Marigold seed germination time

Planting Marigold Seeds: Learn When And How To Plant Marigold Seeds

Marigolds are some of the most rewarding annuals you can grow. They’re low maintenance, they’re fast growing, they repel pests, and they’ll provide you with bright, continuous color until the fall frost. Since they’re so popular, live plants are available at just about any garden center. But it’s a lot cheaper and more fun growing marigolds by seed. Keep reading to learn more about how to plant marigold seeds.

When to Sow Marigolds

When to sow marigold seeds really depends upon your climate. Planting marigold seeds at the right time is important. Marigolds are very frost sensitive, so they should not be sown outdoors until all chance of frost has passed.

If your final frost date is late, you’ll really benefit from planting marigold seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost.

How to Plant Marigold Seeds

If you’re starting indoors, sow the seeds in well-draining, rich soilless growing medium in a warm place. Scatter the seeds on top of the mix, then cover them with a very fine layer (less than ¼ inch) of more medium.

Marigold seed germination usually takes 5 to 7 days. Separate your seedlings when they’re two inches tall. When all chance of frost has passed, you can transplant your marigolds outside.

If you’re planting marigold seeds outdoors, pick a location that receives full sun. Marigolds can grow in a variety of soils, but they prefer rich, well-draining soil if they can get it. Scatter your seeds on the ground and cover them with a thin layer of very fine soil.

Water gently and regularly over the next week to keep the soil from drying out. Thin your marigolds when they’re a few inches high. Short varieties should be spaced a foot apart, and tall varieties should be 2 to 3 feet apart.

All About Marigolds

Can I Grow Marigolds?

Marigolds are incredibly easy-going and reliable under a wide range of growing conditions. Once planted, marigolds grow rapidly with no fuss. Most thrive in full sun, taking hot, sunny exposures in stride. Marigolds can even handle the reflected heat and light of paved surfaces as long as they get regular moisture. However, marigolds will tolerate up to 20% shade if there is bright light the rest of the day. In fact, lovely white ‘Snowdrift’ actually prefers some afternoon shade in regions where summers are extremely hot.

The History Of Marigold Flowers

Marigolds and the W. Atlee Burpee Seed Company are practically synonymous. As early as 1905, Burpee began to offer the first truly double large marigold ‘Lemon Gold’ (once available as an heirloom variety).

Should I Grow Marigold Seeds Or Plants?

With seeds so easy to handle, marigolds are frequently used in gardening programs for children or the elderly. While it is very easy, starting marigolds from seed indoors offers no real advantage because they germinate so quickly outdoors. Seeds sown directly into the garden about 1-inch apart sprout within days in warm weather and plants bloom in about 8 weeks. For best results, thin or transplant young marigolds while they are still small, spacing French and Signet types 8 to 10 inches apart. Larger American varieties should be at least 10 to 12 inches apart. Marigolds grown in containers can become a bit crowded.

Burpee offers a nice collection of their marigolds as Sure Start Plants. Garden centers also offer young marigold plants in celled packs of 6 or 8 plants for spring planting. For a good show of the tall types right away, buy more mature American varieties in individual pots.

How Do I Cultivate Marigolds?

Plant or transplant young marigold plants outdoors after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed and dried out a bit. French and signet types can be planted anytime through midsummer but the tall American marigolds are best planted right away in the spring because they are slower to mature. Plant on an overcast day to protect the marigold seedlings from the stress of hot sun while they cope with transplant shock.
Prepare the soil by digging down about 6 inches to loosen and aerate it. Remove stones and debris and mix in some granular fertilizer. A 5-10-5 works fine. Set each marigold plant in a hole the size of its rootball and firm soil gently over the roots for support. Then thoroughly water each plant. Plant marigolds in containers in a soilless potting medium. Either mix in slow-acting granular fertilizer at planting time or plan to water in diluted liquid fertilizer periodically.

Marigold Growing Tips

A one or two inch layer of any organic material spread over the bare soil between marigold plants will discourage weeds and help keep soil moist. This mulch is most helpful when plants are young before their foliage grows bushy and shades the soil. Water marigold plants when they are first planted and during period of high heat and drought.

