- Growing Marigold Flowers: How To Grow Marigolds
- Different Kinds of Marigold Flowers
- How to Plant Marigold Seeds
- How to Grow Marigolds
- How to Dry Marigold Flowers
- How to Dry Calendula Flowers
- Collecting Marigold Seeds: Learn How To Harvest Marigold Seeds
- Collecting Seeds from Marigold Flowers
- Marigold Seed Saving
- Calendula Seed Saving
Growing Marigold Flowers: How To Grow Marigolds
For many people, marigold flowers (Tagetes) are among the first flowers they remember growing. These easy care, bright blooms are often used as Mother’s Day gifts and growing projects at schools. Even now, you can be growing marigold flowers in your own garden. Let’s look at how to grow marigolds.
Different Kinds of Marigold Flowers
Marigolds come in four different types. These are:
- African – These marigold flowers tend to be tall
- French – These tend to be dwarf varieties
- Triploid – These marigolds are a hybrid between African and French and are multi-colored
- Single – Have long stems and look like daisies.
Some people also refer to Calendulas as Pot Marigolds but they are not related to the flowers most people know as marigolds.
How to Plant Marigold Seeds
While you can buy marigold plants at your local garden nursery, you can also grow your own marigold seeds into plants much more cheaply.
In order for your marigolds to be ready for planting outdoors in the spring, you will need to start growing marigolds from seed indoors about 50 to 60 days before the last frost date.
Start with a tray or pot filled with damp soilless potting mix. Sprinkle the marigold seeds over the potting mix. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of vermiculite. Cover the pot or tray with plastic wrap and place the tray in a warm spot. The top of the refrigerator works well. Marigold seeds do not need any light to germinate, so you don’t need to provide light yet.
The next step for growing marigolds from seed is to check the planted marigold seeds daily for germination. Typically, marigolds will take three to four days to germinate, but may take a few days longer if the location is cooler. Once the marigold seedlings appear, remove the plastic wrap and move the tray to a location where the seedlings will get at least five hours or more of light each day. The light can be from an artificial source.
As the seedlings grow, keep the potting mix damp by watering from below. This will help to prevent damping off.
Once the seedlings have two sets of true leaves, they can be transplanted to their own pots where they can grow indoors under light until after the last frost has passed.
How to Grow Marigolds
Marigolds are a very versatile flower. They enjoy full sun and hot days and grow well in dry or moist soil. This hardiness is one of the reasons that they are often used as bedding plants and container plants.
Once marigold flowers are planted, they need very little in the way of care. If they are planted in the ground, you only need to water them if the weather has been very dry for more than two weeks. If they are in containers, water them daily as containers will dry out quickly. Water soluble fertilizer can be given to them once a month, but to be honest, they will do as well without fertilizer as they do with it.
You can greatly increase the number of blooms and the blooming time length by deadheading spent blossoms. Dried, spent blossoms can also be kept in a cool, dry place and the seeds inside these flower heads can be used to grow next year’s display of fiery orange, red and yellow marigold flowers.
How to Dry Marigold Flowers
Marigold flowers are attractive annuals that many gardeners use as colorful borders and accents in a landscape. Instead of limiting the marigold beauty to only the summer, some gardeners enjoy drying the blooms for dried floral arrangements and other crafting projects. Drying marigold flowers is an easy process that will take only minutes to begin. Once the flowers are prepared, all you need to do is wait for the blooms to finish drying.
Trim the marigolds at the peak of bloom in the morning after any dew has dried. Cut the marigolds at the base of the stems just above the soil level.
Place four to six marigold stems together and secure them tightly with a rubber band. The stems will shrink as the marigolds dry, so it is important that the rubber band be tight around the stems so it will keep the stems secure as they get smaller.
Choose a drying location that is warm and has low humidity. The location must have good air circulation and should not have any direct sunlight. Screw a hook into the ceiling of this location.
Tie a 10-inch length of twine around the rubber band and use the twine to hang the bunch of marigolds upside down from the hook.
Refrain from disturbing or touching the marigolds while they hang to dry.
Wait for two to four weeks for the marigolds to dry completely. The marigolds are sufficiently dry when the stems shrink and the petals of the marigolds are dry to the touch.
Take the hanging marigolds down from the hooks and remove the rubber bands. Use the dried marigolds in dried floral arrangements or in wreaths and garlands.
How to Dry Calendula Flowers
Calendula is one of my favorite flowers- and medicinal herbs. I tend to grow tons and tons of it every year! Not only does it help keep pests away in the garden, but it’s also just so sunny and cheery to look at!
What do I do with all my calendula?? I dry it! Drying calendula is super easy and, once dry, will store for a long time so that you can use it whenever you please!
Want to learn how to grow calendula? Check out my guide: How to Grow Calendula from Seed
How to Harvest Calendula Flowers
Let’s start with how to harvest calendula flowers.
The best time to harvest your calendula is in the mid morning. You want to pick them when the blooms are fully opened toward the sun and the dew has dried- but before the heat of the day affects the blossoms. Of course, you can harvest any time of the day- mid morning is just optimum.
To harvest, take a sharp pair of scissors and snip off the flower head, leaving little to no stem.
