'Solar Flashback Mix' Calendula
Origin: Philomath, Oregon
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~90
Germination tested 12/2022: 57%
Life cycle: Annual
From the legendary Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seeds in Oregon comes this new take on an old favorite. He describes 'Solar Flashback Mix' as a "distinctive new family of flash, selected to highlight contrast between bright light yellows, pinks, and solid red or maroon. A special treat for those who love calendula, but want a rest from orange."
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 feature pinks and reds too. The leaves are edible (better after boiling), but it's the flowers that are the main attraction. 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.
Calendula 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). 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 in cultivation from wild relatives.
GROWING TIPS: Direct seed after danger of frost has passed. For maximum productivity, space plants around 6 inches apart.
NOTE: This variety carries the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) pledge, which states: “You have the freedom to use these OSSI-Pledged seeds in any way you choose. In return, you pledge not to restrict other's use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents or other means, and to include this pledge with any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives.” More information on OSSI can be found at osseeds.org.