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Historically, marigolds have been seen as merry, love-inducing flowers, and their sunny faces are always a pleasure to see in the herbaceous border, container and the herb garden.
This annual, which can grow to 60cm, has a single or double flower, and these are generally yellow or orange. They are held aloft on bright green stems, above lance-like leaves, and they will continue to flower if one is vigilant in dead-heading.
Calendula enjoy well-drained to poor soil, in full sun, where they will thrive with very little care. Seed can be sown in situ in the spring, and they will readily self seed if allowed.
Calendula officinalis is used in the kitchen, as the leaves and flowers have a peppery flavour and can be added to salads and are especially effective as a garnish. The petals of the pot marigold are used to colour rice, milk desserts and cheese.
Medicinally, pot marigold has featured in many remedies, and the leaves are renowned for their antiseptic qualities, having been used to reduce inflammation e.g. eczema, acne, nappy rash, cradle cap. Homeopathic remedies include extract of marigold for all manner of complaints.