- Marigolds are such an easy annual flower to grow for your yard. They are low maintenance and drought tolerant. Learn how to grow Marigolds from seed to bloom.
- Marigold Plant Varieties
- How To Care For Marigolds Flowers
- Marigold Plant Care: Question & Answers
- No Flowers On Marigolds: What To Do When Marigolds Will Not Bloom
- Help, My Marigolds are Not Blooming!
- Why heat-tolerant marigolds are perfect for Texas gardens
- Tall Aztec marigolds
- Smaller French marigolds
- Growing tips
- Tagetes: Marigold
- Facts: Tagetes
Marigolds are such an easy annual flower to grow for your yard. They are low maintenance and drought tolerant. Learn how to grow Marigolds from seed to bloom.
Marigolds are one of my all time favorite flowers so I plant them in my yard every year.
The price of a flat of annual flowers is a real budget stretcher which is why I grow my own. I always enjoy growing marigolds from seed to bloom. There is a certain pleasure derived from seeing those beautiful blooms that you grew from seed!
An elderly neighbor taught me how to grow flowers from seed more years ago than I care to admit. Her favorite was petunias. Remembering her and our shared love for flowers makes me smile.
The method I use to begin seeds is Winter Seed Sowing in repurposed milk jugs.
Read How To Use Milk Jugs For Winter Seed Sowing for the tutorial or watch the video below.
Marigolds are easy to grow, drought tolerant and very low maintenance. Seeds sprout in days and can be started indoors for a winter head start or directly into the ground in the spring.
The bold vibrant colors create fabulous curb appeal in deep orange and yellow with maroon shades. I like to plant Red Salvia with Dwarf Marigolds in front for flower bed borders.
Preparing the soil may not be the fun part but just smile because you are planting flowers and getting exercise at the same time which is a win-win, right!
Sewing the seed directly into the soil
Gently sprinkle the seeds across the area you have prepared. You are sprinkling the seeds on top of the soil.
Please don’t try to plant each seed individually, it isn’t necessary. After you have sprinkled your desired amount of seeds, gently cover with dirt by sprinkling dirt on top of the seeds.
Flower seeds are planted so near the surface of the dirt that they are almost not even covered with dirt. (It’s like sprinkling flour onto a surface that you are kneading raw dough on.) Just barely cover the seeds. Now, gently pat down the dirt on top of the seeds.
Water carefully so as not to dislodge the seeds. Use the sprayer nozzle with light water so as not to dislodge the seeds until they sprout. They will generally sprout in 5-7 days or whatever time the package directions state.
Prepare the soil
This is where you get some exercise! I use a good old fashioned hoe and a garden rake to prepare the soil.
The garden rake has wide enough tines to remove big lumps of anything you don’t want in your flower bed. The hoe of course is so you can loosen the soil nice and deep which will allow the roots to grow more healthy.
If flower roots have to fight their way though rocks, roots or hard soil, they will stay shallow which will make the plants need water more often and be more susceptible to wilting.
Plant your seedlings
Now plan the pattern in which you want your flowers to grow. I lay mine out in offset rows so they will create a more full flower bed when grown. They will look like they are not going to make it during this process because they are like fish out of water.
Water them immediately when finished with the planting. They are delicate at this stage so be gentle with the watering.
Caring for marigolds
Remove the spent blooms all throughout the blooming season. This process is known as deadheading. You can use your garden shears or just pinch them off with your fingers. Deadheading the spent blooms will allow the flowers to keep blooming throughout the summer.
See my Facebook video below for how to deadhead marigolds.
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A. Marigolds need to be planted in full sun; this means they need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to produce the best blooms. When you water them you need to ensure the soil around the roots is saturated to a depth of 8 inches. Use a moisture meter to check, and then let the soil dry before watering them again because marigolds do not do well in soggy soil. Marigolds are light feeders; you should fertilize them only once, about six to eight weeks after planting. Apply only ¼ to ½ the amount recommended on the fertilizer container. Applying more than that can result in lush foliage and few if any flowers. When you do fertilize, the soil should be damp; then water it in well to avoid scorching the roots. When you do get them to bloom be sure to deadhead them as soon as the flowers begin to fade. To deadhead, simply pinch or cut off the spent flowers down to the next leaf, bud or branching stem. The numbers on fertilizer indicate the percentage of the three macro nutrients it contains. Nitrogen is first and is great for green growth and the shoot; phosphorus is second for flowers and fruit; potash is last and good for the root. So if you were growing lettuce, a high first number would be OK, but if you want fruit as in tomatoes or flowers then a higher middle number is what you want. If your marigolds are getting full sun, then I think the fertilizer is the problem. Next time get one with a higher middle number and cut the amount back or skip it altogether.
Marigold flowers are cheerful and easy plants to grow. They are the first choice among those who want a bright and splendid natural display for their homes!
Annual marigold flowers are native of Mexico and display radiant sprays of multi-colored brass, copper and gold flowers all throughout the summer season.
