Calendula is a striking annual plant to grow in the garden or in a pot. They have beautiful flowers of bright colors such as yellow or orange. In addition, it is possible to achieve the flowering of this plant throughout the year. It is popularly known by the name of Maravilla and not only does it delight our eyes with its striking flowers, but they also provide a delicious aroma and have a soft texture.
In this article we will find out more about the calendula plant, its care and what it is for .
Calendula plant characteristics
The most widely cultivated variety is Calendula officinalis and it is a perennial or annual aromatic herbaceous plant, depending on the climatic conditions. It is classified within the Asteraceae family of plants and is also popularly known by the names of wonder, mercadela or buttercup .
The stem of this plant can reach a height between 20 cm and 55 cm and develops upright. Its leaves are simple, oblong-lanceolate, alternate and with a length that reaches between 7 cm and 14 cm and between 1 cm and 4 cm wide. Its flowers can grow throughout the year if the climate is mild, and if not, they sprout mainly during spring and summer. These form inflorescences that are grouped in chapters between 3 cm and 5 cm wide and the flowers are yellow and orange . Its seeds are small, approximately 1 cm, are C-shaped and brown in color.
What is calendula for: properties and benefits
Apart from decorating exteriors and interiors, this plant is widely used in medicine and beauty. Among the health properties of calendula we can highlight:
- Antiseptic and antibiotic (mainly antibacterial and antifungal).
- Pain relieving.
- Healing and regenerating.
Thus, thanks to these properties, calendula has many benefits for our health .
What is calendula for: health uses
- Dermatological problems: acne, eczema, hypersensitive skin, atopic skin, psoriasis, hives, itching, fungi, bacterial infections, sunburns, etc.
- Wounds, scrapes and burns.
- Swollen gums.
- Irregular, heavy and / or painful menstruation.
- Digestive problems: indigestion, low bile production, intestinal parasites, gastritis, colitis, etc.
It should not be taken or applied during pregnancy and lactation.
Calendula is a plant that can be grown well in the garden or in a pot inside the home. It is possible to get an adult flowering plant for a very affordable price. However, they can also be planted from seeds in spring .
To sow calendula and get the plant to grow well, the first step is to choose a good seedbed, which can be a polystyrene tray, yogurt glasses, milk containers, flowerpots or other types of containers, but making sure that it is they can make holes for water drainage. This seedbed should be filled to the top with substrate for seedlings or some universal growing substrate, easily found in any nursery. Subsequently, this land should be watered until it is well soaked but not flooded. Next, we must place two seeds per alveolus or seedbed and cover them with a layer of substrate 0.5 cm thick.
Once we have all this done, we must water it with a sprayer or place it on a tray and water it underneath. Finally, our seedbed should be placed in an area where it gets direct sunlight. With regular waterings, the seeds will be able to germinate in one or two weeks at a temperature of 20ºC. When the plants reach about five centimeters they can be transplanted.
Calendula care: a basic guide
This plant is quite resistant and does not need much care. However, among the basic care of calendula we can highlight the following recommendations:
- Location and light: it is advisable to place it outside or in an area where the sun can shine directly.
- Irrigation: it should be frequent in summer and scarcer during the other months. Generally, it is recommended 3 or 4 waterings per week in the hottest months and 2 or 3 the rest of the year.
- Substrate: this plant is not demanding in terms of the substrate, the most important thing is that it has good drainage. In case of growing it in a pot, you can add a first layer of expanded clay balls.
- Fertilizer: it is only recommended to fertilize it from spring to late summer with fertilizer for flowering plants.
- Reproduction: the multiplication of this plant is by seeds during the spring or, cuttings can be planted with a part of the roots.
- Time to plant marigolds: Spring is the time to plant.
Calendula pests and diseases
As for common pests on calendula , this plant can suffer from yellow, brown, or green aphids, which will perch and deform the newer flowers and leaves. To drive them away, you can mix 100 grams of nettles with 1 liter of water and spray it on the plant.
Another common pest is whiteflies, which settle on the leaves and turn them yellow as they spread a sticky substance. It is possible to scare them away using yellow colored traps.
Among the diseases that marigolds suffer, the following stand out:
- Botrytis fungus: among those that live in humid environments. To avoid them, irrigation should be controlled and if the leaves become covered with mold, cut and apply systemic fungicides.
- Bold fungus : this fungus is transmitted by aphids. To eliminate them, the aphids must be driven off first.
- Rust: reddish-brown pustules appear on the leaves and stems. At the slightest symptom, a fungicide should be applied.