February 25, 2012


Marigolds are easy to grow and have a long flowering period. African marigolds have a upright growth and can reach a height of 30-40 inches, while French marigolds grow to only 8-16 inches. The scent is strong and somewhat unpleasant, and is effective in repelling many garden pests. African marigolds come in shades of yellow and orange, while French marigolds are often multicolored in shades of orange, yellow, mahogany and crimson. Both are suitable for massed plantings or pots. They are attractive as cut flowers if the scent isn’t a problem. Change the water in the vase frequently.

Marigolds can be grown in all but the coldest climates. Marigolds can be sown directly in the garden when danger of frost has passed, or they can be started indoors for earlier blooms. Space the plants 8-16 inches apart depending on the variety. Water deeply and regularly, especially in hot weather. Mulching between plants will help to conserve moisture. Sidedress monthly once plants are established. If given an early start, they will bloom throughout summer and autumn. Some will flower into winter in warmer areas. Marigolds are sometimes attacked by whiteflies and mites. Regular hosings will keep these pests from becoming established.

Type: annual

  • Propagation
  • Light
    full sun
  • Flower Color
    orange and yellow, also mahogany and crimson for French marigolds
  • Bloom Time
    summer and autumn, into winter for some varieties
  • Height
    8-16 inches for French; up to 40 inches for African
  • Width
    12 inches
  • Soil Requirements
    well drained
  • Zones
    all but the coldest areas
  • Uses
    massed displays, pots

Read more: Marigold | Garden Guides

October 31, 2008

Marigolds Make Way for Marijuana in Suburbia

Filed under: annuals, flower gardens, flowers, marigolds — Tags: , , , — patoconnor @ 1:21 pm

Marigolds Make Way for Marijuana in Suburbia                 

   Police Say ‘Grow Houses’ Have Proliferated Because They Offer Privacy and Move Growers Closer to Their Markets

By PATRIK JONSSONChristian Science Monitor

 SNELLVILLE, Ga., March 11, 2007 — The only permanent residents in the manicured, multigabled ranch east of Atlanta were illegal.

No, not that kind. They were little green creatures of the cannabis family — in short, marijuana plants.

Raids on 40 houses in 12 suburban Georgia counties over the past two weeks are one recent sign of what police say is a national trend in marijuana marketing: growing the illicit crop year-round indoors, using suburban homes as “grow-houses.”

Grow-houses — a spacious incarnation of the old grow-room — have proliferated like suburban-garden gnomes, as antidrug squads have chased growers off remote mountainsides and out of cornfields. In these basements, lights hum with thousands of watts across a sea of plants lodged in a hydroponic soup of nutrients. Upstairs, there’s usually no furniture, police say, except a cot, a chair and a rabbit-ear TV.

“It’s the most impressive thing I’ve seen in 20 years of law enforcement,” says Lt. Jody Thomas of the Fayette County Drug Taskforce.

Police say the ‘burbs give growers a degree of solace and safety, protected by suburbia’s premium on privacy and even a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prevents law officers from aiming heat-sensing equipment at homes unless they first obtain search warrants.

The trend also signals that “production is moving closer to consumption” — a path that leads straight to the suburbs, says Jon Gettman, editor of the Bulletin of Cannabis Reform in Lovettsville, Va., which promotes legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.

Alarm about suburban pot-growing is rising, and some worry that efforts to eradicate crops grown outdoors are driving the illicit industry to become more entrenched in middle-class America, a la Showtime’s hit TV show “Weeds,” about a suburban mom who sells pot.

“This is horrifying,” says Sue Rusche, president of National Families in Action, which works to help children and teens resist drug use.

In the early 1980s, 80 percent of marijuana on U.S. streets was imported, mostly from Mexico, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which works to stop arrests of marijuana smokers. Today, 40 percent of the supply is grown domestically — about half of it indoors under high-wattage lights that turn dank basements into sweltering hothouses.

While outdoor growing is risky and the results inconsistent, indoor growing, which began 30 years ago, has become a science, as amateur botanists produce potent varieties in controlled environments. Experts say it was only a matter of time before syndicates began applying basic black-market principles: higher potency and consistent yields equal more profit.

“It’s Adam Smith 101,” says Allen St. Pierre, executive director of NORML in Washington. “In a world of prohibition, if you can grow it in your little suburban home and cure it properly, it goes right to the top of the market and you see an incredible level of profit that all the other dealers don’t enjoy.”

