How to Grow and Care for Marigolds

How to Grow and Care for Marigolds

How to Grow and Care for Marigolds

Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

In This Article

Preparation Of The SiteWhen To Plant Marigolds
Seed Growing IndoorsPlanting Marigolds Outdoor
Marigold CarePruning & Deadheading
Propagating MarigoldsPotting And Repotting
Varieties Of MarigoldPests And Diseases

One of the most popular and dependable types of bedding flowers is the marigold (Tagetes spp.). These brightly coloured blooms with fern-like leaves are genuine annuals, meaning they complete their life cycles in a single growing season. The size and structure of the blooms vary greatly, from small single-petal flowers of signet marigolds to gigantic 4-inch double-petal blossoms of African marigolds, but all reveal their affiliation in the aster family with flowers that have a distinctive daisy-like look. Marigolds are normally planted from nursery starts or seeds in the spring when the earth has warmed up. When planted from seeds, these fast-growing plants will reach flowering maturity in a matter of months. Start the seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost for early outdoor flowers.

Preparation of the Site

Marigolds are tolerant of most environmental factors and are not picky. Marigolds often do not require additional fertiliser and do well in rich, well-drained soil with lots of sunlight. Before planting, the garden should be thoroughly amended with old manure or organic compost to considerably enhance the health of the flowers. Keep the soil wet but not drenched.

When to Plant Marigolds

Young French and Signet marigolds may be planted anytime from spring to mid-summer, but because tall African marigolds take longer to grow and bloom, it is better to plant them straight away in the spring (after any risk of frost has gone).

Once the earth is warm in the spring, sow seeds straight into the garden. Although seeds may be started indoors, there isn’t really any advantage because they germinate so quickly outside. African marigolds are an exception, which are best purchased as young plants or grown indoors 4–6 weeks before to your last frost date.

Marigolds grow in about a week in warm conditions, and plants usually flower in about 8 weeks.

Marigold Seed Growing Indoors

Starting marigolds from seed is quite simple. Marigold seeds can be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before to your final date of frost for the earliest flowers, but they sprout swiftly outside when planted directly into garden soil. In fact, you could discover that the marigolds from the previous year self-seed so easily that planting fresh ones is unnecessary.

If you decide to grow marigolds indoors, plant the seeds on the top of a tray or in tiny pots filled with regular, commercial potting soil that has been moderately watered. Vermiculite should be used to lightly coat the seeds before the tray or pot is wrapped in plastic. Place the container somewhere warm, but without light until the seeds have germination and sprouted.

Remove the plastic when the seeds begin to sprout (typically within four or five days) and relocate the container to an area that receives four or five hours of bright light each day (artificial light is fine). Maintain potting soil that is moist but not soggy. It’s recommended to water from below, letting the tray or pot absorb water from a tray, to prevent damping-off fungus. If all threat of frost has passed, the seedlings are prepared for transplanting outside when they start producing new leaves aggressively.

Planting Marigolds Outdoor

Marigolds are simple to raise from seed since they sprout within a few days and bloom after around 8 weeks. After the last chance of frost has passed and the earth has warmed up, sow seeds immediately outside. After planting, space seeds 1 inch apart and give them plenty of water. Once the seeds have grown, they should be thinned according to the following guidelines: African cultivars should be planted 10 to 12 inches apart, while French or Signet varieties should be spaced 8 to 10 inches apart.

Pulling out the seedlings might disrupt the roots of the seedlings left behind, so use tiny garden shears or landscape scissors to remove them. Seedlings can be transplanted when they are 2 inches tall.

Dig and loosen the dirt approximately 6 inches deep before planting marigolds that you bought from a nursery, making sure the hole is only slightly bigger than the rootball. Backfill the area with soil, then thoroughly compact it. Thoroughly water. Mulch between the plants in the amount of 1 to 2 inches can help keep the soil wet and deter weed growth.

Marigold Care

For the best flowers and healthiest plants, put your marigolds in full sunlight. The plants will become stiff and produce fewer flowers in shady environments. Marigolds don’t make a fuss. As long as the soil is not too acidic, any excellent garden soil (along with a little water during dry times) should keep them happy. Maintain a soil pH range between 6.0 and 7.0 that is neutral. Furthermore, they may survive in a leaner environment and don’t necessarily need a soil that is rich in organic matter. Make sure your marigold seeds or seedlings receive consistent water when you initially plant them. Don’t keep them in dry soil for more than a few days.

