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

5 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
  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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In the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, we’re highlighting some of the ways that we can keep entertained and productive and continue learning and adding new skills to our repertoire during the winter months while still taking time to slow down from our usual pace and celebrate all that we’ve achieved over the past year.

In this issue, you’ll find:
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February and we may find ourselves restlessly⁣
waiting for spring.⁣

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many ways, only winter can offer us. Because⁣
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It's also super quick and easy to make yourself.⁣

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This got me thinking it was high time to pull out my bug out bag and go through it because it’s been a couple years since I last did so. I decided to share it with you here and show you what I keep packed and ready to go and go through what needs updating and what I’m missing.

If the concept of a bug out bag is new to you, have a watch through this video and check out this article on 15 Emergency Preparedness Items You Need to Have Packed and Ready to Go: https://thehouseandhomestead.com/15-emergency-preparedness-items-you-need-packed-ready-to-go/

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Do you keep a bug out bag packed?

What do you keep in it?

What types of emergency situations are you preparing for in your area?

Let me know in the comments 👇

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Between growing nuclear tensions, the ongoing threat of pandemics, cyber attacks and a looming energy crisis, medical staff and supply shortages, and general “everyday” medical, financial and other miscellaneous emergencies, we’d all be wise to be prepared BEFORE the next emergency happens.

One of our neighbours passed away very suddenly last week (just 50 years old 😔) and it reminded me of just how quickly things can go sideways. As far as we know he suffered a heart attack, and while his wife did everything she could to save him, by the time the ambulance arrived it was too late. It was a wake up call for me, that not only do we need to be prepared with supplies on hand, but with knowledge and skills too. I’m definitely looking into booking a refresher First Aid course and highly recommend everyone reading this do the same if this is a skill you need to brush up on!

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I consider myself an optimistic realist: I hope for the best and I live fully and freely in the moment, but I prepare for the future accordingly based on what I can see unfolding in our world. And honestly, I find this “sweet spot” to be incredibly empowering.

This is why I do what I do and why I share it with you on a regular basis; I WANT TO EMPOWER YOU TOO!

That’s why I created The Society of Self-Reliance: A private membership that connects you with the resources, support and community you need to reclaim your independence and become more self-reliant in every aspect of your life.

From growing and preserving your own food to crafting and using herbal medicine to life skills like how to manage it all and stay calm in stressful situations, how to prepare for emergency situations and much more, if you’re ready to learn invaluable skills that will help you take control of your family’s food security, health and wellbeing, time, finances, and ultimately over your own future, The Society of Self-Reliance was created for you!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be reopening the Society doors for a limited time starting next week, and wanted to give you the heads up NOW so that you can get on the waitlist and make sure you don’t miss out when enrollment opens.

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All you need is some puréed pumpkin (I make mine with fresh pumpkins, but you can use canned), some brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice and ginger, a splash of vanilla extract and some water.

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Grab the full recipe via the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-pumpkin-spice-syrup/

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It’s no surprise that in this day and age, more and more people are ready to leave it all behind and move to a property in the country where they can grow their own food, live a simpler life and become more self-sufficient and less dependent on “the system.” But as romantic as it sounds, it’s definitely easier said than done.

In the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with Ann Accetta-Scott of @afarmgirlinthemaking to talk all about what people need to know about buying and selling a homestead property.

Ann and her husband Justin recently moved from their two-acre homestead outside of Seattle, Washington to a 40-acre homestead in rural Tennessee. Ann and I sat down to talk about the realities of buying and selling a homestead, moving across the country to pursue your homesteading dream, what to look for when you’re searching for your next property, pitfalls to avoid (if you can!), and what you can do if you’re not ready or in a position to make your move just yet.

Whether you’re looking to purchase your first homestead or trying to sell an existing homestead and upgrade to a bigger property, Ann had some great insights to share that can save you time, stress and money when you’re ready to make your move.

Check out the full interview in the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine: link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe, login to the library (if you’re already a subscriber) or view a sample of the current issue!

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This is why people don’t trust our medical system!!!

I very rarely go on a rant about current events but this has me feeling really fired up…

My husband and I each got an Amber Alert on our phones the other night along with millions of other British Columbians, informing us of a child abduction in Vancouver. It made the suspect sound like a dangerous kidnapper and said “do not approach. Call 911.”

As it turns out, it was the mother of the child (a 3-year-old boy), who had refused medical treatment without getting a second opinion and follow up blood tests, so the Ministry of Child and Family Services was called, she was arrested and her son was taken from her and was administered medical treatment in the hospital without consent and without a guardian present.

There’s a lot more to this story than I’m able to share in this video or this caption, so I’ll post some links below where you can hear directly from the mom what happened, and check out other IG accounts that have been in direct contact with her and the father. But the point is this was a GROSS misuse of our Amber Alert system, a GROSS abuse of power (turns out the boy wasn’t sick in the end anyway), and has now traumatized this family for life.

Doctors are not gods and as mothers we do not co-parent with the government!!!

This hits close to home for me because I too have been through the medical system and had my concerns dismissed, was misdiagnosed and given wrong information, and was treated with obvious contempt when I got a second opinion.

In this day and age of rampant medical coercion and the erosion of bodily autonomy over our own bodies and over those of our children, this story highlights the dangers of the very slippery slope we’re on.

As parents who only have the best interests of our children at heart, this could happen to any one of us. We can’t let this be normalized. Remember “first they came for (fill in the blank), and I said nothing. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Check out my stories for the full video that the mom, Wiloh made explaining the details of what happened or check out the comments for links to learn more & support this family.
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I’ve hesitated about posting this reel over and over because I know I’ll probably get backlash, hate and vitriol from some people in return. But I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I didn’t speak the truth that’s on my heart and mind…

If you haven’t noticed, there are currently thousands of Canadians sharing their stories and using the hashtag #trudeaumustgo on their social media posts right now in response to the divisive rhetoric and actions of our prime minister over the past few months. But our media has downplayed the issue and has attributed most of the hashtags to “bot” accounts and foreigners trying to influence our politics.

In response, real Canadians are making videos and sharing their stories to show that we are not bots, but real people who have been negatively affected by the words and actions of our leaders, particularly our leader at the top.

I used to consider myself a lifelong leftist and have supported the liberal government and Trudeau over the years, but after what I’ve witnessed over the past few months; After how he has spoken about Canadians who have made a different medical choice or who have protested mandates (which have done nothing to stop the spread of you-know-what anyway); After the hate and division that has trickled down from the top and infiltrated our communities, I can no longer stand silently by.

While I am 💉, a few months ago when I voiced my support for those who stood up against mandates and against the division being pushed on us by our leadership, I suddenly found myself among what our prime minister called the “small fringe minority” of citizens with “unacceptable views.”

I lost followers, friends and even a couple family members. I was told I’d been “radicalized,” although my views have never changed.

So today I’m adding my voice to the chorus of real, everyday Canadians who are taking a stand against tyranny and division in this country. As the saying goes, if we do not stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. I stand for freedom & autonomy, and against division & tyranny.

#trudeaumustgo

(Special thanks to fellow 🇨🇦 homesteader @meggarlandd for inspiring me & giving me the courage to post this:)
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