Here’s how it worked, according to Fayette County’s Lieutenant Thomas: A wealthy buyer tied to a group of Cuban nationals in Miami bought homes in the endless suburbs of metro Atlanta. So as not to raise suspicion, growers illegally cut into public utilities such as water and electricity. Fences would go up in the backyards, and basement windows would be blacked over. “Baby sitters” would arrive late at night in pickup trucks, often talking on cellphones. Sometimes they would live in the homes on cots.

Harvested at 90-day intervals, the cured “buds” fetched as much as $6,000 a pound in New York City, where most of the suburban Atlanta crop was shipped. Police say a single house could yield more than $1 million in profit a year. Others say the figure is probably lower because authorities often overestimate per-plant yields.

Georgia has lagged behind in indoor busts, with just one last year. The U.S. government eradicates some 3.5 million marijuana plants each year, mostly outdoors, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Of some 800,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2005, 90,000 were for trafficking or growing, according to the FBI. The bureau does not further break out its numbers, but experts say growers by far make up the fewest number of arrests.

“We would never have found it without this tip from Florida,” says Thomas, referring to a similar series of busts of the same organization in the Miami area earlier this year. “It’s so extravagant, yet it has some amount of legitimacy. There’s often a car parked in the yard, but no traffic in and out, no buyers.”

Growers may have had several reasons for setting up shop in subdivisions like Summit Chase here in Snellville. A key one, though, is the privacy ethos. Darrell Lamb, a local high schooler, says the smell of pot would “slap me across the face” as he and some friends shot arrows in the nearby woods. But he never called the police.

Pat Edwards, who lives across the street, says privacy and anonymity trumped suspicion of the “unfriendly” men who tended the house at 2851 Creekwood Drive, but who evidently did not live there.

“Nobody really speaks to each other on this street, and that’s how we all like it,” she says. “Maybe these guys sensed that.”

Still, people talk. Pre-bust, the biggest gossip in the neighborhood was how the house at 2851 Creekwood fetched one of the highest sales prices in the subdivision, $219,000. Post-bust, speculation centered on whether it would affect property values. Closing up a yard sale across the street, Edwards struck a pragmatic note as she looks to leave the city for her childhood home in south Georgia.

“Maybe they want to buy my house,” she jokes. “I’ve got a big basement.”                            

Marigolds – Asteraceae/Compositae

Filed under: annuals, flower gardens, flowers, marigolds — Tags: , , , , — patoconnor @ 1:12 pm

                            Marigolds – Asteraceae/Compositae

Hundreds of varieties of marigold have been developed for the garden over the last few hundred years. These plants were brought from the new world to Europe in the 16th century and plant hybridizers have been busy with them ever since.

Marigolds are categorized into three groups: French, African and triploid marigolds. The French marigolds (Tagetes patula) are small bushy plants that are about 6-12 in (15-30 cm) in height. The flowers are up to 2 in (5 cm) across and are composed of a dense arrangement of “rays” that come in yellow, orange and a unique bronze color. The French marigolds bloom continuously until cut down by frost. The African marigolds (Tagetes erecta), also called American marigolds, are tall stout plants that grow to 3 ft (0.9 m) in height. They have larger blossoms and a shorter flowering period than their French cousins – remove faded flowers to encourage a second flush of bloom. The triploid marigolds are sterile hybrids obtained by crossing the French with the African species. These triploids are non-stop bloomers with impressive 3 in (7.6 cm) flower heads in clear warm colors of gold, yellow, red and russet. The leaves of all marigolds are dark green, deeply divided and have a somewhat unpleasant, aromatic fragrance.

Despite its common name, the African marigold (T. erecta) is native to Mexico and Central America. The French marigold (T. patula), is also from this region. Marigolds have naturalized in many other warm climate areas all over the world.

Marigolds are not fussy, they will adapt to most garden soils.
Light: Full sun.
Moisture: Water during periods of drought.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 – 11. Marigolds are tender tropical plants and are killed by frost. But as garden annuals they are grown, well, everywhere!
Propagation: The black needle-like seeds can be easily sown directly where they are to be grown – even by young kids. When seedlings are 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) high thin to 12 in (30 cm) apart. They can also be sown indoors and transplanted outdoors when danger of frost has passed.

There is no finer plant for use in beds and borders than the marigold. Common but colorful, inexpensive and easy to germinate and grow, there are varieties available in a wide range of heights, hues and flower forms. The marigold is a workhorse of the garden where they bloom non-stop for virtually the entire summer. The rugged marigolds are perfect for containers where they combine well with other plants (I like them with
blue sage and blue ageratum). Plant marigolds in the vegetable garden where they are said to discourage certain insect pests.

