I love pot marigolds their yellow and orange flowers light up my plot from early spring to the first frost, if the plants are dead head regurarly. They are very easy to grow from seed, Germination takes about five to fourteen days they are a hardy annual and they will self seed profusely. I usually sow the seeds directly into the ground in March some self seed pot marigolds which have overwintered can be flowering by the end of February. They grow in any soil except waterlogged ground, They grow best in a sunny position. Late in the season they can developed powdery mildew but if the affected leaves are destroyed it will not spread.
The plant is a native of southern Europe but flourish in our climate. The petals can be used in fish
and meat soups. In rice dishes the petals cn be used instead of saffron and add a subtle flavour and colour. The petals added to salads are a very enjoyable addition. The flower petals are used to make a natural yellow food dye for cheese, butter and egg dishes. A teaspoon of petals tied in a muslin bag and put into milk and left to soak for ten minutes or more add a lovely flavour and
colour to scones and buns.
Accounts about the healing properties of pot marigolds have been found from the twelve century. Their
lovely bright colours is said to brighten the heart and dispel bad moods. The plant contains salicylic acid which is used for many commercial treatments for skin acne. It also has an ant-inflammatory and antiseptic oils which improves the appearance of acne and the discomfort. It can help the appearance of old scars and burns. It can be made into an oil or ointment. A tea made of pot marigold petals is good for stomach upsets and helps vitamin A to be absorbed in the body. The flowers also have a cosmetic uses for example a tea made of pot marigold, when cooled makes a lovely toner for the skin and will keep in the fridge for a week.