Calendula ‘Erfurter Orangefarbige’
Erfurter Orangefarbige is a variety of calendula bred specifically for its medicinal virtues.
Although the whole plant has long been used as a culinary and medicinal herb, the bright orange flowers alone are recommended for kitchen use today, since the leaves are very bitter. The flowers are mild tasting and slightly sweet, and can be used both in savoury and sweet dishes – the nickname ‘pot marigold’ comes from its popular use in the soup pot.
When dried, its petals, which have been called ‘poor man’s saffron’, can be used to create a natural dye or, funnily enough, in chicken feed to make egg yolks extra vibrant!
|Latin name||Calendula officinalis|
|Plant size|| Height: 30 cm|
Width: 30 cm
|Container size|| Height: 25 cm|
Width: 25 cm
|Companion plant(s)||All vegetables benefit from the presence of calendula – especially tomatoes, radishes and carrots|
|Planting indoors||Feb to Mar|
|Planting outdoors||Apr to Jun|
|Germination||7 to 15 days|
|Harvesting||40 to 60 days|
|Planting||3 cm to 5 cm apart at 1 cm depth|
|Thinning||3 cm to 5 cm|
|Soil||Well-drained, light and moist soil|
|Watering||Regular, moderate watering|
|Caring||Calendula is adaptable and does not require a lot of maintenance, making it ideal for container gardens. Just beware, it will also re-seed readily and easily, so keep an eye on it if you don’t want a calendula jungle on your balcony!|
|Beneficial wildlife||Attracts bees, butterflies and ladybirds.|
|Pests||Helpful for deterring many insects.|
|Harvesting||Choose fresh petals to garnish dishes or for use in healing herbal teas. If you want to store the flowers, wait for the heads to dry up and turn inward. Then, they can be harvested and dried easily.|
|Eating|| Medicinal properties: There is no better herb for treating irritated skin, minor wounds and super-itchy insect bites.|
How to eat: Use fresh or dried petals to flavour and colour soups. Add them to cheeses and butters, or bake them into cakes and breads. Garnish fresh salads or egg-based dishes with the striking flowers. Basically, wherever you need extra taste and colour, Orange Calendula is the answer!