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Friday, April 19, 2024

Calendula vs Marigold – Differences, Uses, and Growing Tips

Just as beautiful and vibrant as they are, the Calendula and Marigold flowers are often confused due to their strikingly similar appearance. However, these two plants are distinctly different in terms of their botanical classification, uses, and cultivation requirements. In this informative guide, we will explore into the differences between Calendula and Marigold, explore their unique uses in cooking, medicine, and pest control, and provide important growing tips to help you cultivate these stunning flowers in your garden. So, let’s uncover the mysteries of Calendula and Marigold to help you better understand and enjoy these remarkable plants.

Key Takeaways:

  • Calendula and marigold are two different plants: Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is different from the common marigold which belongs to the Tagetes genus.
  • Calendula has medicinal uses: Calendula is widely known for its medicinal properties and is used in herbal remedies for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities.
  • Marigolds are mostly grown for ornamental purposes: Marigolds are popularly grown in gardens for their vibrant colors and are believed to bring in good luck.
  • Calendula is edible: Calendula petals are edible and are commonly used to add color to salads, soups, and other dishes, while marigolds are not typically consumed.
  • Growing tips: Calendula thrives in cooler weather and well-drained soil, while marigolds prefer full sun and can tolerate more heat and dry conditions.

Botanical Classification and Characteristics

Calendula Overview

Overview: Calendula, scientifically known as Calendula officinalis, is a member of the Asteraceae family. It is a well-known herbaceous plant with bright yellow or orange flowers that bloom abundantly. Calendula is native to Mediterranean regions but is now cultivated worldwide for its ornamental beauty and medicinal properties. The plant is characterized by its hairy stems and aromatic leaves, with a height ranging from 12 to 24 inches.

Marigold Overview

Calendula: Marigold, commonly known as Tagetes, comprises various species, including Tagetes erecta and Tagetes patula. These vibrant annual plants are part of the Asteraceae family. Marigolds are native to North and South America but are widely grown in gardens for their attractive flowers and natural pest-repelling properties. They typically range in height from 6 to 36 inches and produce flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red.

Growing Tips for Calendula and Marigold

Little care and attention can go a long way in successfully growing calendula and marigold plants. Here are some tips to help you cultivate these vibrant and beneficial flowers:

  • Choose a sunny location: Calendula and marigold plants thrive in full sun, so ensure they receive at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.
  • Well-drained soil: Plant your calendula and marigold in well-drained soil to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot.
  • Regular watering: Water the plants deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent mold and mildew.
  • Deadheading: Remove spent flowers regularly to encourage continuous blooming and prevent the plants from going to seed too quickly.
  • Fertilize sparingly: Use a balanced fertilizer once a month to promote healthy growth, but be careful not to over-fertilize, which can result in fewer flowers.

Soil and Climate Requirements

Any well-drained soil is suitable for both calendula and marigold plants. These flowers thrive in moderate climates but can adapt to various conditions, making them versatile choices for any garden.

Watering, Light, and Fertilization

Light is crucial for the growth of calendula and marigold plants, as they require ample sunlight to thrive and produce vibrant blooms. Additionally, these flowers prefer consistent moisture but can tolerate some drought conditions, making them relatively low-maintenance options for gardeners.

Uses of Calendula and Marigold

Medicinal Applications of Calendula

To harness the medicinal properties of Calendula, one can infuse the petals into oils, creams, or salves for various skin conditions such as cuts, burns, and rashes. Calendula has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties which make it a popular choice for healing skin irritations. It can also be used in teas or tinctures for internal benefits, like soothing digestive issues and boosting the immune system.

Culinary and Aesthetic Uses of Marigold

Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is not only a beautiful addition to gardens but also a versatile herb that can be used in various culinary dishes. The petals of Marigold are edible and can be used to add color and a subtle peppery tang to salads, soups, and even desserts. In addition to its culinary uses, Marigold is also valued for its ability to attract beneficial insects to the garden, such as bees and butterflies, making it a popular choice for companion planting.

Aesthetic: Marigold flowers are not only a feast for the eyes but a practical addition to any garden. Their vibrant colors can brighten up any landscape, while their strong scent can deter pests like nematodes and aphids. The sturdy nature of Marigolds also makes them a great option for borders, containers, or as a colorful ground cover.

Propagation and Maintenance

Seed Sowing and Germination Techniques

Germination of calendula and marigold seeds is relatively easy and can be done directly in the garden soil or started indoors. For optimal results, sow the seeds in well-draining soil and keep them consistently moist until they germinate. The ideal temperature for germination is around 70°F, and germination typically takes place within 5-14 days. Once the seedlings have established roots, they can be transplanted to their final growing location.

Pruning and Dealing with Pests

With proper pruning, both calendula and marigold plants can be encouraged to produce more blooms and maintain a tidy appearance. Deadheading spent flowers regularly can prolong the flowering period and prevent self-seeding. Pertaining to dealing with pests, marigolds are known for their ability to repel nematodes in the soil, making them a valuable companion plant in the garden. Calendula, on the other hand, is relatively pest-resistant but may still attract aphids or caterpillars in certain conditions.

Maintenance: Regular maintenance tasks such as deadheading, watering, and fertilizing are necessary to ensure healthy growth and continuous blooming of both calendula and marigold plants. Keep an eye out for aphids, caterpillars, or fungal diseases, and take appropriate measures to control them if necessary. By providing adequate sunlight, well-draining soil, and proper care, you can enjoy a vibrant display of colorful blooms throughout the growing season.


Presently, the differences between calendula and marigold are clear: calendula is part of the marigold family, while marigolds are part of the tagetes family. The uses of both plants also vary, with calendula primarily used for its medicinal properties, and marigolds often utilized for their ornamental value. When growing these plants, it’s crucial to consider their specific needs, such as soil type, sunlight, and watering requirements. By understanding these differences and tips, gardeners can successfully incorporate both calendula and marigold into their gardens for beauty and practical purposes.


Q: What are the differences between Calendula and Marigold?

A: Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is a genus of about 15–20 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family Asteraceae. Marigold, on the other hand, refers to plants of the Tagetes genus. The main difference between the two is that Calendula is edible and often used for culinary and medicinal purposes, while Marigold is primarily grown for its ornamental value.

Q: How are Calendula and Marigold used?

A: Calendula is commonly used in cooking, teas, salads, and as a natural dye for fabrics. It is also highly valued for its medicinal properties, known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antifungal effects. Marigold, on the other hand, is mainly grown for its bright, showy blooms, making it a popular choice for gardens, borders, and containers. It is also believed to have some pest-repelling properties in the garden.

Q: What are some growing tips for Calendula and Marigold?

A: Calendula is easy to grow and thrives in full sun with well-drained soil. It is best to sow seeds directly in the garden after the last frost date. Regular deadheading will encourage more blooms. Marigolds prefer full sun and well-drained soil as well. They are relatively low-maintenance plants but benefit from regular watering, especially during hot, dry periods. Marigolds are often used as companion plants to repel pests in vegetable gardens.

Anetha Bakenberg
Anetha Bakenberghttps://plantmedinsights.com
Anetha Bakenberg, founder of PlantMed Insights, is a botanist and herbal wellness advocate. Passionate about sustainable living and community gardening, she shares her extensive knowledge in medicinal plants and eco-friendly practices to inspire a healthier, greener world.

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