Pick your calendula often- the more you pick, the more your plant will produce! Harvest at least every 3 days- so that you get the blooms at their peak and not when they are starting to droop.
If you do miss a few and they are less than fresh on the plant, go ahead and leave them- they go to seed readily and you can harvest the seeds when they are dry for even more calendula next year!
Drying calendula flowers is very simple and requires nothing more than time.
Bring your fresh calendula flowers inside and immediately set them to dry. To do this you want to set them face down on your surface.
There are a lot of options for drying surfaces- paper towels, newspaper, a screen, paper plate, your dehydrator.
I personally use my dehydrator trays. I don’t actually turn the dehydrator ON, but the trays are set up for easy drying and good airflow. I just leave the front open and the trays in various positions.
Bonus- my dehydrator has 9 trays and I can dry a lot of calendula in a small amount of space!
You will want to turn the flowers as they dry if you are drying on a surface with less air flow like paper towels.
Calendula flowers don’t take too long to dry- but ensure they are completely dry before storing them.
How to Store Dried Calendula
Once your calendula flowers are dry you can store them. But remember they must be 100% completely dry or they will mold once you close them up in a container.
Remember that the green center head of the flower will take longer to dry than the petals.
When your blooms are dry they will be brittle and the petals will release easily from the center heads. When it doubt them leave for longer than necessary- it’s better than ending up losing all of your dried calendula!
You can choose to leave the petals on the heads or remove them and store only the petals. When I dry my calendula, I leave the flower heads intact with the petals. The heads have medicinal properties too, so I want to preserve as much as possible.
If you choose to store only the dry calendula petals, simply mixing the dry flowers in a bowl with your hands will be enough to release the petals from the heads.
I store all of my herbs in glass mason jars. They are strong, air tight, and moths and mice (eek!) can’t get into them in my cabinet!
And remember- always store your dried calendula out of the sun. A dark cabinet is the best place.
What to Do With Dried Calendula Flowers
So, now that you have all this dried calendula…what do you DO with it??
Seriously you can use calendula for so many things.
I make Calendula Tea with most of my dried calendula- it’s great for your skin or for treating ailments like pink eye.
I also make a batch of calendula oil by steeping the dried flowers in some olive oil. Then I can use that in salves, creams, and my Calendula Lavender Lip Balm.
I’ve also been known to throw some in soups and other dishes from time to time.
You can read more about how to use calendula in 30 Amazing Benefits and Uses for Calendula.
Collecting Marigold Seeds: Learn How To Harvest Marigold Seeds
As far as annual flowers go, you can hardly do better than marigolds. Marigolds are easy to grow, low maintenance, and a reliable source of bright color. They’re also famous for repelling harmful bugs, making them an excellent low impact and totally organic choice for pest management. Marigold seeds aren’t exactly expensive, but they do have to be replanted every year. Why not try collecting and storing marigold seeds this year? Keep reading to learn how to harvest marigold seeds.
Collecting Seeds from Marigold Flowers
Collecting seeds from marigold flowers is easy. That being said, the plants don’t form recognizable seed pods, so finding the seeds is tricky if you don’t know where to look. The first thing you need to do is wait for the flowers to fade and dry.
Choose a flower head that is very withered and dried out. It should be mostly brown, with just a little bit of green left at the base. This green means it’s less likely to have started rotting. Cut the flower head from the plant a few inches down the stem so as not to damage the seeds.
Pinch the withered petals of the flower between your thumb and index finger of one hand, and the base of the flower head with the other hand. Gently pull your hands in opposite directions. The petals should slide clear of the base with a bunch of pointy black spears attached. These are your seeds.
Marigold Seed Saving
After collecting seeds from marigold flowers, lay them out for a day or so to dry. Storing marigold seeds is best done in a paper envelope so any additional moisture can escape.
Plant them in the spring and you’ll have a whole new generation of marigolds. One thing to remember: when you’re collecting marigold seeds, you can’t necessarily depend upon getting a true copy of the parent’s flowers. If the plant you’ve harvested from is an heirloom, its seeds will produce the same kind of flowers. But if it’s a hybrid (which is likely if you’ve gotten cheap plants from a garden center), then the next generation probably won’t look the same.
There’s nothing wrong with this – it can actually be very exciting and interesting. Just don’t be disappointed if the flowers you get look different from the flowers you had.
Calendula Seed Saving
Not only can you save seeds from your vegetable plants, you can also do the same with flowers. Many flowers produce prolific and quick to dry seeds making the seed saving process super simple. To learn more about the process of Saving Seeds visit our tip. Calendula are beautiful sunny flowers. If you dead-head them throughout the summer, they will produce a prolific amount of orange blossoms.
Saving the Seed
- To save seeds, choose a couple of your favorite flowers of the bunch and allow their flowers to go past.
- Continue to observe and allow the seed head to dry. At this point, some of the seeds may fall to the ground, but don’t worry, you will have plenty of seeds!
- When the seed head is dry, simply hold a bag under the plant while you run your hand over the plant, gently removing the seeds from the head. If the seeds do not fall easily, they are not yet ready to be harvested.
Store the seeds in a cool, dry, dark place. Plant next year for more gorgeous orange blossoms!
Gardening Tips Gardening flowers seed seed saving