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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include: Pot Marigold, Scotch Marigold

Latin Name: Calendula officinalis

Plant Family: Asteraceae

Close Relatives: Sunflowers, Echinacea, Jerusalem artichoke

Uses and Markets: Culinary: Flower petals are edible and flower extracts can be added to poultry feed to darken the egg yolk. Medicinal: (e.g. treatment of skin disorders and pain, bactericide, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory). Industrial: Seeds contain 40-46% oil of which approximately 50% is calendic acid, which has use in the manufacture of paints, coatings, cosmetics, and some industrial nylon products.

Flowering calendula plantsMature calendula seeds
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes


Propagation method

Seeds; transplants

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

4-6 weeks prior to field planting.

Field Seeding Date:

Early to mid April.

Field Transplanting Dates

Mid spring

In-row spacing

5 to 25 cm

Between row spacing

15 to 70 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from Poland, Iran and India showed an optimal nitrogen rate between 80 and 100 kg/ha for optimal flower and grain yield. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils.

Soil pH

Neutral soils

Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range

Temperate climate.

Temperature sensitivity

Frost sensitive.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation usually not required.

Days to harvest

Flower heads 70 days, seeds 120 days.

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Multiple harvests of flower heads from the same planting. Single Harvest (Seeds).

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest (flowers), machine harvest (combine for seeds).

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest (flowers).  Seed crops may need to be artificially desiccated prior to combining.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Adequate ventilation, heat and shade are necessary to properly dry Calendula flowers.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): Store dried flower heads in a dry environment.

Temperature: Low

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: If properly stored, dried flowers and seeds can be stored for extended periods but quality/viability will decrease with time.

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Aphids, garden fleahopper

Diseases: Bacterial leaf spot (Pseudomonas sp.)

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility)

Insects and Invertebrates: Whitefly, Aphids, Thrips, Plant Bugs, Cutworms, Cabbage Looper, Cucumber Beetles and Blister Beetles

Diseases: Alternaria, Fungal Leaf Blights, Rust, Powdery Mildew and Botrytis


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: Bacterial leaf spot.  This crop is in Crop Group 19: Herbs and Spices Group and subgroup 19A: Herb Subgroup when grown as an herb. This crop is in Crop Group 20: Oilseeds Group and subgroup 20B: Sunflower Subgroup when grown as an oilseed. This crop group (19) is being revised and may change in the near future. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Bacterial leaf spot on calendula leaves
Additional Notes

Calendula flowers over an extended period making the timing of seed harvest challenging.  Desiccants are typically applied when 60-80% of the seed heads are brown.

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile

  1. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  2. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.

  1. Froment M., Mastebroek, D. and K. van Gorp. 2009. A Growers Manual for Calendula officinalis L.
  2. Krol, B. 2011. Yield and the chemical composition of flower heads of pot marigold (Calendula officinalis L. cv. Orange King) depending on nitrogen fertilization. Acta Scientiarum Polonorum – Hortorum Cultus 10: 235-243.
  3. Mili, R. and A.S. Sable. 2003. Effect of planting density and nitrogen levels on growth and flower production of calendula (Calendula officinalis L.). Indian Journal of Horticulture 60: 399-403.
  4. Richter, C. 2007. Commercial calendula cultivation.
  5. Shakib, A.K., Nejad, A.R. and A. Khalighi. 2010. Changes in seed and oil yield of Calendula officinalis L. as affected by different levels of nitrogen and plant density. Research on Crops 11: 728-732.