Growing Calendula From a Crack in the Pavement

Updated on July 9, 2019
Henry Burt profile image

I love pottering in the greenhouse and garden and listening to classic rock with my labradoodle, Florrie.

One late summer morning, Florrie Labradoodle and I headed out for our usual daily walk. As we wandered along, we noticed a plant growing in a crack in the pavement. Not only was it growing well, it also had some big yellow flower heads! It was a Calendula (otherwise known as “pot marigold” or “common marigold”).

Florrie on her walk
Florrie on her walk

South Facing Gardens

Our garden faces south. In mid summer it can become a hot, dry habitat for plants. There is not much rain and many plants struggle in the conditions. Yet here was a plant that seemed to be thriving in a soilless and waterless tarmac world!

Harvesting Seed

As calendula flowers die back, they produce a seed head like a big circular disc. So on my walk with Florrie a couple of weeks later, I picked one of the seed heads to store over winter. I thought that if this plant could grow well in a crack in the pavement then maybe it could do the same in my hot dry garden!

Calendula seed head
Calendula seed head

More about Calendulas

Calendulas are much more than a bright colourful flower in the garden. The dye from their flowers has been used for centuries for colouring fabrics, cosmetics and foods such as cheese. It has been used as a saffron substitute. The petals can be dried and a oil produced which allegedly reduces inflammation and heals skin wounds.

Calendula seedlings
Calendula seedlings

Growing from Seed

I left the calendula seed head in the garage over winter to dry out. The following spring I had around 15 individual seeds to plant. I lightly covered them with compost in a seed tray in the greenhouse. I gave them some water and waited excitedly for something to happen. Within a week, a few seeds were already sprouting. A couple of weeks later I had a full tray of healthy looking seedlings!

Planting Out in Pots
Planting Out in Pots

Planting Out

The rest was quite straightforward. When the calendula seedlings were large enough I transferred them to their homes for the summer! Some I grew in pots and some I placed directly into the flower borders. Unlike some marigolds, the slugs and snails left them alone!

Planting out in borders
Planting out in borders

Success!

It has been quite a hot spring this year but my calendulas have enjoyed it! Within a couple of weeks the first flower buds were forming. Then before long the blooms were open. They were a vibrant yellow, just like the original plant growing in the pavement! With regular dead heading, I am sure they will flower all summer! Hopefully for a few more summers too if I remember to save more seed heads!

The Cycle Continues

Funnily enough, Florrie and I were out for our walk this week and we saw more calendula plants flowering close to the same crack in the pavement as last year! Everything has come full circle!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

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      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        5 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

        The flowers in the pavement have a very cheerful colour. It was nice to see a photo of them in your garden as well. The combination of yellow and pink flowers is lovely.

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