Fast growth, nonstop color, and resistance to disease and pests make marigolds superstars in the garden. These tough annuals are perfect “learner plants” for demonstrating plant care and the miracle of seed germination to young kids. Marigolds have the stamina and endurance to survive an entire life cycle under the care of a 5 year old! Marigold flower petals are fed to chickens which imparts a yellow hue to the meat and fat – this provides no nutritional benefits but is said to be preferred by consumers.
Another Tagetes species is commonly called Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida). It is used in the kitchen as a substitute for the more familiar French tarragon.  



Marigolds and Nematode Control

  Marigolds and Nematode Control     
Marigolds are one of the toughest summer annual flowers we can grow here in north central Arizona. They tolerate the heat and alkaline soils, but come in many shapes, colors, and heights. Shapes range from single to frilled to massive round balls. Colors include yellow, gold, orange, ivory, mahogany, and bicolor combinations. Heights range from 6 to 36 inches. With this kind of variability, you can hardly go wrong with marigolds.

The African marigold (Tagetes erecta) is the tallest variety and has the pom-pom type flowers. Now, there are also shorter varieties of African marigolds available. French marigolds (Tagetes patula) are shorter and bushier usually reaching a height of 6 to 12 inches. Signet or dwarf marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia) have small (1/2 inch) blooms and lacy, fragrant foliage. All marigolds do best in full sun and require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight. Prepare soil as you would for a vegetable crop by adding composted organic matter, a little phosphorus, and some soil sulfur if you have highly alkaline soil. Nitrogen should be applied sparingly. Too much nitrogen will produce lots of foliage and few flowers. They can be grown easily from seed or nursery transplants. Do not over water marigolds and allow the soil to dry somewhat between watering. Seeds can easily be collected and planted in the following year.

Marigolds are relatively pest free and many people interplant them in their vegetable gardens to deter insect pests. While the data is lacking as to whether marigolds actually deter insect pests, they definitely attract beneficial insects such as lacewings, ladybeetles, and parasitic wasps. A vegetable garden with some planted flowers is also more attractive and this makes it more enjoyable to work in.

Recent research indicates that marigolds contain compounds toxic to root knot and other plant-parasitic nematodes (microscopic round worms that damage plant roots). Root knot nematodes are not native to our area, but can be brought in with infected plant materials (see the July 7, 1999 Backyard Gardener for more information). The research showed that marigolds, especially certain varieties of French marigolds, significantly reduced root knot nematode populations the following year. Varieties of French marigolds shown to have nematocidal properties are: Bolero, Bonita Mixed, Goldie, Gypsy Sunshine, Petite, Petite Harmony, Petite Gold, Scarlet Sophie, Single Gold, and Tangerine.

If you would like to try using marigolds to manage root knot nematodes, here are some recommendations:

  • At the end of the growing season, remove as many roots as possible from the soil by pulling, plowing or tilling. Doing so will reduce the number of safe places where nematodes can survive during the winter.
  • In winter, till the soil several times to expose nematodes to the sun and weather. You may also want to solarize your soil (see the May 21, 2003 Backyard Gardener).
  • In spring, plant half of the garden with marigolds and half with root-knot-resistant vegetable cultivars (a few are available – look for the “N” on the label). Plantings in blocks or strips are easy to manage. Strips may comprise one or several rows of vegetables. You will need about 300 marigold plants per 100 sq. ft.
  • Use a marigold variety listed above.
  • Space marigold plants, or thin seedlings, so they are 7 inches apart.
  • Fertilize as needed or according to soil test recommendations. Nutrient imbalances can make nematode problems worse.
  • Keep weeds under control.
  • Before the first frost, remove as many seed-bearing flower heads as possible. Then, you will have seed for next year’s marigold patches, and fewer volunteer marigolds will sprout among your vegetables.
  • Till the remaining marigolds into the soil.
  • The following spring, repeat the process with this exception: plant marigolds where you planted vegetables the previous year and vice versa.

Enjoy those marigolds! The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension has publications and information on gardening and pest management. If you have other gardening questions, call the Master Gardener line in the Cottonwood office at 646-9113 ext. 14 or E-mail us at and be sure to include your address and phone number. Find past Backyard Gardener columns or submit column .

