Marigold when to plant

Marigolds: The Ultimate Guide to Growing Vibrant Marigolds

Bright and hardy marigolds are a no-fuss, low maintenance annual. Their cheery blooms thrive in the sun, making these summer-through-fall-time beauties a popular choice.

Read on to find out more about marigold plants.

  • What are Marigolds?
  • Popular Types of Marigolds
  • How to Plant Marigold Flowers
  • Growing and Caring for Marigold Flowers
  • Common Questions About Growing Marigolds

What are Marigolds?

Marigolds have carnation or daisy-like flowers, usually in bright orange, copper brown or yellow that can grow as single blooms or in clusters. Their distinct smell is often described as pungent, but most gardeners appreciate this, as it keeps away garden pests and insects. However, keep an eye out for slugs and caterpillars as they can be issues for marigolds.

Popular Types of Marigolds

  • French Marigolds – French marigolds are one of the most common varieties. They are easy to grow, top out at 6 – 12 inches tall and have a long growing season with blooms that last frost to frost. They are both deer resistant and drought tolerant. Plant French marigolds in well-drained soil in full sun.
  • African Marigolds – The African marigold is also known as the Aztec or American marigold. It has large, bright blooms and grows taller than some other varieties. At 1 – 3 feet tall, the African marigold is deer resistant and sure to be a showstopper. They do best in well-drained soil that can dry out between watering, as they are susceptible to soil-born funguses and rot.
  • Mexican Marigolds – The Mexican marigold has a wider, flat flower and aromatic foliage. It grows 4 – 6 feet tall and attracts bees and butterflies with its musky scent. It grows well in full sun and well-drained soil. Mexican marigolds are deer resistant and drought tolerant, but will perform better with regular, consistent irrigation. One of the only perennial marigolds.
  • Triploid Marigolds – A hybrid between French and African marigolds, triploid marigolds also have large, sturdy blooms. They have low germination, which can make them a bit challenging to grow, but with proper care can be the most rewarding, as they have a longer growing season than some other types. Triploid marigolds do well in extreme heat and are much more day length neutral than other marigolds, meaning they will flower even if they don’t get a lot of light.
  • Signet Marigolds – These pretty, delicate little marigolds are actually edible, and their sweetness can brighten up any summer salad with a pop of unexpected color. They need full sun and moist, but not rich or fertile, soil to do well.

How to Plant Marigold Flowers

Marigolds are easy to plant and can do well in virtually any type of soil. Most types like full sun and can withstand even extremely hot temperatures, making them one of the easiest flowers to grow all year long. In fact, their hardiness makes it unnecessary to start marigold seeds indoors. Below is a simple guide to planting seeds directly in the ground – or transplant – whichever you prefer.

  • For large varieties: sow seeds 18 to 24 inches apart
  • For medium varieties: space 12 to 15 inches apart
  • For dwarf plants: space 6 inches apart

Simply cover the seeds with soil and keep them moist and warm. If transplanting, be sure to water well after doing so. Plants will sprout in a few days if the weather is warm enough, and blooms will appear in around 2 months.

When should you plant marigolds?

Plant your marigolds in the spring, after the last frost. If you choose to start from seed indoors, you can begin the process about 2 months before the last expected frost. Seeds will germinate anywhere from 4 to 14 days in warm soil that has an average temperature of 70°F – 75°F. Above the refrigerator is a good spot for seeds to rest if you are germinating indoors. In this case, once the seeds germinate, transplant them outdoors after the last frost.

How to transplant marigolds from seed

After seeds have germinated, moisten soil and then plant seedlings about 1 inch apart from one another.

How to thin seedlings

If planting seeds directly in the ground without germinating, once sprouted, but while still small, thin your seedlings. Thinning seedlings is important so that maturing plants have plenty of space to grow without having to compete for nutrients and water. It also helps improve air circulation. To thin, carefully remove a seedling and, holding it by its leaves to prevent the stem from being crushed, lightly set the roots into a hole. Pat the soil around the stem gently but firmly. Spacing will depend on the variety.