Marigold flower colors, come in a wide variety.
Shaped like daisies, or 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 do 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’s quite a number of different Marigold plant species, but the most popular varieties include:
The delicate Tagetes tenuifolia, also known as the signet marigold thrive 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.
Tagetes 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.
Tagetes tenuifolia 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; tagetes patula’s elegant, dainty, demure flowers and plants growing anywhere from 6″ inches to about 2′ feet tall.
Do Marigolds Need Full Sun?
The French marigold requires full sun and a 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 produce 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 potted marigolds have cheery bright yellow, gold and orange blooms. Calendula’s citrus tasting flowers is 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. African marigolds also bear the name American marigolds or Aztec marigolds.
The African marigold produces blooms of larger flowers. Among other well-known varieties like the French marigolds, this Tagetes erecta is more drought tolerant, loves the full sun, and seem to like a poor soil.
Marigold Flowers excellent plants for natural pest control.
How To Care For Marigolds Flowers
The Marigold plant, the equivalent of a no-fuss, easygoing person who brings a lot of color into your life.
Marigold season is between summer and 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 and help 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 weather is warm or sow seed into pots approximately 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost arrives.
Cover marigold 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, they do not demand special soil, but many gardeners recommend using a potting mix when putting their plants in containers.
When planting marigolds, use a 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.
Marigold plants do not necessarily require intensive pruning, but deadheading 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 its place!
Grow Marigolds For Pest Control
The natural scent of the Marigold plant works very effectively, wards off various insects and some animals from your garden.
Many serious gardeners recommend you grow marigolds around their vegetable garden as a companion plant 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.
No Flowers On Marigolds: What To Do When Marigolds Will Not Bloom
Getting a marigold to flower usually isn’t a difficult task, as the hardy annuals usually bloom nonstop from early summer until they are nipped by frost in autumn. If your marigolds will not bloom, the fix is usually fairly simple. Read on for a few helpful suggestions.
Help, My Marigolds are Not Blooming!
Marigold plants not flowering? In order to get more blooms on your marigolds, it helps to understand the most common reasons for no flowers on marigolds.
Fertilizer – If your soil is moderately rich, no fertilizer is needed. If your soil is poor, limit fertilizer to an occasional light feeding. Marigolds in excessively rich (or over-fertilized) soil may be lush and green, but may produce few blooms. This is one of the primary reasons for marigold plants not flowering.
Sunshine – Marigolds are sun-loving plants. In shade, they may produce foliage but few blooms will appear. Lack of adequate sunlight is a very common reason for no flowers on marigolds. If this is the problem, move the plants to a location where they are exposed to full sunlight all day.
Soil – Marigolds aren’t fussy about the type of soil, but good drainage is an absolute must. Often, marigolds will not bloom in soggy soil, and may develop a fatal disease known as root rot.
Water – Keep marigolds moist the first few days after planting. Once they are established, water them deeply once per week. Water at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry. Avoid overwatering to prevent root rot and other moisture-related diseases.
Marigold maintenance – Deadhead marigold plants regularly to trigger continued blooming until fall. Marigolds will not bloom but, instead, will go to seed early if they “think” their job is done for the season.
Pests – Most pests aren’t attracted to marigolds, but spider mites may be a problem, especially in dry, dusty conditions. Additionally, a stressed or unhealthy marigold plant may be bothered by aphids. Proper care and regular application of insecticidal soap spray should take care of both pests.
Why heat-tolerant marigolds are perfect for Texas gardens
If you’re searching for the perfect flower for North Texas, you don’t need wizardry skills. Cheerful, hearty marigolds are heat-tolerant and easy to grow in poor soil, plus they produce beautiful blooms.
Marigolds are easy-care, hardy annuals. They produce cream to deep maroon flowers from late spring through fall for floral arrangements. Here are some of the more popular varieties.
Marigold ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’ (All-America Selections)
Tall Aztec marigolds
‘Sunset Giant’ is an heirloom blend of tall marigolds in orange, gold and lemon yellow. Blossoms can be 5 inches across on stems nearing 3 feet tall. This mixture is a reliable performer in many gardens. Plant in the back of your garden bed to take advantage of their height.
‘Snowball Hybrid’ is a nearly pure white marigold with 3-inch hemispherical flowers on 2-foot stems. Place this heavy bloomer next to bright-colored zinnias or salvias for color contrast. ‘Snowball Hybrid’ is also a good cutting marigold.
‘Moonsong Deep Orange’ produce huge, double flowers that are constant bloomers during the growing season. Stems grow about 15 inches tall with thick foliage to shade the roots. ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’ also attracts butterflies.
‘Moonstruck Yellow’ produces a bright yellow pom-pom flower that withstands heat and humidity. The 5-inch-wide blossoms make quite an impact growing on stems only a foot tall. ‘Moonstruck Yellow’ will continue to bloom into fall. It is said to be deer-resistant.