Marigolds and Nematode Management – June 16, 2004
Jeff Schalau, County Director, Agent, Agriculture & Natural Resources Arizona Cooperative Extension, Yavapai County

Arizona edu                             


Varieties of Marigolds

         Varieties of Marigolds   

A native of Mexico, marigolds have been grown in gardens throughout the world for hundreds of years. Today, they are one of the most popular bedding plants in the United States. Marigolds are easy to grow, bloom reliably all summer, and have few insect and disease problems. The marigold’s only shortcoming (for some people) is its pungent aroma. There are numerous marigold varieties available to home gardeners. Many of the commonly grown marigolds are varieties of African and French marigolds. Less known are the triploid hybrids and the signet marigolds. The African marigolds (Tagetes erecta)   have large, double, yellow-to-orange flowers from midsummer to frost. Flowers may measure up to 5 inches across. Plant height varies from 10 to 36 inches. African marigolds are excellent bedding plants. Tall varieties can be used as background plantings. Suggested African marigolds for Iowa include varieties in the Inca and Perfection series. (A series is a group of closely related varieties with uniform characteristics, such as height, spread, and flowering habit. The only characteristic that varies within a series is flower color.) African marigolds are also referred to as American marigolds.
The French marigolds (Tagetes patula)  are smaller, bushier plants with flowers up to 2 inches across. Flower colors are yellow, orange, and mahogany-red. Many varieties have bicolored flowers. Flower heads may be single or double. Plant height ranges from 6 to 18 inches. The French marigolds have a longer blooming season than the African marigolds. They generally bloom from spring until frost. The French marigolds also hold up better in rainy weather. French marigolds are ideal for edging flower beds and in mass plantings. They also do well in containers and window boxes. Queen Sophia and Golden Gate are excellent French marigold varieties. Varieties in the Boy, Early Spice, Hero, Janie, and Safari series also perform well in Iowa.

The triploid hybrids  are crosses between the tall, vigorous African marigolds and the compact, free-flowering French marigolds. Triploid hybrid marigolds are unable to set seed. As a result, plants bloom repeatedly through the summer, even in hot weather. One problem with the triploids is their low seed germination rate. Average germination is around 50 percent. Since the triploid hybrids are unable to produce viable seed, they also know as mule marigolds.

Signet marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia)  are quite different from most marigolds. Signet marigold plants are bushy with fine, lacy foliage. The small, single flowers literally cover the plants in summer. Flower colors range from yellow to orange. They are also edible. The flowers of signet marigolds have a spicy tarragon flavor. The foliage has a pleasant lemon fragrance. Signet marigolds are excellent plants for edging beds and in window boxes. The varieties Golden Gem and Lemon Gem do well in Iowa.

There are basically three planting options available to home gardeners when planting marigolds. Marigold seed can be sown directly outdoors when the danger of frost is past or started indoors 6 weeks prior to the last frost date. Marigolds are also available as bedding plants at garden centers.

Planting site requirements for marigolds are full sun and a well-drained soil. Plant spacing varies from 6 to 9 inches for the French marigolds and up to 18 inches for the taller African marigold varieties.

Summer care of marigolds is simple. Water occasionally during dry weather and pinch off faded flowers to encourage additional bloom. Tall African marigolds may require staking to prevent the plants from falling over or lodging during storms.

While marigolds are seldom bothered by insects and diseases, they are not problem free. Spider mites can devastate marigolds in hot, dry weather. Grasshoppers can also cause considerable damage. Aster yellows is an occasionally disease problem. In a related matter, some gardeners plant marigolds in their vegetable gardens to repel harmful insects. While the marigolds are an attractive addition to the garden, research studies have concluded they aren’t effective in reducing insect damage on vegetable crops.

Horticulture & Garden Pest News


Varieties of Marigolds

Bradford C. Bearce

WVU Professor — Horticulture

Family: Compositae
Scientific Name: Tagetes sp.
Origin: South America-Argentina and New Mexico
Classification: Annual, herb
Use: Bedding plants, pot culture, edging, cut flowers
Height: 6 inches to 4 feet
Spread: 6 inches to 3 feet
Hardiness: Tender
Stems (Bark): Herbaceous
Flowers: Orange, yellow, mixed, red, cream and maroon; rounded or flat heads
Fruit: Ineffective
Foliage: Lacy, feather-like, finely dissected, opposite, often pungent odor
Texture: Medium to fine
Growth Rate: Rapid
Form: Rounded
Soil Requirements: Good garden loam, moist, well drained
Maintenance: Keep soil moist but not wet. Remove spent flower heads for continuous flowering
Situation: Sun; flowering delayed if planted in shady areas
Insects & Diseases: Spider mites, spittle bug, aster yellows, wilt
Remarks: Propagate from seed sown indoors in March, April, or direct seed outdoors in May after danger of frost has passed.


