About Ball's Orange Calendula: This old-fashioned flower has a long history as both an ornamental garden plant and as an herb. When dried, the petals of Calendula flowers provide a culinary substitute for saffron; in times past, they were used to give a rich color to cheese or butter. Medicinal uses included treatments for measles and smallpox, as well as for dressing wounds on the battlefield. As well as being the traditional flower for October birthdays, calendula symbolizes sorrow and sympathy.
Ball's Orange Calendula Germination: Direct sow in fall or early spring, planting ¼” below the surface. To start seed indoors, plant ¼” deep in individual pots or a flat; keep evenly moist and at a temperature of 60-65 degrees until germination, which should take place within 5-10 days. Transplant or thin seedlings to 10-12” apart. Calendula can adapt to almost any soil, but prefers well-drained, poor or average soil. Since this plant prefers cool temperatures, it will appreciate filtered shade.
Growing Ball's Orange Calendula Seeds: Once established, Calendula does not need regular watering; for the best blooms it should not be over-watered. To keep the plant bushy and neat, occasionally pinch off the tops of the developing stalks. If deadheaded regularly, it will produce profuse blossoms all season long; in hotter regions, it may stop blooming in the heat of summer and begin again in fall. This plant will readily reseed itself. Calendula can also be grown in containers.
Harvesting Ball's Orange Calendula: For fresh flowers, cut the stems long and place them in water immediately. For culinary use, cut flower heads that have just opened; spread them out away from direct sunlight to dry completely, turning them occasionally. When the flowers are crisp and dry, store them in an airtight container for up to a year. The dried petals can be used in place of saffron, or as a garnish to add color and spice to dishes.
Saving Ball's Orange Calendula Seeds: When the developing seed turns from green to pale tan and easily comes loose from the head, remove the seed heads. Spread them out to dry away from direct sunlight, then thresh them to separate the seed from the husk. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Ball's Orange Calendula Info: Origin: Southern Europe Other Common Names: Ball’s Improved Orange, Pot Marigold Duration: Annual Bloom Time: Summer-Fall Height: 18-24 inches Spacing: 10-12 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 3a-9b Seeds Per Oz: 4,500 Produces narrow, slightly hairy pointed leaves and deep orange 3-4” double blooms.