Marigold ‘Super Hero Spry’ (All-America Selections)
Smaller French marigolds
‘Super Hero Spry’: New for 2018 and an All-America Selection winner, this petite marigold has dark maroon outer petals contrasting with inner golden petals. ‘Super Hero Spry’ grows about a foot tall and requires no deadheading (removal of spent blossoms) for continued flowering.
African Marigold ‘Inca II Orange’ (Ball Horticultural)
‘Inca II Hybrid’: Bred from the popular ‘Inca Hybrid’ mix, this trio of marigolds has flowers in yellow, gold and orange shades. Although only a foot high, ‘Inca II Hybrid’ marigolds produce flowers up to 4 inches wide.
French Marigold ‘Durango Flame’ (Ball Horticultural)
‘Durango’: If you enjoy strong colors in your garden, grow members of this petite marigold family. You can choose between ‘Durango Red’ in a deep maroon, ‘Durango Bolero’ in yellow with splashes of red, ‘Durango Flame’ with fiery markings, and several other Durango color combinations. All grow to about 10 inches high and attract bees. They are especially eye-catching in mass plantings.
‘Queen Sophia’: Expect large, showy blossoms that change colors as they mature. They begin as a dark bronze and gradually mature into russet petals fringed with gold. The plant grows about 10 inches high and 6 inches wide.
‘Red Metamorph’: This small marigold flower changes color with the seasonal change in daily temperatures. It begins in cool weather as a deep burgundy. As summer warms, the flower petals sport splashes of gold. Then when temperatures drop again in fall, the deep burgundy returns. ‘Red Metamorph’ can grow as much as 2 to 3 feet tall in ideal conditions.
African Marigold ‘Inca II Yellow’ (Tagetes erecta)(Ball Horticultural)
Although marigolds are commonly available growing in six-packs at garden nurseries, don’t be shy about growing them from seed. Sow marigold seed in a growing medium about six weeks before the last frost. Once the weather is sufficiently warm, you can also sow marigold seeds directly in the garden or a container.
Consult the label or seed packet to see how tall they will grow. Plant the taller Aztec varieties toward the back so they will provide a colorful background for other plants. The petite French marigolds are best kept in the front or in containers.
Marigolds grow best in full sun locations, something North Texas gardeners have in abundance, and prefer soil with good drainage. Soggy soil can cause root damage and death.
Marigolds will give you a steady supply of blooms through summer, even in poor soils. In fact, a garden bed that is overly rich with nutrients will encourage the marigolds to produce more leaves than flowers.
The taller Aztec marigolds can be at a disadvantage in North Texas, where the winds are sometimes strong enough to topple these flowers. Plant in areas with some protection from high winds or be prepared to stake them. Insert a stick about 6 inches from the plant’s center. Using garden twine, loosely bind the stems to the stick. This will provide the extra support needed during windy periods.
Marigolds are susceptible to sucking insects. Watch for signs of spider mites (fine webbing within the leaf area), aphids on new growth, or thrips in the flower heads. Applying insecticidal soap over several days should eradicate these pests.
Ann McCormick is a Fort Worth freelance writer.
Origin: Mexico and Central America
Culture: Marigold are a classic summer blooming annual in our region. Marigolds need full sun (6-8 hours a day), average to well-drained soil and regular watering to thrive.
Maintenance: Plant marigold seedlings about 6”-12” apart depending on variety, adding compost to the area if the ground is particularly dense or nutrient depleted.
Apply a favorite flower fertilizer as directed throughout spring and summer to keep Tagetes performing at their best.
As they mature, overhead watering can cause branch breakage, especially with taller and larger-bloomed varieties, so opt for watering at the base of plant instead. The flowering period can extend to frost if withered blooms are removed regularly.
Propagation: Tagetes seeds germinate quickly – often in less than a week in warm, moist soil. Once seedlings appear, these plants grow rapidly and are typically ready to bloom in 45 to 50 days.
Many gardeners start marigold seeds indoors in trays or pots of soil six to eight weeks before the last expected frost in their location, so they will be ready to bloom in late spring when moved outside.
Seedlings grow quickly and require little care – other than watering and occasional pinching to force dense compact foliage. In general, Tagetes adjust quickly to transplanting and resume growing almost immediately as long as the soil is moist.
Tagetes seeds can also be direct sown in the soil in the spring as soon as the danger of frost passes, but keep in mind they will not produce blooms for nearly eight weeks.
Many gardeners prefer to save their own seed from marigolds by allowing the final flush of blooms to ‘go to seed’ on the plant. It should be noted, however that hybrid seeds will not reproduce true to the parent plant and some may fail to germinate. Saving your own seed comes with some risk, but even hybrid seeds may produce interesting varieties in color, shape or size.
Pests and Disease: Tagetes are fairly pest and disease resistant, however young plants are susceptible to slugs, snails and botrytis.