Planting in containers

Be sure to use a large enough container because marigolds tend to grow quickly, and crowding can be an issue.

Use a soil-based potting mix and either add in a granular, slow-acting fertilizer at the time of planting, or periodically water with a diluted liquid fertilizer. Do not over-fertilize.

Tips to Care for Marigold Flowers

Marigolds establish easily, and new blooms will appear not long after planting. These low-maintenance plants do not require much care, and with just a few tips, will put on a showy display for months.

Tip 1. Water regularly, but not too frequently. Let soil dry out in between watering, and then water well each time. If it is an extremely hot period, it’s fine to increase the frequency, just take care not to overwater.

Tip 2. Never water overhead. Too much water on marigold leaves can result in a powdery mildew building up on the pretty dark green foliage. Water at the base of the plant to avoid this.

Tip 3. Deadhead as needed. Marigolds actually do not need a lot of deadheading but doing so will promote more blooms. To deadhead, simply remove any dying blossoms.

Tip 4. Pinch back. Pinching from the top of the plant is an easy way to remove dead blooms and encourage growth while helping plants fill out so they don’t become leggy. Using your thumb and forefinger, simply pinch the dead bloom where it meets the stem. Pinching can trick plants into producing more because you remove the bloom before it goes to seed, which essentially is what tells the plant to stop producing.

Tip 5. Do not fertilize during the growing season. Fertilizer will result in pretty foliage, but it will be at the expense of your blooms.

Tip 6. Add mulch. Mulch will prevent weeds from growing and keep soil nice and moist.

Common Questions About Growing Marigolds

In addition to being easy to grow, marigolds also make great companion plants in the garden. Learning everything you can about them helps ensure they will grow big and beautifully for your enjoyment.

How do you reseed marigolds?

To reseed marigolds, wait for the plant to begin to dry out. When the petals are brown, and the plant base is just starting to turn brown, you can harvest the seeds. Do not wait for the entire plant to turn brown or you risk it molding.

Do marigolds spread?

Marigolds are rapidly growing plants and most varieties are self-seeding, which means they will drop seeds and spread throughout your yard or garden. Limit the ability to self-seed by deadheading before blooms go to seed.

Are marigolds perennials or annuals?

Actually, both! Most marigolds are annuals, but a few are perennials. Marigolds self-seed so they may appear to be a perennial when in reality, they are just coming back from seed.

What zone do marigolds grow best in?

Marigolds grow well in planting zones 2 – 11, and they do best in warmer months. They will have a longer blooming season in zones 10 or higher, where temperatures don’t dip close to freezing, even later in the winter.

Why are my marigolds dying?

Marigolds are a fairly easy plant to grow, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have issues. If your marigolds are not doing well, it may be due to slugs or caterpillars. If you see small, chewed edges or holes in the leaves, check your plants for caterpillars. Removing them by hand is simple, fast and can alleviate the problem.

Do marigolds bloom year-round?

Marigolds do not bloom year-round, but with proper care, some varieties can bloom for several months. They will put on the best show all summer and into fall.

Marigolds are a hardy, bright, easy-to-grow plant. They are virtually fool-proof, so even first-time gardeners can trust their marigold show will be abundant and something to be proud of.

What is the best way to germinate cannabis seeds?

The best way to germinate cannabis seeds requires only two saucers or plates and some moist tissue. Here is a step by step guide.

Unfortunately, regulation and implementation in respect of cannabis seeds often differ from country to country. For this reason we advise you as a matter of urgency to make inquiries about the regulations to which you are subject. Read the complete disclaimer here.

Step 1. The setup – How to germinate cannabis seeds

Line the bottom of the first plate with a few layers of wet tissue and drain any excess water from the plate.

