How to Grow and Use Calendula Flowers (+ Seed Saving Tips)


* This article contains an affiliate link. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

 

Calendula is a super plant packed with healing properties to help you treat everything from rashes and acne to infections and menstrual symptoms. Calendula is even gentle enough to use on a newborn baby's skin, making it an excellent natural diaper rash remedy. Learn how to grow, harvest, use and save the seeds from calendula flowers and start reaping the benefits today!I got my first packet of calendula seeds in the mail a couple years ago. An acquaintance I had met in an online gardening group sent me a pack of seeds she had saved herself, along with a handmade information pamphlet detailing the many benefits of this super plant. Before this, I had never even heard of calendula, aside from seeing it as an active ingredient on various lotions and store-bought remedies. But I figured if I could grow it, I could use it to make my own lotions and remedies at home.

I scattered the seeds in a large pot and watched them grow. With very little effort on my part, the seeds transformed into tall stems with beautiful bursts of orange and yellow flowering out the top. I harvested the flowers all throughout the growing season and more continued to shoot up. Then I hung the fresh flowers to dry in my kitchen as they came on in waves, and at the very end of the season I crumbled the seed-laden flower heads in my hands and saved the seeds for the following year.

I used the dried flowers to create an infused oil which turned out to be a surprisingly effective solution for soothing my newborn daughter’s various rashes, including both eczema and diaper rash. And when the following year finally came, calendula flowers shot up from the pot where I had planted them the previous year. 

I also scattered the seeds I had saved in a new location in our back garden where they grew to mingle with poppies and Black Eyed Susans and other wildflowers against a backdrop of purple clematis’. I cut and harvested them, dried them, infused them and now, at the end of the season, I have begun to save the seeds again for next year (and also to collect enough to make up little seed packets to pass on to my own family and friends next spring).

 

A Triple Threat in the Garden

Calendula has to be my favourite flower to grow. For starters, it’s incredibly easy to grow from seed and requires very little care. Second, it looks gorgeous in the garden. But third and most importantly, calendula is packed with medicinal properties and is an incredibly powerful, natural home remedy.

In addition to all of the above, calendula seeds are super easy to save, and the plants will even self-seed and continue to propagate and multiply themselves year after year. I still save the seeds myself though because they are so easy and fun to break off the flower head and saving them manually allows me to plant calendula in different locations the following year. And, of course, they make lovely little gifts 🙂

 

Related: 13 Culinary & Medicinal Herbs to Grow At Home

 

How to Grow Calendula

If you’ve never grown calendula before, you will most likely need to purchase your first packet of seeds

You could also ask if a friend or neighbour is growing calendula and ask them to save you some seed from their flowers at the end of the season. The seeds from just a handful of flowers is enough to get you started the following growing season as each flower can produce between 10 and 20 seeds.

Calendula is a super plant packed with healing properties to help you treat everything from rashes and acne to infections and menstrual symptoms. Calendula is even gentle enough to use on a newborn baby's skin, making it an excellent natural diaper rash remedy. Learn how to grow, harvest, use and save the seeds from calendula flowers and start reaping the benefits today!

Calendula makes a beautiful and useful addition to any garden.

Sprinkle the seeds in the spring and cover with a thin layer of soil. There’s no need to be too particular about planting them as the seeds have a high germination rate and will grow almost anywhere, so just scatter them and cover with a thin layer of soil. Calendula does best in a sunny location, but I have had success growing them in a location that has shade for roughly half the day and they still did great! 

Calendula grows well in raised beds, containers or directly in the ground if you would like to grow a large patch. The flowers won’t spread like weeds but the flower heads will drop their seeds (if you don’t collect them all first), and will most likely self-seed themselves for the following year, making calendula a low-input annual plant that acts like a perennial (returning year after year).

 

Calendula and Its Many Uses

Calendula is an active ingredient in many store-bought lotions and remedies, and for good reason. It is antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory, making it an ideal additive in topical solutions for combating everything from rashes to acne to yeast infections. It can be used as an oil, lotion or astringent on the skin and even as an ingredient in toothpaste or mouthwash to help fight oral bacteria and improve tooth and gum health.

Calendula is also an effective ingredient in herbal teas, especially if you’re looking to treat cold or flu. It also works to help treat menstrual symptoms such as cramping and PMS due to its anti-inflammatory properties and by promoting blood flow and muscle relaxation.

