Marigold Plant Care: Growing Marigold Flowers

Marigold flowers are cheerful and easy plants to grow. They are the first choice and garden favorite among those who want a bright and splendid natural display for their homes!

Annual marigold flowers are native to Mexico and display radiant sprays of multi-colored brass, copper, and gold flower heads all throughout the summer season.

blooms of colorful marigold flowersPin

Marigold flower colors, come in a wide variety.

Shaped like daisies, or flower heads that resemble carnations standing alone or tightly packed in ball-like clusters.

Shades of yellow and orange, maroon, gold, crimson, and sometimes… blooms of white or dual-colored marigold.

If you’re wondering how big marigolds get, the size of the plants varies from a demure 6-inch (Signet Marigolds) to a sizable 2 or 3 feet tall (African Marigolds).

Marigold Plant Varieties

There are quite a number of different Marigold plant species, but the most popular varieties include:

The delicate Tagetes tenuifolia, also known as the signet marigold thrives in signets and rock gardens. It can grow up to 12″- inches tall. This plant loves dry areas and is great for landscape edging purposes.

Tenuifolia has edible flowers for human consumption. They also give gardeners season-long blooms of fragrant flowers and even leaves unlike other varieties with a pungent odor.

It is also easy to grow, deer & rabbit resistant, and drought tolerant.

The French Marigolds (Tagetes patula pronounced Taj-jeet-eez  pat-yew-luh) characterized by a bushy, compact size. Don’t let that fool you; the elegant, dainty, demure flowers and plants of patula grow anywhere from 6″ inches to about 2′ feet tall.

Do Marigolds Need Full Sun?

The French marigold requires full sun and well-drained soil. They need to be planted deeper than the bedding container and six to nine inches apart from the other French marigolds seeds.

Desert marigold known for its daisy-like flower petals reaches from a few inches up to a foot high. Although it serves as a short-lived perennial, this plant of yellow flowers produces lots of marigold seeds.

The French vanilla, also called white marigolds differs from the usual yellow and orange-bearing varieties of marigold plants. The size of its pure-colored flowers spans up to 3″ inches across.

On the other hand, calendula or pot marigold has cheery bright yellow, gold, and orange blooms. Calendula’s citrus-tasting flowers are used to make marigold tea and also serve as a good ingredient for culinary recipes.

You can try them in salads, sandwiches, and seafood too. You can also use calendula petals to add color to rice dishes.

Finally, Tagetes erecta,  the tallest of the Marigold group of plants and sometimes called the African marigold, with plants ranging anywhere from 3′ to 5′ feet tall. African marigolds also bear the name American marigolds or Aztec marigolds.

African marigolds produce blooms of larger flowers. Among other well-known varieties like the French marigolds, this erecta is more drought tolerant, loves the full sun, and seems to like poor soil.

marigold flowers in full colorPin
Marigold Flowers excellent plants for natural pest control.

How To Care For Marigolds Flowers

The Marigold plant, is the equivalent of a no-fuss, easygoing person who brings a lot of color into your life.

Marigold season is between summer and the first autumn frost.

Between then it’s blooming bright and extremely cheery flowers.

Marigolds flower and thrive in all USDA plant hardiness zones. Due to their resilient nature, plant Marigolds in spring of the danger of frost passes.

Then plant them almost anywhere and they will start growing with little to no encouragement.

For the best-looking Marigold flower, plant marigolds in places where they get plenty of heat and sunlight.

Most marigold varieties are low maintenance. They will continue to grow even when placed near paved surfaces, as long as you don’t forget to water them. A layer of mulch helps keep weeds down and soil moist.

As far as marigolds sun or shade care, the plant can tolerate some partial shade, but only if that particular area gets a fair share of sunshine.

Plant marigold flowers in flower beds along with the other bright-hued perennials and annual plants.

Growing them in containers the marigold will grow in regular soil and will actually thrive in poor soil conditions!

How often to water marigolds?

Don’t water marigolds too much, or apply too much liquid or granular fertilizer, as plants will grow too many leaves instead of the beautiful flowers.

How To Plant Marigold Seeds

Plant marigold seeds in your garden when the weather is warm or sow seed into pots approximately 4 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost arrives.

Cover the seeds with ¼” inch of potting mix soil. Marigold seeds germinate easily but watch out for damping off issues as they grow. Separate marigold seedlings when they reach about 2″ inches.

When caring for marigolds remember, that they do not demand special soil, but many gardeners recommend using a potting mix when putting their plants in containers.

When planting marigolds, use loose soil, whether in the gardens or containers.

When planting tall marigolds space them about 2′ feet apart, while smaller varieties space them approximately 1′ foot apart.

Deadheading Marigolds

Marigold plants do not necessarily require intensive pruning, but deadheading marigolds actually aids plants in the blooming and suppresses the seeding process.

When deadheading, inspect plants for any dead flowers and snip the flowerheads off via your fingertips. Before you know it, healthy marigold flowers will grow and take their place!

Grow Marigolds For Pest Control

The natural scent of the Marigold plant works very effectively, and wards off various insects and some animals from your garden.

Many serious gardeners recommend you grow marigolds as companion plants around their vegetable garden to keep insect populations down.

It also produces a substance known as alpha-terthienyl which helps in getting rid of root-knot nematodes. It staves off harmful microscopic nematodes and other pests for a good number of years.

More specifically, you can protect your precious other plants from the deer by adding the marigolds into the mix.

NOTE: French Marigolds have been used to help control nematodes by planting them as cover crop and then turning them under later in the season.

However, marigolds don’t find themselves entirely immune to pests though; white & green aphids on plants and sap-sucking spider mites sometimes take a liking to the marigold plant.

A quick spray of water combined with an insecticidal soap or neem pesticide spray oil will usually solve the infestation issue.

Apply once per week until the pests are gone. Slugs may also find your Marigolds attractive during the wet season, but there’s nothing a bit of slug repellent options won’t fix!

Marigold Plant Care: Question & Answers

Question: Some gardeners suggest that marigolds will keep aphids away from other plants. Is this true? HZ, Illinois

Answer: If the weather is favorable for aphids I’m not sure anything except constant spraying will repel them.

For example, pyrethrum spray made from flowers of the chrysanthemum family is an effective control for aphids.

Yet aphids attack the chrysanthemum plants. A bench of marigold plants in the greenhouse has no effect as a deterrent to aphids on plants in adjoining benches.

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