How to grow pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) from seed
In this article, we will learn step by step how to grow pot marigold from seed (Calendula officinalis).
Calendulas are fast-growing bushy annual plants. There are tall cultivars reaching 60cm (24in) and dwarf forms that grow to 30cm (12in). All have lance-shaped, strongly aromatic, pale green leaves.
The daisy-like flowers are very attractive, they can be single or double in a wide range of yellow and orange shades. They flower from spring to autumn. They are also drought resistant plants which makes them very useful.
Although many annuals can be sown directly in the garden, sowing early seeding in a sheltered location gives the plants an advance in growth and a more assured germination that generally produces better results.
Seeds can be sown in pots or trays and kept at good temperature in a greenhouse, cold frame or even inside in a sunny window sill.
You can buy pot marigold seeds in garden centers, in supermarkets or online. Check the package to see if the seeds are within expiration date and if it is sealed and in good condition. If you need to store seeds for some time, do so in a cool, dry place. A refrigerator is perfect for it.
Calendula officinalis seeds are small, with a moon-like shape and they are easily handled to sow in a tray.
When to sow
Pot marigold can be sown from late winter to mid spring. You can start them earlier in a sheltered place. Keep in mind they will need to be protected until the last frost has passed.
How to sow
Fill the tray with good quality seed compost adding some grit for good drainage. Leave some space below the pot edge. Lightly press the soil to make it firmer.
Distribute the seeds in the tray. Do not sow too much tighter.
Then lightly cover the seeds with more soil. Water the tray with a fine-grained watering can or dip the tray in a bucket of water so it is absorbed from bottom-up.
You can cover the seed tray and keep it protected to improve germination. A temperature of 20 to 23ºC is ideal for the germination to occur.
Calendula officinalis seeds germinate easily and will be transplanted later to individual pots.
How to plant
When the seeds have already developed some leaves, it is time to plant them individually. In the picture below, the seedlings are ready to be replanted individually and allowed to grow more before plant in final place. 5 weeks passed between sowing and the picture below.
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