Calundela Flowers – A Must Grow

I have grown calendula flowers for years and though I knew they were good for the skin in lotions and salves, I had not used them medicinally or any other way except once in soap. They were an untapped resource.

Why I Grew Them

  • They were pretty.
  • The blooms lasted a long time.
  • Some seeds survived the winter to grow new plants.
  • The seeds were easy to collect.
  • The deer left them alone. A really BIG deal since they were in the unprotected front flower bed.

“All good things!” as Olaf would say from the Disney movie, Frozen.

When I knew I needed to grow flowers to make a permaculture, I felt a prompting, ‘Grow calundelas’. I’m hoping I received the feeling for the anti-inflammation properties. I’m really struggling with my lungs and left knee. For that, I’ll try making a herbal tea out of the flowers and green base. But first I need to get through the canning. I can’t multi-task like I use to so I’ll simply work on obtaining a gallon of dried flowers for winter. If you have some too, be sure and keep the resinous green base on the flowers as they are rich in medicinal qualities.

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Medicinal Properties

I started to look at all the medicinal reasons for using Calundela and I was overwhelmed. Something that comes easily right now. So I marked this site which lists the Medicinal properties and I’ll come back to it later when I’m actually going to use the flowers. This is a favorite site that doctors use and me too though I don’t understand everything I read here.

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Soil Amenders

The calendula roots benefit the soil by forming active relationships with soil fungi. That really thrills me as I’m trying to shift my bacteria based soil to a more fungi based one. The proof that I can grow mushrooms now means I’m getting there. Someday, I will grow mushrooms to eat.

Calundela are in the Asteraceae family which members fix nitrogen in the soil. “Go family!” I can imagine growing them with heavy feeders. This year I grew them beside my squash and they are huge. In a permaculture of perennials it could balance the soil without adding admendments.

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How to Grow

Calendelas will thrive in just about any soil. Most of us grow it as an annual but if you live in zones 8-10 it is a short lived perennial. The flowers bloom best in cool weather with low humidity which describes our weather perfectly. In some areas calundelas bloom from May to frost.

 Calundelas are related to daisies, marigolds, and sunflowers in the Asteraceae family. Since families have traits that are alike, I’ve begun researching to see – do Calendulas retard growth in plants around them like Sunflowers do? I never found the answer but since this is only effective for a foot from the plant’s roots with Sunflowers, I’ll guess calendulas are the same. They say sunflowers are not to be grown with potatoes so I’ll avoid them with calundelas

Calendula contain the phototoxin alpha-terthienyl, which protects against root-eating nematodes. No idea what that is but we have so few bugs and disease that I’m in blissful ignorance.  Calendulas repel aphids and attracts cabbage moths which lay in them and so could be used to aid your braccia family. They lure beneficial insects which includes ladybirds, lacewings, and hoverflies.

Calundulas  companion plants include Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Peas, Carrots, Asparagus, and Spring salad vegetables. Wouldn’t calundulas and Tomatoes look pretty against each other?

To Encourage Growth

Calundelas self sow so be sure and allow some of the flowers to progress to the seed stage. Allow them to fall on their own and simply top dress with compost and wait for next year. Gently aerate in spring if the soil is hard and compacted. Or collect with your little ones since the seeds are large crescent moons and save to grow somewhere else next year.

I’ve found two other members of this family growing wild on our property. This speaks volumes about what I can grow and what the soil is telling me it needs.

Calendula flowers are sleepy heads and open slowly in the morning. It is best to picked them in the heat of the day when the resins are high.

Did you know calendula flowers were used to dye butter at one time? I didn’t. The more I learn the more excited I get.

  • Put calendula where you want to fix nitrogen.
  • Put calendulas where you want to attract pest.
  • Put calendulas where you need to aid the fungi in the soil.
  • Put calendulas where their bright, long, lasting color will be seen often and delight.

I know to put them in the area I want to grow mushrooms in, in the future. I know to eat the blossoms and dry them for infusions or cooking come winter.IMG_9149

How about you? Do you grow and use them? I hear they are very popular. I can’t wait to use them in infusions. I’m already cooking with the cheerful pedals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Calundela Flowers – A Must Grow

  1. Valerie Dibble

    I’m sure you are familiar with Dr. Christopher. He has a lung and bronchial herbal capsule that is amazing for lung issues. I tend to go into bronchitis fairly easily, and now when I feel it starting, I take it for a few days. I have managed to not have bronchitis for a few years now. I have learned a lot about herbs from his website also. herballegacy.com

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    1. Yes, i am familiar with Dr. Christopher. I have one of his books from many years ago. I was not aware of his website. I will check it out and the lung formula. I used a lot of herbs when our kids were young and bought herbs in bulk mixing my own formulas. I shifted my use to Celestial Seasonings when our daughter moved to an hour away. She has moved and I am moving on to thinking of growing and foraging for my needs. There is so many herbs that do the same thing. I definitely need a few formulas for basic needs. Thanks for reminding me of Dr. Christopher, I need to get my book out once more and check out the website. Thanks for the reminder. It came at just the right time.

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  2. Valerie Dibble

    I am working to get as much of our medical needs as possible switched over to more natural herbal remedies. I will be adding many more herbs and medicinal plants into my gardens next year. I have gotten my family herbalist certificate and am working on my master herbalist certificate. Most of the medications they give you these days are so expensive, most people can’t afford them, and give you worse side effects than the disease they are treating. In my humble opinion. lol

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      1. Valerie Dibble

        I am taking it through Vintage Remedies Learning Center. Unfortunately, they are no longer offering new classes. Those of us who were previously registered can finish our classes, but that’s it. They have partnered with another site. I will check and see what it is and post it here for you.

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  3. I do not grow the because of their susceptibility to mildew.
    I remember something odd about them though. Many were grown on the coast of Santa Barbara County for seed production. Farther inland, more acreage of the were grown for, of all things, chicken feed. It was not because of their nutritional value, but because they improve the yellow color of the yolks of the hen’s eggs.

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    1. Marigolds and Calundela flowers are options I hear to change yolk color to make the egg look more nutritious, not be more nutritious. I’m going to use Calundela flowers as an anti-inflammatory. There is arthritis in my left knee and I was told by the doctor that I walk bow legged. The cushion is worn out on the inside probably from years in the saddle. My father was a bow legged cowboy until surgery so the problem does not surprise me.
      I saw where Calundela does not like humidity so that does not surprise me that you have trouble. Our air is dry. This year is the most humid that I can remember.

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