From the end of the 16th century, when marigolds came to Europe and North America from Mexico and Guatemala, until today, with their warm and bright colors, they are an indispensable decoration of many gardens and terraces worldwide.
They belong to the genus Tagetes in the large family of sunflowers or Asteraceae but share the name with many plants from the same family but different genera, such as the famous Calendula flowers, the plants with proven and widespread use in medicine.
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What is Marigold
Marigolds are herbaceous, annual plants with dark green, feathery foliage that grow on branched stems, giving the whole plant compact, bushy shape.
Depending on the species, the flowers are single or full, with straight or twisted petals, and appear from the second half of spring until the first frost. They bloom in a fiery color palette, including orange, yellow, and reddish-brown, and many varieties even have a combination of these tones.
Leaves and flowers to the touch release a characteristic, and many would say a slightly unpleasant odor, but the ease with which you can grow them, bright colors, and long-lasting flowering period have pushed this feature into the background.
Types of Marigold
Tagetes signataIf you want to decorate your garden with these classic heavy bloomers, among the numerous cultivars, you can choose between three basic types:
- High Marigolds ( Tagetes erecta – African marigolds) the robust plants that grow up to 36 inches with full, 3 inches wide globular, pom-pom flowers in bright yellow, gold, and orange color.
- Low Marigolds ( Tagetes patula), often called French marigolds, the small, up to 6-12 inches tall, compact, bushy plants. They produce numerous flowers in warm shades of orange, yellow, and reddish-brown single or coronation-like, double flowers.
- Miniature marigolds or Tagetes signata, low compact plants that grow a maximum of 20 inches, have simple small flowers and look great in pots.
How To Care For Marigolds
Alluring Marigolds are very easy to grow and care for and do not require much to enjoy their beauty. Here are the essential tips for their cultivation:
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Marigolds enjoy sunny places and thrive even in spots where many other garden plants struggle with the blazing sun. Moreover, they require a full day of sun to grow and flower their best. Therefore, plant them in an area where they will get six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily.
In the early stages, the plants tolerate shades, but as soon as they grow a few inches tall, you should move them to a sunnier spot for abundant flowering.
Since Marigold come from warm areas, they are not frost resistant and grow as annuals in the garden or pots in the northern hemisphere.
In southern states, where the cultivation zone is 8, 10, and 11, due to the abundance of sunshine and relatively small temperature fluctuations throughout the year, they have a longer blooming season.
The sun-loving Marigolds have a high heat tolerance and grow best where night temperatures do not drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Modest marigolds do not require special soil to thrive. Any good loamy, well-drained garden soil that is not too acidic( ph 6 to 7) would make this beauty happy.
Since soil rich in organic matter is not a must, the very adaptable plant will grow in the most average garden ground. If you want to grow marigolds in pots, fill them with ordinary garden soil or standard potting substrate, to which you can add a handful of sand or perlite for better drainage.
Although marigolds are drought-tolerant, you should not taste their endurance, leaving them thirsty for days, especially if they grow in pots! On the other hand, watering too often is just as dangerous as it can lead to root rot.
Therefore, hydrate the potted marigold when the top one to two inches of soil is dry.
In the garden, watering depends on the season and the amount of natural rain. If the weather is unusually hot and the soil dries faster, it will need extra water.
Generally, you should water your marigolds at least once a week if the rain doesn’t overtake you!
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If you want to give your young plant a healthy boost, you can use water-soluble, general-purpose fertilizer with an NPK ratio of15:15:15 once a month.
But, this measure is not necessary since marigolds thrive well even without additional supplementation. Moreover, excessive fertilization can cause more damage than good because these plants are not accustomed to nutrient-rich soil.
Sowing seeds is an effective, cheap, and easy way to propagate new plants.
You can plant the seed indoors in a container filled with moist and loose substrate in February or directly in the ground when the soil temperature is from 59 to 70 ℉ in April. It all depends on your zone.
When the seedlings appear and harden, transplant them at a distance of at least 15 inches since marigolds grow and spread quickly.
The seed takes a few weeks to germinate and blooms in about eight weeks.
And one more piece of advice: protect seedlings and young plants from snails because marigolds are at the top of their menu!
- Package includes about 100 seeds
- Instructions in English are included
- Season of Interest: Spring, Summer, Autumn
- USDA Hardiness Zone: 1-11
- Species: Tagetes patula nana; Germanation: 90-95%
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