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Marigold Care: Planting, Growing, and Harvesting

Marigolds Facts

Marigolds, known scientifically as Tagetes, are a popular choice among gardeners due to their vibrant colors and easy cultivation. These flowers belong to the Asteraceae family and are native to North and South America. With over 50 different species, marigolds are classified into three main types: African (Tagetes erecta), French (Tagetes patula), and signet (Tagetes tenuifolia). Each type has distinct characteristics in terms of size, color, and growth habit.

African marigolds have large blooms on tall stems that can reach up to three feet in height. They come in various shades of yellow, orange, red, and white. French marigolds have smaller flowers with a bushy growth habit that usually reaches between six inches to one foot in height. Their petals can be found in colors such as gold, orange, mahogany-red or bi-colored combinations. Finally, signet marigolds are low-growing plants with delicate foliage and dainty flowers that come in shades of yellow or gold.

Apart from their aesthetic appeal, marigolds also offer several practical benefits for gardeners. These plants produce chemicals known as thiophenes that help repel pests like nematodes from the soil when planted alongside other crops such as tomatoes or peppers. Furthermore, some people believe that the scent of marigold flowers helps deter mosquitoes and flies from outdoor sitting areas. With their wide range of sizes and colors coupled with their useful properties in the garden

Planting

  • Choose a location with well-drained soil and full sun for planting marigolds.
  • Sow the seeds directly into the soil after the last frost or start them indoors 4-6 weeks earlier.
  • For seedlings, plant them at a depth of about ¼ inch and 6 inches apart.
  • If planting in rows, space each row about a foot apart to allow air circulation around the plants.
  • Timing is crucial when it comes to planting marigolds. These sturdy flowers thrive in warm weather, so wait until all danger of frost has passed before starting your marigold garden. Typically, this means planting them outside after spring’s final frost date. Marigolds require consistent temperatures of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate successfully.
  • Marigolds are sun-worshippers and need plenty of direct sunlight to grow healthy and strong. Ensure they receive at least six hours of sunshine daily for optimal growth and abundant blooms. Additionally, providing enough light helps prevent leggy growth as insufficient lighting can cause weak stems.
  • When choosing where to plant your marigolds, consider their mature size. Depending on the variety you choose, marigold plants can grow anywhere from eight inches to three feet tall and spread up to two feet wide. To give each plant ample space for healthy growth and good airflow, leave approximately eight inches between each mature plant.

Growing

  • Seedlings require consistent moisture to grow properly. Be sure to water them regularly, but be careful not to overwater as it can lead to root rot. A good rule of thumb is to keep the soil evenly moist, not soggy.
  • When planting marigold seedlings, choose a location that receives full sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. Prepare the soil by removing any weeds and loosening it with a garden fork or tiller. Dig holes slightly larger than the seedling’s root ball and gently place them in the holes, making sure they are at the same depth as they were in their containers.
  • After transplanting your marigold seedlings into their outdoor beds, continue watering them regularly. Pay attention to weather conditions – if there is rain, adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Water deeply at ground level, avoiding wetting the leaves as this can promote fungal diseases.
  • As your marigold seedlings grow bigger, you may need to thin them out. This allows air circulation among plants and prevents overcrowding which can lead to disease development. Carefully remove weaker or excess plants by cutting them off at ground level with gardening scissors or pruners.
  • Once your marigold plants reach maturity and start flowering, they will still need regular watering. However, they are moderately drought-tolerant so you won’t need to constantly

Remember: Download our Fact Sheet Below!

You’ll be able to refer to this reference whenever you need to look up the ideal growing conditions. 

Marigold factsheet

Recommended Varieties

When it comes to choosing marigold varieties for your garden, the options can be overwhelming. After all with more than 50 varieties the options feel endless. As mentioned earlier Marigolds come in three main types of marigolds: French, African, and Signet. Each type has features characteristics in terms of size, color, and growth habit.

The French Marigold (Tagetes patula) is a popular choice, with its compact size and vibrant blooms in shades of yellow, orange, and red. It not only adds a burst of colour to any garden but also acts as a natural pest deterrent due to its strong scent.

