difference between marigolds and calendulas

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Marigold and Calendula are both members of the Asteraceae family and are often used interchangeably.

Both plants grow easily in hot weather and bloom from late summer to fall. Both produce large, bright yellow flowers with many petals.

Although calendula is sometimes called “pot marigold,” it is not a true marigold plant. Each of them has its own beauty, and it is actually quite easy to distinguish between the two.

The followings are the main differences between The Marigold and The Calendula or “The Potted Marigold”.


The first thing you will notice is being different plants, they have different botanical names.

Marigolds comes under the genus Tagetes. some of the most popular marigold varieties are

  • African marigolds: Tagetes erecta.
  • French marigolds: Tagetes patula,
  • Mexican marigolds: Tagetes lucida. and
  • Signet marigolds: Tagetes tenuifolia.

Calendula plants come under the genus Calendula. And the most popular calendula variety is known as Calendula officinalis


Marigold plants can vary quite extensively in their sizes. They can be quite short up to 6 inches or can go very tall 4 ft. Calendula generally grows up to only 24 inches tall, with a similar spread.


Calendulas have long, rounded leaves. if you touch the leaves they will have a sticky and hairy texture.

Marigolds on the other hand have long, thin leaves that are toothed on the edges. The stems of the marigolds are smooth to the touch.


Calendula has a slightly sweeter smell compared to marigolds. The marigolds have more of a pungent smell that many people find unpleasant.


Calendula seeds are curved in shape and look more like a crescent. They also have little ridges and are brown in appearance.

Marigold seeds are straight and black with a white tip.


Calendulas are not toxic, the petals are commonly used in food preparation in place of saffrons.

Marigolds are mostly inedible and toxic to pets. They contain phototoxic thiophene derivatives that can cause problems if ingested in excess amounts.


Although both plants have yellow or orange flower heads they are not the same plant and you should never substitute one for another. While Clendulas are better for edibility, Marigolds can serve as an effective insect repellent.

I hope this post has been able to resolve the doubts about marigolds and calendulas.

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marigold vs calendula

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