Join the ‘Pot Marigold’ Advisory Board

Is your company a candidate processor or buyer of pot marigold raw materials, the flowers, the seeds or derivatives thereof such as flower extract or seed oil, from locally grown pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)?

In the context of an agricultural project, it has been established that the cultivation of pot marigold for Flemish agriculture is technically feasible and, provided that it is scaled up and optimized, also profitable. Eleven pioneers have already tried the cultivation and no less than 52 farmers are interested. Pot marigold can be grown for a dual purpose: first, flowers are harvested several times and then seeds are harvested. The crop looks beautiful in the Flemish agricultural landscape (see photo) and also contributes to biodiversity (supporting beneficial insects). In the short term, our pioneers can realize a production of about 10 ha, good for about 5 tons of seeds and 5 tons of dried flowers. The yields per hectare are currently not yet optimized and potentially about twice as high. If necessary, the acreage can be scaled up quickly.

Pot marigold offers a wide range of raw materials and possible applications. For the flowers, there are applications in food (dairy, chocolate, jam, …) , cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, medical textiles (antibacterial effect). The seed oil can be used in the paint and coating industry. Also the press cake has applications in animal feed.
The pot marigold raw materials contain several active ingredients:

Apolar (fat-soluble) compounds that can typically be extracted with supercritical CO2:
  • Essential oils are a mixture of volatile, fat-soluble molecules. Essential oils are well known and widely used in ointments for burns, insect bites and skin treatments.
  • Carotenoids are natural, fat-soluble dyes that can be used in food as antioxidants (to preserve oil better and longer) and as colorants.
Polar (water-soluble) compounds that can be extracted from the petals via water and/or alcohol extraction:
  • Polyphenols, aromatic compounds known for their antioxidant properties.
  • Polar natural dyes (flavonoids) that can be used in food or textiles.

Oil can be extracted or pressed from the seeds. The oil content of the seeds is around 20%. This oil contains high concentrations (50-65%) of C18:3 Calendic Acid. This oil can be used in high quality resins and paints and hopefully in the future in food applications after going through the novel food procedure. After removing the oil, a press cake remains that can be used in animal feed.

Despite these numerous possibilities, there is currently no concrete sale of Calendula raw materials in Flanders. Therefore, we are looking for companies that want to work with these raw materials. Are you interested? Then you can commit yourself as a member of the guidance group of the project ‘Marketing and product quality as keys to the success of pot marigold cultivation’. In this VLAIO La-traject Praktijkpunt Landbouw Vlaams-Brabant and ILVO work together on new cultivation techniques and on markering of the flowers and seeds to achieve better product quality and rendability. If this project is approved, you will be closely involved in the further development of the pot marigold chain and you will receive, in exchange for your participation in the guidance group and in the co-financing, the necessary test material (quantity to be agreed upon).

For more information about this project, please contact Linsey Garcia-Gonzalez (