Marigolds require approximately 45 to 50 days to flower after seeding, therefore seeding indoors should be done in late March or early April. The plants should be ready for planting outdoors after the danger of frost has passed,about May 15.

  1. Seed may be planted in seedbeds, coldframes, flats, clay pots, or peat pots.
  2. Pulverize the soil. Place the seed on the surface or in furrows and cover with 1/4 inch of perlite or vermiculite.
  3. Keep the soil moist and warm. The seed will germinate within a few days.
  4. When true leaves appear, the individual plants may be transplanted into individual 3-inch containers. Shade for a few days until the plants become established.
  5. Give the plants full sun.
  6. Plants will be ready to plant in the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Marigolds may be seeded directly into the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Follow the directions above as to preparing soil and seed depth. Seedlings may be thinned if necessary.

Other Varieties: There are many varieties of Marigolds and new ones are introduced each year. Various references group the species and varieties in many different ways, such as by size, (large, semi-dwarf, dwarf) or flower shape, such as chrysanthemums or pompon types, peony types and singles. However, for simplification, here, Marigolds are divided into four basic species: African Marigolds–Tagetes erecta; French Marigolds–Tagetes patula; Triploids–a hybrid (Tagetes erecta x Tagetes patula); Single Marigolds–Tagetes tenuifolia (signata) pumila. Within each of these species there are many hybrids producing variations in color and size.

African Marigolds–Tagetes erecta

Large flowered “African” or “Aztec” Marigolds— Plants are compact, erect, 12 to 14 inches tall; flowers to 3 1/2 inches across, blooms two to three weeks earlier than tall varieties, most flowers are doubles with flat or ball-like flower heads; colors range from primrose yellow through pumpkin-orange, no bicolors; used primarily as dividers; do not need to be staked as do tall varieties.

Tall–“African” or “Aztec” Marigolds–Large flowers in late summer to fall (short days determine flowering time), orange or yellow; plants attain heights of 3 feet or more and spread 3 feet; space plants 1 foot apart in groups of threes; should be staked or enclosed with wire up to 2 feet in height; used primarily for cutting.

French Marigolds Tagetes patula

Large-flowered “French” Marigolds–Used primarily as a divider or bedding plant; medium height (12 to 16 inches and same width) spacing 8 to 12 inches; flowers are large, up to 2 inches in diameter; varieties include flowers which are doubled, large single daisy-like or supercrested.

Dwarf “French” Marigolds–Small plant up to 12 inches; flowers small (1 to 1½ inches across) in colors of yellow, gold or orange; continuous flowering from early summer to late fall, blooms may be crested, tufted, button or single types; some varieties are bicolored, yellow marked with brownish-red; two plantings may be needed as flowering becomes sparse during hot summer “dog days” from planting date.

Triploids (Tagetes erecta x Tagetes patula) hybrid

Triploids– a cross between “French” and “African” Marigolds; flowers about 2½ inches across and flower well during hot weather; flowers may be bicolored.

Single Marigolds –  Tagetes tenuifolia (signata) pumila Single marigolds- simple, daisy-like blooms and long stems; some varieties of merit are Cinnabar, Burgundy, Ripples and Chippendale Daisy.                


Marigold Diseases

      Marigold Diseases     

Wilt and Stem Rot (Phytophthora cryptogea) :

The fungus affects the collar portions of the plants. In nursery the infection results in damping-off and is aggravated by soil moisture. In the field the infected plants show wilting. French marigold and dwarf varieties are less susceptible whereas the African types are highly susceptible to the disease.

Control: The disease may be controlled by soil treatment with Captan, Mancozeb, Metalaxyl and Fosetyl-Al.

Collar Rot (Phytophthora sp.; Pythium sp.) :

The symptoms are in the form of black lesions developed on the main stem. Rotting at the collar regions causes death of the plant. Soil sterilization and controlled watering help in reducing the disease incidence.

Leaf Spot and Blight (Alternaria, Cercospora and Septoria sp.) :

Brown necrotic spots develop on leaves, which get enlarged at the later stage of infection. The entire foliage gets damaged and results in poor vegetative growth. Spraying of fungicides is helpful in controlling the disease.