Burpee’s Exclusive Triple Treat Marigold

What Insects & Diseases Affect Marigolds

Marigolds have few disease and pest problems if they are properly grown. Occasionally soggy soil or pest insects will induce one of several fungal infections, signaled by discolored spots, a coating of mildew or wilting on the foliage. The best defense is to keep down weeds and to plant marigold where drainage is good. American marigolds tend to be more susceptible than other types to problems.

Marigold Harvesting Tips

Marigolds make excellent cut flowers for both live and dried arrangements. For live bouquets, cut newly opened blooms early in the morning and immediately set the stems in a jar of warm water. Later, strip the stems of lower leaves that might foul the water and arrange the flowers in a vase with fresh water. Marigolds will last up to a week- even longer if you add some floral preservative to the vase water.

Marigold Recipes & Storage

Signet marigolds appear on many lists of edible flowers. The petals from their tiny flowers add bright color and a spicy tang to tossed salads. Chopped, the petals make a tangy garnish for boiled eggs, steamed vegetables or fish dishes. Use only homegrown flowers to insure they are free of chemical pesticides. Use caution if you tend to be allergic to various grasses and other plants.

Marigolds are most commonly thought to be the little orange and yellow flowers everybody grows because everybody can grow them. Their tolerance for less-than-perfect soil conditions, their ability to thrive in all but the coldest and harshest of climates, and their naturally forgiving nature when it comes to care (or lack thereof) makes them a favorite of gardeners throughout the world. But there’s much more to these little beauties than meets the eye.

The name ‘marigold’ means Mary’s Gold, and comes from one of the oldest-known species of marigolds — the calendula (or pot marigold). Other species of marigolds include the common marigold, tree marigold, Mexican marigold, corn marigold and the French marigold.

CC photo courtesy of dancerinthedark

All but the most hybridized varieties of marigolds are perennials. In the warmest regions the plants thrive year round, while in colder zones, they act as self-seeding annuals if you deadhead the blooms and drop them onto the ground.

Marigolds can be started indoors in early spring to be ready to transplant into the ground or larger pots when weather permits, or the seed can be sown directly into the soil after all danger of frost is past.

It’s usually not a question of whether or not to have marigolds. It’s more a question of what kind and how many to plant. Marigolds aren’t only attractive, they’re useful as well.

Did you know….

1. Marigolds are proven nectar sources for butterflies, making them a popular pick for butterfly gardens.

2. The pigments in their bold colors are approved in Europe for use in the coloring of many food items.

3. Marigolds are a natural repellent of nematodes and other garden pests. Planting marigolds in and around your tomato, eggplant, pepper and potato plants will result in healthier plants and produce.

4. The pungent smell of marigolds will also keep rabbits, deer and rodents from eating your plants.

5. Marigolds have medicinal purposes. Some species of marigolds are used antiseptically to treat athlete’s foot, bites and stings.

Another reason for the popularity of the marigold is its ability to bloom and bloom and bloom…. When all else is fading from your garden, marigolds will still be going strong. And what makes that even better, is that by using different sizes and colors of marigolds, your flower garden will look as if it’s flourishing even near the end of the season.

1. Common, French and pot marigolds can be grown in the ground or in pots. In the harshest of climates (hot or cold) they will require a bit of extra attention. The hottest of climates will necessitate closer attention to watering, while in climates experiencing harsh winter temperatures the pots will need to be placed in a cellar, basement or garage during the winter.

2. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a tropical climate, the tree marigold is an option for you. Sometimes called the Mexican Sunflower, the thick woody stem is tree-like and they grow up to eight feet tall.

3. Corn marigolds, which until recently were considered to be in the chrysanthemum family, resemble a daisy. Their blooms of bright yellow leaves tipped in white are anchored in the center by a large yellow disc. The corn marigold is taller than the more common marigolds. While not native to the United Sates, they grow so profusely in parts of Europe that they are considered an invasive weed.

Marigolds aren’t terribly fussy. As long as they get a fair amount of sunshine (the more the better) and the soil they’re in is on the dry side, they thrive and bloom continually until the first hard frost of autumn.

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