For those looking for a taller variety, the African Marigold (Tagetes erecta) is an excellent option. With its tall stems and large round blooms in shades of gold and orange, it creates a striking focal point in any flower bed or container garden. Additionally, this variety is known for its long-lasting flowers, making it perfect for bouquets or floral arrangements.

If you prefer a more delicate-looking marigold variety, then the Signet Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) might be just what you need. Unlike other varieties that produce large flowers on single stems, the Signet Marigold produces numerous small flowers on lacy foliage. These dainty blossoms come in shades of gold and lemon-yellow and create a charming carpet-like effect when planted en masse.

These recommended marigold varieties offer different sizes, colours, and growth habits while sharing the same resilience and ability to thrive in various growing conditions. To help you narrow down your choices, here are a few recommended varieties that are known for their exceptional beauty and vigour.

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Description
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Marigold French, Petite
Marigold French, Petite is a delightful variety that adds an instant pop of color to any garden. With their compact size and abundance of blooms, these petite marigolds are perfect for borders, containers, and even hanging baskets. Their vibrant flowers range in shades of orange, gold, and yellow, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere wherever they are planted.
Marigold French, Bolero
One of the most stunning varieties of marigold is the Marigold French, Bolero. With its vibrant orange petals and striking dark brown center, this variety truly stands out in any garden. Not only is it visually appealing, but Bolero also boasts a delightful fragrance that fills the air with its sweet scent. It is a compact grower making it great for borders and containers.
Marigold, Sparky French
One particularly captivating variety of marigold that should not be overlooked is the Sparky French. Bursting with vibrant colors, this compact and bushy plant is a true eye-catcher in any garden or container. With its distinctive double flowers in shades of orange, yellow, and red, the Sparky French marigold adds a fiery touch to your outdoor space.
Marigold African, Crackerjack
Marigold African, Crackerjack, is a stunning variety that dazzles with its vibrant colors and large, showy blooms. This tall marigold can reach heights of up to three feet, making it perfect for adding height and drama to your garden beds and borders. The flowers of Crackerjack come in a rich assortment of hues including bright oranges, deep yellows, and fiery reds, creating a striking display that will catch the eye of any passerby.
Marigold, English
If you’re looking to add a vibrant pop of color to your garden, look no further than English Marigolds. These stunning flowers are well-loved for their bright petals and the way they effortlessly elevate any outdoor space. With an array of recommended varieties to choose from, there is sure to be an English Marigold that suits your unique taste and style.
Eskimo White African Marigold
White Eskimo is a stunning variety of marigold that deserves a place in every garden. With its large, white flowers and unique texture, it adds an element of elegance to any landscape. This particular cultivar stands out from other marigolds not only for its size but also for its exceptional hardiness.

Harvesting and Storing

  • In addition to their vibrant blooms and distinct fragrance, marigolds can also be stored for various other purposes, including making tea. Marigold tea is known for its soothing properties and is often used to alleviate digestive issues or promote relaxation.
  • To store marigolds specifically for tea and other uses, it’s important to harvest the flowers at their peak freshness. Wait until the flower heads are fully open and the petals have a vibrant color before cutting. Use sharp garden shears to snip off the flower stems just above a leaf node or lateral branch. Don’t damage the petals.
  • Once harvested, the marigold flowers should be gently rinsed with water to remove any dirt or debris. After rinsing, pat them dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Next, spread the flowers out on a flat surface and allow them to air dry completely. This process may take several days depending on the humidity levels in your area.
  • Once the marigold flowers are fully dried, you can store them in an airtight container such as a glass jar or tin.
  • Marigolds make for beautiful cut flowers that can brighten up any room or bouquet. To prepare marigold flowers for indoor display, remove any leaves from the bottom half of the stem and cut them at an angle to allow better water absorption. Place them in a vase filled with clean water and change the water every 2-3 days to prolong their freshness. Remember that marigolds have a strong fragrance, so consider placing them in areas where their scent won’t overpower other floral arrangements.
  • If you want to enjoy marigold blooms year after year, overwintering is key. In colder regions, where temperatures drop below freezing in winter, marigolds won’t survive outdoors. To preserve your plants during this time, dig them up carefully before the first frost hits and pot them in containers filled with well-draining soil. Store these pots indoors in a cool area with plenty of natural light until spring arrives when they can be planted back outside once more.