Powdery Mildew (Oidium sp.; Leveillula taurica) :

The symptoms are in the form of whitish powdery growth on the aerial parts of the plant.

Control: Spraying Sulfex (3g/litre of water) can effectively control the disease.

Flower Bud Rot (Alternaria dianthi) :

The fungus infects the young flower buds. The infected buds shrivel and become dark brown in colour. The pathogen also infects leaves causing blight. The infection is visible in the form of brown necrotic spots on margins and tips of older leaves.

Control: Spraying of Mancozeb (2g/litre of water) effectively controls the flower bud and leaf infections.

Damping Off (Pythium sp.) :

The disease is most prevalent at the seedling stage. Necrotic spots and rings develop on the young seedlings causing collapse of the seedlings. Considerable loss is sustained if seedlings are not properly looked after.

Control: Soil sterilization by Formalin @ 2% before sowing and spraying of Dithane Z-78 @ 2g/ litre of water are effective in controlling the disease.


Marigolds Bold and Beautiful

  Marigolds Bold and Beautiful 

Hey y’all, my name is Rita Jacinto and I love to garden. I love and respect plants, and deeply appreciate all the gifts they bring to the world. The more I learn about various plants and their habits, uses and lore the deeper my appreciation grows. I write in hopes of touching those chords in others. I hope you enjoy this article and hope that it inspires you to go out and plant a few seeds or take a walk around your neighborhood and appreciate the plants in your part of the world.

It seems that each year I plant fewer and fewer vegetables and more and more flowers and herbs. This is a real change for me. Just a couple years ago I considered flower gardening frivolous. We should be growing our own organic food, becoming more self sufficient, blah, blah, blah. Flowers take up space where vegetables could be planted, can’t eat flowers so what good are they. I was very into things having to be utilitarian, if it can’t be eaten or used as a medicine then it was a waste of valuable space. I can be ridiculous like that at times. Fortunately I don’t usually hold to such extreme positions. Now the humblest of flowers can excite me.

Marigolds are pretty humble and have become one of my favorite flowers. Ordinary, common, boring old Marigolds? Yes, yes, yes, let me tell you about these bold beauties from Brazil. Actually they are native to the Western Hemisphere’s subtropical regions, from Arizona down to South America. Portuguese explorers discovered them in the wilds of Brazil in the early 16th century. Apparently they were so impressed by the plant that they carried seed to India, where it adapted well becoming so beloved by the Hindus that they made it one of their sacred herbs. That’s right, it is actually an herb, although certain “authorities” dispute this definition. Mean while in Africa the plant adapted so well it became known as the African Marigold, Tagetes erecta. Today these are sometimes called Aztec Marigolds. They are the same plant as the African Marigold, T. erecta. Later a dwarf variety showed up in fancy Parisian gardens, voila, the French Marigold, Tagetes patula is born. Today we can choose cultivars from the tall T. erecta, or dwarf cultivars from T. patula. There are several other species available for cultivation. One is Tagetes tenuifolia a signet type called Gem Marigold. It is only about 6 inches tall but it has really pretty finely cut foliage and is loaded with tiny gold or yellow blooms all season long. Also available is a wild perennial from Arizona called Tagetes lemonii, one of the most fragrant of the Tagetes. I’m working my way through all of them but the one that caught my interest first is the big guy, T. erecta.

My interest in Marigolds was kindled several years ago while reading about the ‘Day of the Dead’ in Mexico. I was fascinated to learn that they use the petals of marigolds to decorate the graves of departed loved ones. I had a visual image of these bold and vibrant colors strewn over the graves of the dead and wondered why something so visually beautiful was used to represent something so sad.

In Mexico the wild Marigolds, T. erecta, grow three to four feet high and just as wide. They have flowers that are two to four inches across and are very fragrant. The plant has been used for centuries as a beverage, dye, and flavoring as well as medicinally. The rich yellow or orange color is accentuated by splashes of red. It was a sacred herb of the Aztecs who used the flowers to decorate their shrines and temples. Upon arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century the flower took on a whole new significance. It became a living symbol of the Spanish massacre of the Aztec people. The red blood of the Aztecs splashed over the yellow gold the Spanish stole. Marigolds are sometimes called, flor de muerto, flower of death, and represent pain and grief.