 

Related: How to Use Yarrow to Cure Almost Any Ailment

 

Calendula is safe and gentle enough to use on babies as well, and I regularly use it on my own one-year-old daughter (and have used it on her since she was a newborn) to treat all sorts of rashes, including diaper rash. It has been the most effective and least irritating solution at fighting all of her rashes so far.

This wonder flower is also edible on its own or as an ingredient in salads and soups. The natural yellow and orange colours of the flower make a great natural dye as well and can be used to colour everything from food and pantry staples like butter to soaps and body products.

 

How to Use Calendula At Home

Calendula is a super plant packed with healing properties to help you treat everything from rashes and acne to infections and menstrual symptoms. Calendula is even gentle enough to use on a newborn baby's skin, making it an excellent natural diaper rash remedy. Learn how to grow, harvest, use and save the seeds from calendula flowers and start reaping the benefits today!

Calendula can be used fresh or dried, however if you’re looking to make an oil infusion to use on its own or as an ingredient in homemade lotion, be sure to dry the flowers out first as any moisture could cause mold. 

Fresh flowers can be added to salads and other dishes or can be infused into a neutral base alcohol like vodka to make a tincture or astringent.

Tinctures can be taken orally in small doses and are typically used as a cold or flu remedy or as a preventative measure (like a homemade cough syrup). Astringents are used topically to fight skin problems such as acne where you don’t want to add extra oil to the skin. 

To make a tincture or astringent, fill a pint or quart-sized mason jar about ⅓ of the way full with dried calendula flowers (a little more than ⅓ full if using fresh flowers), and then fill with vodka. Shake well and store in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks before using. Shake well every few days to help infuse the vodka. After 4-6 weeks (depending on how strong you want it), strain the flowers out and discard, reserving the alcohol. 

Store the tincture/astringent mixture in a cool, dark place and use orally to help treat bacteria, viral and inflammatory problems such as cough and cold symptoms, yeast infections and menstrual symptoms. Or put a bit of the solution on a cotton ball or pad and spread over face and neck to treat acne symptoms. This should not be used to treat most rashes as it can be too drying. A lotion or oil is better suited for rashes.

 

Treating Rashes and Skin Irritations

To make an effective rash treatment, cut fresh calendula and hang to dry. Allow calendula to dry completely (I usually leave mine for 1-2 weeks) and then cut flower heads off (and chop stems and leaves you choose) and place in a mason jar.

Fill mason jar about ⅓ of the way full with dried flowers and then fill jar with liquid oil of choice (I use olive oil, but avocado oil, almond oil or jojoba oil work well too). 

You can also infuse coconut oil, but to do so you need to heat the oil and flowers in a pan over low heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes until the oil is infused. Then remove and discard flowers and pour coconut oil into a clean jar and allow to cool.

Apply oil to areas affected by rash. I have used calendula-infused olive oil to treat both eczema and diaper rash on my daughter from the time she was a newborn and it has been very effective. You can use the coconut oil the same way.

Calendula is a super plant packed with healing properties to help you treat everything from rashes and acne to infections and menstrual symptoms. Calendula is even gentle enough to use on a newborn baby's skin, making it an excellent natural diaper rash remedy. Learn how to grow, harvest, use and save the seeds from calendula flowers and start reaping the benefits today! 

 

Calendula-Infused Healing Salve

You can also use calendula flowers in place of (or in addition to) dandelion flowers in this recipe for dandelion healing salve and apply the salve liberally to rashes, skin irritations and dry skin.

 

How to Save Calendula Seeds

To save calendula seeds, allow flower to go to seed (bright orange and yellow petals will wilt and disappear, leaving a green flower head behind). Then, allow the flower head to dry up until it turns brown and crumbles in your hand when you touch it. The parts that crumble off of the flower head are the seeds.

Calendula is a super plant packed with healing properties to help you treat everything from rashes and acne to infections and menstrual symptoms. Calendula is even gentle enough to use on a newborn baby's skin, making it an excellent natural diaper rash remedy. Learn how to grow, harvest, use and save the seeds from calendula flowers and start reaping the benefits today!

This is what the calendula flower head looks like after the petals are gone. You can see the seeds forming the outer layer of the flower head. Once these dry up and turn brown, they will crumble in your hand and you can save them. If you don’t save them, they will fall to the ground and reseed themselves.

Make sure seeds are completely dry before storing. Store in a mason jar, small container, ziplock bag or paper envelope in a cool dark place. A paper envelope works well as it allows any leftover moisture to dissipate while a sealed jar, container or plastic bag traps moisture and seeds may mold. But if they are 100% dry, any method should work.