In all of their growth zones, which range from 2 to 11, marigolds are heat-loving plants that do well in summer. In locations with hot summers, these true annuals may become a little less active during the height of summer, but as the temperature cools in late summer and fall, the blossoming resumes. Marigolds can withstand a wide range of humidity, but in wet or humid summers, they may develop powdery mildew. This issue may be mitigated by planting in full sunlight and leaving space for ventilation. Unless your soil is really poor, your marigolds won’t require any more fertiliser. The greatest thing you can do to keep them in bloom is to deadhead them on a regular basis.

Pruning & Deadheading

They don’t require a lot of pruning because they are quite compact plants. Usually, marigold flowers endure for a few weeks. It is advisable to take them off once they start to fade and dry out. Although it is not necessary, deadheading these faded flowers will prolong the flowering period of your plant. It’s easy and simple to deadhead marigolds. Simply cut the stalk a few inches below the flower head to remove the wasted bloom. Using hand pruners or even by hand, this may be accomplished.

Propagating Marigolds

Marigolds are so easily reproduced from seed that vegetative propagation is rarely used. However, if you wish to propagate by rooted stem cuttings, it is extremely simple:

Trim 4-inch segments of flexible green stem, ideally without flowers or flower buds, with pruners. Remove all of the leaves from the cutting’s base. Remove all flowers and flower buds. Plant the cutting approximately 2 inches deep in a small pot or tray filled with a permeable seed-starter mix or a combination of potting soil, sand, and perlite. Tamp the potting mix firmly around the cutting, wet it, and then place the pot in a loosely wrapped plastic bag to establish an informal greenhouse. Place the pot somewhere warm and sunny, but out of direct sunlight. Lightly wet the potting mix every four or five days. When the cuttings have rooted (which normally takes a few weeks), transfer them into bigger pots filled with regular commercial potting soil. Allow them to establish themselves before putting them in the garden.

Potting and Repotting

Marigolds are great for outdoor containers. Use any type of container, even clay pots, with regular commercial potting soil. No repotting is required because the plant will be discarded after the growth season is through.

Different Varieties of Marigold Flowers

African Marigolds (Tagetes erecta), sometimes known as American Marigolds or Mexican Merigolds, may reach heights of 4 feet. Because they may grow so tall, they frequently require modest staking for support in high winds. This cultivar, which has vivid orange or yellow petals and double blossoms, should also be planted in early spring.

The French Marigold (Tagetes patula) is smaller and bushier than the African Marigold. This cultivar can reach heights of up to 2 feet. French marigolds are more tolerant of damp circumstances and are better suited for rainy weather. ‘Durango’ cultivars come in a variety of yellow, red, and orange colours. ‘Naughty Marietta’ has solitary yellow petals with mahogany spots.

Signet Marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia) are little marigolds that thrive in dry, hot conditions. Unlike African merigolds, signet marigolds seldom grow taller than 12 inches. The signets are edible marigolds. They have lacy leaves and small, solitary, daisy-like blooms, which distinguishes them from bedding marigolds. They are available in yellow and orange, with cultivar names including ‘Orange Gem,’ ‘Tangerine Gem,’ ‘Red Gem,’ and ‘Lemon Gem’. The ‘Gem’ Series signets have single-flowered flowers and fern-like leaves. There have lately been other hybrids on the market with a broader colour palette, such as cream, burgundy, and bi-colors, although the flavour is not necessarily comparable to that of the ‘Gem’ kinds.

Pot marigolds (Calendula officinalis), sometimes known as English marigolds, are native to southern Europe. This variant is not a real marigold, although it does belong to the Asteraceae family. Pot marigolds are therapeutic plants that are often planted. These plants are easily identified by their vivid edible blossoms, which are tart and moderately peppery.

Common Plant Pests and Diseases

The majority of harmful insects and illnesses do not affect marigolds, although occasionally certain issues can arise:

Especially on young plants, snails and slugs may consume leaves. This is most likely the issue if you see ragged holes in the leaves. Keep the soil clean of leaf litter, and if necessary, use slug and snail traps.

Although aphids can occasionally be a nuisance, horticultural soaps or oils can effectively manage them.

The fungal disease known as powdery mildew affects marigolds often. Fungal spores that splash up from the ground or between afflicted plants are typically to blame for the white residue that develops on leaves. Although the illness is unpleasant, it seldom leads to death. By allowing adequate airflow between plants and watering the soil rather than spraying from above, you may prevent it.

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