It is from Europe that we get the common name of Marigold with an entirely different meaning. The Europeans were familiar with an orange flowered plant native to its southern regions known as Calendula or Calendula officianalis. The bright gold flower was called Mary’s Gold in honor of the Virgin Mary. Because of the flower’s heavenly association it was thought to be a bringer of good luck and to ward off evil and witchery. Mary’s Gold, shortened to Marigold, referred to the Calendula plant also known as Pot Marigold. Our South American native must have seemed similar enough to their Calendula that both plants were referred to as Marigolds. Most of the European folklore about Marigolds is actually about Calendulas, which is too bad because it is especially rich, but that’s for another article.

All of this was interesting and I was willing to try a few Marigolds in the garden but it wasn’t until I discovered the seed of a wild Mexican variety that I really got excited. Yes, I get excited by plants, I admit it and I’m proud of it too. Anyway, this wild variety is called Cempoalxochitl, (pronounced Zem-pul-so-chee-tul), I found it in the Seeds of Change catalog, Their web site is very cool, full of info and they even have a free e-newsletter. What got me was that this variety of T. erecta grows 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, or so they said in the catalog.

So I ordered it, started the seeds (very easy to start) and in a couple months I had plants that proved the catalog description true. All of this even though the weather we had last summer was cool and wet. These were really great plants that flowered profusely, had few pests, no disease and a wonderful fresh fragrance. They tell me some people don’t like the smell of Marigolds. I can hardly believe it. The best part is that this variety is open pollinated, which means you can save seed and expect them to produce plants much like their parents. The seed I saved had a high germination rate and it looks like I’ll have enough to plant a hedge of Marigolds this year.

This year the catalog listed several more cultivars of T. erecta that I just had to try. I’ll let you know how they do. So far I’m impressed, they were some of the first flowers I started way back in February. Temperatures in my greenhouse dipped into the high 30’s on most of those nights and these tough plants germinated anyway. In fact they had some of the highest germination rates of all seeds I started. In other words, they are very easy to start and do well in our cool early spring, which means they will do well on the other end of the season when we are trying to keep as much color in the garden as possible for as long as possible.

Hopefully I’ve piqued your interest. If not here are a few more bits of info that just might do the trick. For the utilitarians among us this just might be the info that changes your mind. I mentioned earlier that Marigolds are actually herbs that have been used medicinally for various complaints. It is said to strengthen the heart when taken as a tea. Lutein is a compound that is naturally extracted from T. erecta. It acts as an anti-oxidant that protects the eye from free radical damage. In India the Marigold is known as Gendu the leaves of which are used to heal conjunctivitis, cuts and scratches and bruises. The fresh leaf is ground up, the juice is squeezed and applied a few drops at a time to the affected part. The flowers are also used as an offering to the Lord Vishnu.

Marigolds have a long history of everyday use as beverages and condiments and are famous for the quality and color of the dye they produce. The rich yellow/gold color has been used to enhance the color of cheese, the yolks of eggs and the color of chicken skin. Yep, that’s right that nice yellow color on the chicken skin is because the little guys are eating Marigold petals in their chow. Try it sometime to flavor your rice, it imparts a slightly spicy, pungent flavor or toss a few plucked petals in your salad for a little pizzazz. Any of you who have had problems with soil nematodes may already know that by heavily planting Marigolds in the area you can rid yourself of nematodes forever.

See what I mean, you thought they were just Marigolds. Common, boring even, yet look how much more there is to them. All you have to do is look a little closer and a whole new wonderfully magical world reveals itself. Its just waiting for us to pay attention.                  

When Can I Plant Marigolds?

        When Can I Plant Marigolds?

The central rule of thumb is to plant after the last day of expected frost in your area.  Remember, marigolds are annuals and are frost sensitive.  A few days too early can mean the difference between a beautiful flower garden….and a disaster. 

Planting Zone Map
Learn what planting zone you live in:
Knowing your planting zone can be very useful when your are planning your garden and flower bed areas.

When you order plants online or through a catalog it is very useful for you to know what will have the best success in your zone. 

Most plants are marked with a zone number. Use this map to know what plants will do best in your zone.