You may also store seeds in the fridge or freezer to extend their life (typically seeds only maintain their germination rate for one year, after which some seeds may not germinate as well). If you do store in the fridge or freezer, however, the same rule applies regarding moisture: Any moisture can cause seeds to go bad, so be sure they are thoroughly dry before storing.

 

Gather, plant, repeat

Next spring, take out your saved calendula seeds and sow them in an area of your choosing, or make little seed packets to give as gifts to friends and family (They make a great Easter or Mother’s Day gift 🙂

Calendula is a super plant packed with healing properties to help you treat everything from rashes and acne to infections and menstrual symptoms. Calendula is even gentle enough to use on a newborn baby's skin, making it an excellent natural diaper rash remedy. Learn how to grow, harvest, use and save the seeds from calendula flowers and start reaping the benefits today!

If you save the seeds, you’ll never have to buy them again and will be able to enjoy calendula and its healing benefits in your garden and your home for years to come. 

Calendula has become a staple item in our own home apothecary and on our baby change table due to how gentle it is on sensitive skin. It has definitely earned a place in our garden forevermore.

How about you? Have you ever grown or used calendula in your home and garden? How do you make use of it? Let me know in the comments below!

Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂


CATEGORIES
HOMESTEADING
REAL FOOD
NATURAL LIVING

6 Comments

  1. Marga

    In addition to the already mentioned uses, I make a second ferment of kombucha with calendula

    Reply
  2. Michele Blais

    Hi Anna, thank you for your information on calendula! I have been having great difficulty in finding the plant or even seeds and the reviews for a great number of seeds places are not glowing due covid.
    Would you kindly advise a location I could use to purchase seeds that are definitely calendula? I would very much like to make this oil infusion.
    Thanks so much! Michele

    Reply
    • Tish Painter

      Hi Michele,
      I recently got my Calendula seeds online at fruitionseeds.com and I know that Anna has used truleafmarket.com. I looked at both of those and they have seeds in stock now.
      Have fun making your infusion! 🙂

      Reply
    • Eric

      If Amazon doesn’t have it, you don’t need it! I live by that mantra.

      AMAZON DOES HAVE CALENDULA SEEDS! And they deliver to your doorstep. How cool is that>

      Reply
  3. Wendy Miller Grogan

    Calendula is a favorite at our house as well. I make a calendula infused oil, I then add in bee’s wax to make a salve. It’s our go-to for EVERYTHING! We also use the petals in a chocolate, raspberry muffin recipe that we learned when my girls and I did The Herb Fairies study. This will be my first year growing my own. The only seed packet (there was only one left on the shelf!) I could find is one called Oktoberfest. I’m looking forward to getting it going and I’ll be in search of some other varieties. I’m enjoying your website – thank you for the work you’re putting into it!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Those muffins sound delicious! I have made a salve like that with calendula before, although I usually make a dandelion-infused oil and make a salve from that with beeswax. Glad you found my site and hope to see you back here again soon!

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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When I graduated from university with a degree in journalism many years ago, I remember thinking that while I knew how to write, edit, interview, shoot, and handle just about every part of creating a publication from the editorial standpoint, I really had no clue how to actually get published, let alone how the printing process works.

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My name’s Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader living in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. I live with my family (human, furry and feathered) on 1/4 acre property where we grow and preserve hundreds of pounds of our own food every year, and strive to live a more self-reliant lifestyle in all that we do.

I grew up in Vancouver and had pretty much zero experience homesteading before my husband, Ryan and I decided we wanted to escape the rat race, become less dependent on the modern industrial food system (and all modern industrialized systems), and dove head first into this lifestyle around a decade ago.

We packed up and moved to Vancouver Island where we live now, started our first garden, and the rest is pretty much history.

(Well, actually that’s not true… There have been A LOT of ups and downs, successes and failures, wins and losses, struggles, challenges and pivotal moments along the way, but those are stories for another day).

Over the past few years, our decision to follow a less conventional path that aims to break free (at least in some part) from “the system” has been affirmed over and over again. We all know for a fact now that our food system, healthcare system, financial system, transportation system and so much more are all really just a house of cards built on shaky ground. We’ve been lucky so far, but sooner or later it’s all liable to collapse.

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I’m all about practical gifts; Gifts that will truly make life easier and contribute to my and my family’s wellbeing. And our family includes our animals!

One of the ways we make sure our chickens are taken care of is by letting them free range during the day, but making sure they’re locked up and safe from predators at night. But who wants to be up at the crack of dawn to open the coop, or wake up to a bloodbath because you forgot to close the coop the night before?