Seeds should be placed on top of the tissue, allowing each seed as much space as possible.

Place another few layers of moist tissue on top of the seeds, again allowing excess water to drain off.

Lastly, cover everything with the second plate, upside down, to form a ‘clam-shell’ shape – this will create the dark, moist environment necessary for germination.

Step 2. Germination – How to germinate cannabis seeds

Place the plates somewhere warm (21ºC) and away from direct light.

Check the seeds every day to ensure that the tissue does not dry out. Spray the tissues with water if necessary.

Within a few days some or all of the seeds should open and put out a root. It is common for cannabis seeds to open within 72 hours of being put in the germination medium. Less commonly, some seeds may need up to 10 days or even two weeks to open and put out a root.

When the first few millimetres of root have emerged from a germinated seed, each one should then be carefully transferred to a small container of growing medium (soil, coco-fibre or rockwool).

Step 3. Potting – How to germinate cannabis seeds

Make a hole in the growing medium that is about twice as deep as the seed is long, so that each germinated cannabis seed sits 2-5mm below the surface.

Place the cannabis seed, root first, into the hole and cover with a small amount of growing medium – just enough to block light, not enough to obstruct the seedling when it emerges.

Cannabis seedlings usually emerge from the growing medium 24 to 72 hours after the germinated seeds are planted.

Step 4. The seedling stage – How to germinate cannabis seeds

New seedlings should be given access to bright light from the time they emerge. Care should be exercised in the first week or two, as seedlings are still quite delicate.

Seedlings intended for outdoors should be acclimatised to direct sunlight by placing them on a windowsill inside the house and increasing their exposure to direct sunlight by an hour or two per day.

Seedlings intended for indoors may emerge into an artificially lit environment with no problems. If using HID lighting, seedlings should be kept a minimum distance of 50 to 80cm from the bulb. If using fluorescent light, seedlings can be kept a normal distance from the tube/bulb.


How Fast Do Marigolds Grow?

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Few annuals match the prolific marigold in flower performance and longevity. This popular companion bloom comes in heights that range from 6 inches to 4 feet, with spreading habits that encompass as much as 3 feet per plant. Use marigolds as bedding plants, as a border for a perennial garden or in pots for the deck or patio. Marigold’s orange, yellow and red flowers fill out quickly, making a sun-kissed statement in your landscape.

Fast-Growing Marigolds

If you want flowers in the front yard by Memorial Day, marigolds started from seed inside in front of a sunny window make a good choice. Since it takes just 45 to 50 days until flowering from the day you plant the seeds, start seeds in a proven growing medium in early April. If you plan to sow seeds directly in the garden, wait until the danger of frost departs, then plant in full sun in moist, well-drained soil. In most areas of the country, flowers emerge from seed planted outdoors by middle to late June. Thin seedlings to 10 to 12 inches apart, and keep plants well-watered until they establish themselves.

Marigold Types

Even though today’s marigolds stem from three foundation marigolds, two of which are named for their perceived country of origin — Tagetes erecta, or African marigold; Tagetes patula, or French marigold; and Tagetes teneuifolia, or signet marigold — all began in the Southwest United States and South America. Marigolds established in Europe and Africa via Spanish and French explorers who transported seeds to the homeland.

French marigolds produce small, bushy plants with single or double flowers of orange, yellow, dark red and bicolor combinations, which bloom from spring until frost. African marigolds reach heights of up to 36 inches and produce flowers that span as much as 5 inches. Flowers present as the double variety in shades of yellow and orange. Signet marigolds produce yellow or orange edible flowers — signets taste like spicy tarragon — on bushy, lemon-scented plants. Small, single flowers completely cover the plant’s lacy foliage by midsummer.

Marigolds as Companion Plants

Although many gardeners use marigold plantings to ward off destructive insects, the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service indicates marigolds may not accomplish this traditional role. Instead, the insects may attract destructive spider mites to an otherwise mite-free garden. ACES does acknowledge that marigold roots secrete a toxic compound that destroys nematodes in the soil. Nematodes feed on and destroy root systems of many plants.


