Unique new marigold

November 18th, 2016 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Calendula 'Snow Princess' is a unique new almost-white English marigold.

One new hardy annual really stands out this year: Calendula ‘Snow Princess’, the first calendula with white flowers. Well, OK, they’re not pure white – but all the better for it. The flowers tends to be creamy towards the eye and white towards the tips and, in a very nice touch, the very tip over every petal is bronzed… as if very slightly singed.

I managed to get hold of some seed of Calendula ‘Snow Princess’ in the summer and I sowed it at the end of July, much later than is ever recommended. It was soon up and developing into bushy plants that have branched well.

By the beginning of October I was picking flowers to decorate the kitchen table every few days and I picked some more yesterday – after last week’s frost had put an end to so many other flowers. Now, the plants are about 40cm tall and it will be interesting to see how long the flowers keep coming and how well the plants survive the winter. Some of  plants have a little mildew, but it doesn’t seem to bother them.

Two other interesting things. Firstly, the flowers are unusually large for a calendula. The ones I have in the vase today measure 6-7cm so they make quite a show. Secondly, half the plants are supposed to have flowers with gold centres and half with bronze centres; all mine are bronze and the contrast is very attractive.

So, whether or not my summer sown plants survive the winter, I’ll be sowing Calendula ‘Snow Princess’ again in March and I suggest you do too. So you’d better get your seed ordered in case it sells out.

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Is one of our best known gardening writers. A graduate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Graham was previously Gardening Correspondent of The Observer.
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