant.