Calendula 'Zeolights'

I’ve been content with growing Calendula officinalis in my garden for years. Pot marigold, as it is most commonly known, is a great garden annual that can be grown in a container garden, or in the ground in poor soil. A couple of years ago at a seed trade a friend talked me into picking up some Calendula ‘Zeolights’ seeds. I reluctantly took the seeds and put them away. This spring I decided to give them a try and am now wondering why I didn’t grow ‘Zeolights’ in my garden before. 
Calendula officinalis 'Zeolights'

Calendula ‘Zeolights’ was bred by plantsman Frank Morton, and when completely unfurled the large blooms resemble Gerbera Daisies. As the buds opened they looked a bright yellow that made me question why I made space for this when the common calendula looks just as nice.

Then the blooms opened up revealing these beautiful, fiery blooms in yellow, peach and bronze petals. As the flower gets older, the petals seem to get darker, and when fully splayed are evocative of a lion’s mane. If you’re looking for an annual to add to your garden next year that provides a nice splash of color give Calendula ‘Zeolights’ a chance. The common calendula blooms well into fall for me–only dying with the first frost–and if ‘Zeolights’ is anything like it, the colors of this bloom will look great in the fall garden.

How to Collect and Save Calendula Seeds

In the archives of this garden blog there’s a post on how to save calendula seeds which has pictures you can follow. The video above has the same information, but presented in an abridged format for easier consumption.

Calendula seeds are easy to harvest and save for next year, or to use in trades. Given that this is my first year growing ‘Zeolights’ and I’ve never saved seeds from it before I can’t tell you whether it will come true from seeds, but there’s never any harm in experimenting. Like with Calendula officinalis, the petals of ‘Zeolights’ are edible–I tested them–and can be added to soups and salads.

Want to save more seeds in your garden? Check out the seed saving tab for previous posts and videos on collecting and saving seeds.

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