Originally called “Mary’s Gold,” marigolds were named to honor the Virgin Mary. In the 1960s, U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois led an unsuccessful drive to make this small, unassuming bloom the national flower. Marigolds do not like cold weather, which make them susceptible to an early fall frost. Cover with newspaper or other protective material to extend bloom well into the fall season. Marigolds, especially the tall varieties, make good cut flowers.

Popular with gardeners coast to coast! Marigolds (Tagetes erecta) are one of the easiest — and most beautiful — annuals to grow. Compact flowers, ranging in color from pale yellow to deep orange and rust, make a spectacular addition to pots, baskets and borders or simply scattered throughout the garden. This quick germinator has a distinct spicy aroma and adds a splash of color all summer long. Looks great in dried floral arrangements too!

Marigolds are not fussy and tolerate a wide range of soil and climate conditions, but most of all, they love heat. There are many varieties available of this cheerful garden favorite, from miniature to giant. Try growing marigolds in and around vegetable plants to repel insect pests. Hardy annual, 10-18 inches tall.

Fun Fact: In Macer’s Herbal, a 10th century manuscript on the healing properties of plants, marigolds were said to draw evil humours out of the head and strengthen the eyesight.


Marigold Seeds

One of the simplest – and most beautiful – annuals to grow in the garden.

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Heirloom marigolds are one of the simplest – and most beautiful – annuals to grow. Planting instructions are included with each seed packet and shipping is FREE!​

Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Caring for Marigolds

  1. Bright yellow is the most common color, but some varieties are pale yellow to deep orange
  2. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost or plant seedlings outdoors after last frost
  3. Choose a site with full sun and soil amended with compost
  4. Water regularly; protect from frost
  5. An annual that blooms all season long

Sunlight: Full sun
Maturity: 50-80 days from seed to flower
Height: 6 to 18 inches
Spacing: 8 to 18 inches apart in all directions

Site Preparation

Marigolds are not fussy and will tolerate most conditions. However, with rich, well-drained soil and plenty of sunshine, these plants will thrive. Generous amounts of organic compost or well-aged manure mixed into the garden prior to planting will greatly improve the health of flowers (see Springtime Garden Soil Preparation). Keep the soil moist, but not wet.

How to Plant

Sow marigold seed directly in the ground and cover with a thin layer of soil (about 1/8 inch deep). Water thoroughly. Thin to 8-18 inches apart after seedlings have sprouted. Marigolds can also be started early indoors under grow lights for transplanting outdoors about six to eight weeks before the last frost date. Read our article Starting Annual Flowers Indoors to learn more.

Once established and healthy, marigolds will continue growing easily, even if left unattended. Water to keep the soil moist.

Provide nutrients monthly with a bud and bloom booster once plants have started flowering. Pinch off the spent blossoms to extend the flowering season. Mulch to prevent weeds, conserve moisture and improve aesthetics. Marigolds will not survive a hard frost or freeze.

Insect & Disease Problems

Marigolds have few problems with insect pests. In fact, the flowers can be planted around cabbage and broccoli plants to help deter and repel cabbage moths. Read our Companion Planting Guide to learn how some plants perform better when grown together.

Keep an eye out for slugs, which can decimate the plants overnight. Monitor closely and treat with Sluggo® Bait or diatomaceous earth if damage is found.

Spray soft-bodied pests, like aphids and spider mites, with a strong stream of water to reduce pest numbers or spot treat heavily infested areas with Safer’s® Soap for immediate control.

Seed Saving Instructions

Marigolds will produce lots of seed in a similar fashion to zinnia or calendula. When the blooms dry out, cut them off and hang upside down in bundles. The seeds are contained in the heads and, once dry and crisp, can be hand-crushed and winnowed from the seed chaff.

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