Pot Marigold

Pot Marigold

The flowers of pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), in shades of lemon yellow, creamy white, and deep orange, flourish in cool, temperate climates. They bring glowing accents to gardens or containers and provide long-lasting cut flowers. While pot marigold is native to the Mediterranean, it’s been grown in European gardens since the 1100s, when it was a popular herb used for medicinal and culinary purposes. You’ll notice the aromatic scent of its deep green foliage if you brush past it. Don’t confuse this annual with the garden marigold (Tagetes species), which also has bright orange and yellow flowers.

 

Pot Marigold
Pot Marigold

Common name: Pot marigold, English marigold

  • Botanical name: Calendula officinalis
  • Plant type: Annual
  • Height: 12 to 30 inches
  • Family: Asteraceae

Growing conditions

  • Sun: Sun to part shade
  • Soil: Moderately fertile
  • Moisture: Average

Care

  • Mulch: Apply 1 to 2 inches of organic mulch around plants to deter weeds.
  • Fertiliser: Usually none is required. If necessary, apply balanced organic or slow-release plant food in spring.
  • Pruning: Deadhead to encourage more flowering.

Cultivars

  • ‘Art Shades’ has a mix of apricot, orange, and cream blooms. Grows 24 inches tall.
  • Dwarf Double Gem Mixed Colours has double, 3-inch flowers in a blend of lemon yellow, apricot, gold, and orange. Grows 12 inches tall.
  • ‘Orange King’ has double, orange flowers. Grows 18 inches tall.
Purple Larkspur And Red Poppies
Purple Larkspur And Red Poppies

Garden notes

  • Plant seedlings or plants after the last frost date.
  • Combine with other cool-season flowers such as blue bachelor buttons, purple larkspur, and red poppies.
  • A cool-weather performer, pot marigold’s flower production diminishes in the hot summer temperatures in Zones 7 to 9. Cut back to promote fall flowering.
  • Plant in the fall when its rich orange and yellow hues complement other fall-flowering plants.
  • Some may reseed in the garden.

Pests and diseases

Aster yellows, powdery mildew, and fungal leaf spots occur.
Slugs, snails, and whiteflies may attack the plants.

Propagation

Indoors, start seeds six to eight weeks before the last frost in a soil-less mix.
Direct-sow in spring just before the last frost date or in fall. Protect fall-started seedlings from cold where not reliably hardy.

All in the family

This family is still sometimes called by its older name, Compositae. The flowers have a unique arrangement not seen in other families. They typically have one or both of two kinds of florets. The outer perimeter of a flower head (like the sunflower) is composed of florets possessing a long strap-like petal, called ray florets. The inner portion of the flower head is composed of small flowers with tubular corollas, called disc florets. The Asteraceae family is one of the largest, and includes heliopsis, asters, African and French marigolds, coneflowers, and thousands of other perennials and annuals, plus a few shrubs and trees.

Lady in Red

Lady In Red

‘Lady in Red’ is a terrific cultivar of Texas Sage, a wildflower whose native range includes the southern United States. This showy beauty is a bit more compact than the species, growing about 12 to18 inches tall with deep green foliage. Blooming from early summer until frost, ‘Lady in Red’ produces dozens of long, airy spikes packed with bright red flowers. Those brilliant flowers make ‘Lady in Red’ a sure hummingbird magnet, whether planted in the garden or in patio containers.

Plant Facts

Common name: Lady in Red Texas Sage
Botanical name: Salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’
Plant type: Annual or perennial, depending on climate
Zones: All zones as an annual; perennial in Zones 8-10
Height: 12 to 18 inches
Family: Lamiaceae (also known as Labiatae), mint family

Growing conditions

Sun: A real heat lover, ‘Lady in Red’ will thrive where more delicate annuals would wilt away. Plant in full sun.
Soil: Will grow in most soils as long as they are well drained.
Moisture: Moderately drought tolerant, but will benefit from water during dry spells.

A Layer Of Mulch
A Layer Of Mulch

Care

  • Mulch: A layer of mulch in the summer will help conserve moisture and keep soil temperatures from rising too much.
  • Pruning: Snap off faded flower spikes to keep the plant tidy.
  • Fertiliser: In gardens, either no fertiliser or one light fertilisation in mid-summer. In containers, use a dilute fertiliser solution once or twice per month.

Propagation

Seeds: If you let ‘Lady in Red’ set seeds, expect to have a bumper crop of seedlings the next year. The seedlings look very much like the cultivar but may be slightly taller and more open.

Pests and diseases

The plant is amazingly free of disease or insect problems.

Lady-in-Red
Lady-in-Red

Garden notes

‘Lady in Red’ was an All America Selections winner in 1992
When grown as a perennial in mild Southern and Western zones, good soil drainage is critical. Soggy soil over winter can kill the plant.
For a stylish combination, grow ‘Lady in Red’ with light pink snapdragons, white petunias, and silver-foliaged dusty miller or licorice plant (Helichrysum).
For a bold look, combine ‘Lady in Red’ with orange cosmos, deep purple petunias, and chartreuse-foliaged ornamental sweet potato vine.

Additional cultivars

‘Coral Nymph’ – bicolored coral and white flowers, 2 feet tall
‘Forest Fire’ – dramatic red and near-black flowers, 18 to 24 inches tall
‘Snow Nymph’ – white flowers, 2 feet tall

All in the family

Some relatives of the Salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’ are the blue (Salvia farinacea) and red salvia (Salvia splendens) typically used in annual flower beds, the hardy perennial salvia (Salvia x sylvestris), and the herb sage (Salvia officinalis) that’s used in cooking.
Plants in the Salvia (sage) genus usually have square stems like members of the mint family, are often aromatic, and sometimes have hairy leaves. Depending on the species, they are hardy in Zones 4 to 10. They have a wide range of colours and forms, and are found in wildflower meadows, borders plantings, or other sunny sites.