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💰 Saves you money at the grocery store
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Got out for an early morning harvest today. Been up since 3am, contemplating life, the future and the past, the order of things…

There is a rumbling right now, not just in North America, but around the world. Many of us can feel it, and know we are on the precipice of something big.

I’d been hearing about this new song that’s become an overnight viral sensation, written by an (until now) unknown singer named Oliver Anthony. His new song Rich Men North of Richmond has had 14 million views on YouTube in the past week alone, so I decided to check it out.

I also saw a clip of him playing a Farmers Market last week, and anything that has to do with Farmers Markets always has my attention;)

I can’t tell you how many tears I’ve already cried listening to that song. If you’ve heard it already, you probably know what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend giving it a listen. All I can say is it’s been a while since a song resonated so deeply with me, and in this strange new world, I know I’m not the only one.

One of the lines in Anthony’s song is “Livin’ in the new world, with an old soul,” and that’s something I think so many of us in the homesteading community can relate to.

Trying to cling to better days; To a simpler time; To the old ways, all while doing our best to get by in the new world.

The world has changed drastically in the last few years especially, and it’s set to change in immense ways over the next few years. Today I’m feeling thankful for people like @oliver_anthony_music_ who give a voice to what so many are feeling right now.

Know that if you’re feeling it too, you’re far from alone. And while the future may feel uncertain and even a little scary, remember that if we stand united, we the people are a force to be reckoned with.

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Another garlic harvest in the books!

Garlic is easily one of my favourite crops to grow. It’s pretty much a “set if and forget it” crop. We plant in the fall and leave it to overwinter, fertilize a couple times in the spring, start watering only once the ground starts to dry out, and then harvest in the summer. We can even plant a fall succession crop after our garlic if we want so it really makes great use of garden space all year round.

Over the years we’ve managed to become completely self-sufficient with garlic. We now grow enough to eat all year (and then some!), plus we save our own seed garlic and usually have extra to sell or give away. And around here fresh, organic garlic ain’t cheap, so it’s a good cash crop for anyone who’s serious about selling it.

It took me a few years to really get the hang of garlic, but it’s one crop I’m now very confident with (knock on wood, because it’s always when we make statements like this that next year’s crop fails! Lol.)

A while back I compiled a comprehensive guide to growing, harvesting and using garlic both as an edible and medicinal crop. This is usually only available as part of a paid bundle (or in the fall 2022 issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine if you’re a subscriber;), but for a limited time I’m offering it for free, no strings attached!

Plus you’ll also get access to my step-by-step video lesson on planting garlic so you can set yourself up for success with your garlic crop this year.

Comment “Garlic” below or head to thehouseandhomestead.com/garlic-guide to get your free copy!
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#garlic #garlicharvest #homesteading #selfsufficient #selfsufficiency #selfsufficientliving #selfreliance #homegrown #groworganic #growfoodnotlawns #gardenersofinstagram #homesteadersofinstagram
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Going through photos and videos from our trip to the @modernhomesteadingconference and the vast majority are of our daughter having the time of her life!

Even if I personally got nothing else out of this gathering (which I most certainly did), watching her discover her own love of this lifestyle outside of what we do at home made my heart grow three sizes!

Homesteading is about so much more than homegrown food and self-reliance. It’s about passing on invaluable skills and an understanding of and respect for our connection to the land that provides for us to the next generation.

Being around so many other kids and families who are also pursuing a homesteading lifestyle helped show our little one that this is a movement that is so much bigger and greater than what our own family does on our little plot of land. This is a lifestyle worth pursuing, with a community unlike any other.

Glad to be back home and more excited than ever to involve my kids in everything we’re doing. But also, I think I speak for my whole family when I say we can’t wait to go back someday!
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#homesteading #modernhomesteading #raisinglittles
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If you’re simply looking for ways to save a little extra cash this summer and live well for less, here are 12 tried and tested frugal living tips for summer that you can use to save money this season without sacrificing a thing.
Head over using the link in my bio!
https://thehouseandhomestead.com/12-frugal-living-tips-summer/
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#houseandhomestead
#momentsofcalm
#pursuejoy
#simplepleasuresoflife
#thatauthenticfeeling
#findhappiness
#artofslowliving
#simplelifepleasures
#lifesimplepleasure
#simplepleasuresinlife
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#livinginspired
#savouringhappiness
#livemoment
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#homesteadingmama
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#modernfarmhousekitchen
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