Collecting seeds

  • As the marigold flowers begin to fade, they will develop seed heads. These seed heads look like small pods and are usually a dark brown or black color.
  • To collect the seeds, simply pinch the seed head at its base and gently pull it off of the plant. Place the seed head in a paper bag or envelope to allow it to dry further.
  • Once the seed head is completely dry, which can take up to two weeks, carefully open it up and shake out the seeds into another container. You may need to use your fingers or tweezers to remove any remaining debris from the seeds.
  • Make sure to label your container with the date and variety of marigold so you remember what type of flower you are planting next season.
  • It’s worth noting that not all marigold varieties will produce viable seeds. If you want guaranteed success, consider purchasing fresh marigold seeds from a reputable supplier instead of harvesting them yourself.
  • Store your harvested marigold seeds in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to sow them next spring. Properly stored seeds can remain viable for several years!

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Interesting facts

Originating in Mexico and Central America, marigolds have a rich history and symbolism that spans across cultures. The vibrant flowers were believed to be sacred by the Aztecs, who named them cempasuchil and used them in religious ceremonies and as offerings for the dead. This connection to death explains the flower’s association with Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, festivities where marigolds are used to decorate altars and graves.

But marigolds hold significance beyond their ties to death rites. In Victorian times, these radiant blossoms symbolized grief and remembrance. They were often woven into funeral wreaths or placed on graves as tokens of love for deceased loved ones. On a more positive note, marigolds are also connected to faithfulness and devotion. In some cultures, they are exchanged as wedding gifts or worn as garlands during marriage ceremonies – signifying lasting love between couples.

Today, marigolds continue to carry symbolic meanings in various contexts around the world. Their bright yellow and orange hues represent warmth, optimism, and joy. They serve as a reminder of nature’s beauty with their delicate petals unfurling like rays of sunlight. Moreover, these resilient flowers can also be seen as symbols of perseverance since they thrive even under adverse conditions. Whether representing cultural traditions or personal sentiments, marigolds remain cherished blooms that hold deep meaning for many people worldwide.

Pest and Diseases:

  • Aphids: These small insects can be a common pest for marigolds, especially during warmer months. They feed on the sap of the plants, causing stunted growth and deformed flowers. To deter aphids, try introducing natural predators like ladybugs or spraying a mixture of water and dish soap onto the affected plants.
  • Powdery Mildew: This fungal disease often appears as a whitish-gray powdery coating on the leaves and stems of marigolds. It can hinder photosynthesis and weaken the plant’s overall health. To prevent powdery mildew, ensure proper air circulation around your marigolds by spacing them adequately apart when planting. Additionally, avoid overhead watering to minimize moisture accumulation on leaves.
  • Root Rot: Excessive watering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot in marigold plants. The roots become waterlogged and start to decay, resulting in wilting foliage and yellowing leaves. To prevent root rot, make sure your soil is well-draining by adding organic matter such as compost or peat moss before planting marigolds. Additionally, allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings and avoid overwatering your plants.
  • Leaf Spot: Marigolds are susceptible to various leaf spot diseases caused by fungi or bacteria. Symptoms include brown spots with yellow halos appearing on the leaves. To prevent leaf spot diseases, avoid overcrowding your plants as it restricts air circulation and increases humidity levels – ideal conditions for pathogens

Download Our Fact Sheet

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, it’s important to understand the basic needs of these plants to ensure successful growth and bountiful harvests. That’s why we’ve created a downloadable Fact Sheet for your journal or garden planner, so you have all the key information at your fingertips.

Our fact sheet provides a quick overview of details on your plants care. You’ll be able to refer to this reference whenever you need to look up the ideal growing conditions for this plant, including soil type and temperature requirements. With this quick reference guide in hand, you can easily consult it whenever you need reminders about caring for your plants.

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