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Calendulas for winter bloom.

Brightening the garden now through spring in the mild-winter West, calendulas range from subtle creams and soft yellows to the familiar bright oranges. Their marigold-like blossoms and 1- to 2-foot height make these annuals a good choice for winter borders, raised beds, and large container.

At low elevations, look for seedling this month in nurseries. Plant them right away in full sun. (In cold-winter areas, shop and plant in spring for bloom until midsummer.) Choosing a spot with good air circulation will help prevent powdery mildew; if the disease develops, spray with triforine or benomyl.

Calendulas will survive in most areas on winter and spring rains, but they'll thrive if you water them between showers. Plants aren't fussy about soil as long as it is fast draining. If necessary, dig in organic material before planting.

Among the five widely available calendulas, two kinds grow taller than a foot: 'Anagoor' reaches about 14 inches and has bright orange 3-inch flowers with brown centers. The Pacific Beauty strain grows to about 20 inches; its 4-inch flowers have slightly curved petals in apricot, cream, orange, or yellow.

Three common strains grow about a foot tall: Bon Bon, a bushy plant, bears 2-1/2- to 3-inch flowers in apricot, orange, and yellow. Coronet has 3-1/2-inch flowers in orange and yellow on upright, branching growth. Compact Gypsy Festival (also labeled as Fiesta Gitana) produces 2-1/2- to 3-inch flowers in cream, orange, and yellow.
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jan 1, 1986
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