I used to think there was only one type of marigold: marigold! But it was only recently that I found out that there is the “official” marigold (calendula officinalis) which people have been consuming as a herb for years, and the French marigold (targetes spp.), which, although loosely considered a herb, isn’t consumed as readily.

Calendula officinalis seeds

For years, I thought that the seeds other gardeners sent to me were the calendula species. Only now, when I received seeds from official sources, did I realize that the seeds look vastly different.

The calendula seeds look like serrated melon husks, being thicker and seemingly harder or taking longer to germinate. The approximate time given are between five to twenty days.

The targetes marigold seeds are streamlined, with a black body looking almost like a poison-tipped arrow, and brown-gold feathered shafts. As long as the seeds are relatively fresh, they germinate within about two days.

Targetes seeds

I’ve sowed the calendula officinalis / nana seeds yesterday and today, and am misting them every day, encouraging them to sprout; the targetes seeds have since given me three seedlings which are growing their sets of true leaves, ever since I sowed them some time late last week.

I’ll just have to cross my fingers and hope that the calendula seeds sprout soon. I intend to use the leaves to make into infusions or eat as salad leaves semi-periodically. When or if I do finally decide to try my hands at growing flowers, though, the targetes of various colors and variegation will definitely be one of the first on my list.

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