Using the Zone Map is really very simple. Find your geographic location on the map. Observe the corresponding color to that location. Look at the map key. That number designates the zone in which you live. 
You should select products that can survive in your zone. Simply read the item description and you will find a either a zone number or a range of zones. The lower of the the two zone numbers tells you the lowest recommended zone in which that plant can survive. Sometimes, an item will thrive outside that zone area. Remember this is only a guide.
For more information visit:

Indicator Plant Examples Listed by Zone

Plant Hardiness Zones, Details

From: Plant Power

NOTE: The dates below are for the Northern Hemisphere
(Adjust appropriately for Southern Hemisphere)
Zone 1
Average dates Last Frost = 1 Jun / 30 Jun
Average dates First Frost = 1 Jul / 31 Jul Note: Vulnerable to frost 365 days per year

Zone 2
Average dates Last Frost = 1 May / 31 May
Average dates First Frost = 1 Aug / 31 Aug

Zone 3
Average dates Last Frost = 1 May / 31 May
Average dates First Frost = 1 Sep / 30 Sep

Zone 4
Average dates Last Frost = 1 May / 30 May
Average dates First Frost = 1 Sep / 30 Sep

Zone 5
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Mar / 30 Apr
Average dates First Frost = 30 Sep / 30 Oct

Zone 6
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Mar / 30 Apr
Average dates First Frost = 30 Sep / 30 Oct

Zone 7
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Mar / 30 Apr
Average dates First Frost = 30 Sep / 30Oct

Zone 8
Average dates Last Frost = 28 Feb / 30 Mar
Average dates First Frost = 30 Oct / 30 Nov

Zone 9
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Jan / 28 Feb
Average dates First Frost = 30 Nov / 30 Dec 


Zone 10
Average dates Last Frost = 30 Jan or before
Average dates First Frost = 30 Nov / 30 Dec

Zone 11
Free of Frost throughout the year.

Best of the Home

Marigold Seed Catalogs

               Flower Seed Catalogs            


      Below is a list of various seed catalogs that I have used over the years.  This is only a partial list and if you browse you’ll find many many more.  It is just that I am familiar with and have done business with these companies in the past.
Burpee’s Marigold Selections
The Burpee company was founded in Philadelphia in 1876 by an 18 year-old with a passion for plants and animals and a mother willing to lend him $1000 dollars of “seed money” to get started in business. Within 25 years he had developed the largest, most progressive seed company in America. By 1915 we were mailing a million catalogues a year to America’s gardeners.

Since 1879, Harris Seeds has been providing gardeners the very best in flower seeds, vegetable seeds, plants and supplies.  Today, we continue that dedication with our easy to use website.  Welcome!


Welcome to our new e-commerce web site. Stokes Seeds is a distributor of flower, vegetable, herb and perennial seeds as well as many garden accessories to customers throughout North America. What makes Stokes Seeds unique is our focus on quality garden seed and extensive growing information. Unlike most other seed companies we sell to both home gardeners and commercial growers. This gives us the advantage that no order is too small or too big.               


Providing Gardeners with Vegetable Seeds, Perennial Seeds, Flower Seeds, & Seed Starters for the American Garden Since 1868.

Offering catalog and online ordering. From Yankton, South Dakota

Thompson and Morgan Seed Catalog            

The history of horticulture in the UK is bench-marked with names that have become famous. Among the companies that have founded the country’s seed industry a few names still survive, although their independence has been surrendered. Yet, as one of the oldest firms in the business, Thompson & Morgan retains both its identity and its reputation for innovation and quality. It all began in a small garden behind a baker’s shop in Tavern Street, Ipswich, tended by William Thompson, the baker’s son. He started work by helping his father but, stricken with ill-health, he began studying botany and passionately cultivated the garden at the back of the shop in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. He was soon to acquire the name of the ‘baker botanist’. From the back garden he moved to a nursery at the edge of Ipswich and then to an even larger one. Eventually there were three Thompson nurseries in the town and William began to publish a magazine called ‘The English Flower Garden’.

JOHNNY’S SEEDS                  

Visit our farm at Foss Hill Road in Albion, Maine, a farm community 10 miles east of Waterville, Maine.
Our trial fields are open to guests for self-guided tours from July through September.
Welcome to New England Seed Co./Carolina Seeds online store!






Where Can I Buy Marigolds?

  Where Can I Buy Marigolds? 

That will depend on whether or not you want to plant seeds or seedlings and the varieties you want to plant.

For such varieties as the regular African, French and/or dwarf very often the seed stores (and even dollar stores) will have racks of seed packets 8 or 10 for $1.00.  Now I have used these inexpensive packets for over thirty years with excellent results.

The fancier varieties such as will require you switch up to some of the better known brand names.

You can also order through various seed catalogs which I will cover in  another page.  I have ordered seeds and plants from these catalogs for over thirty years with excellent success and have received great customer service as well.


You may choose to purchase seedlings, instead of planting seeds.  Usually these are available through any good flower/home and garden center.  You can buy some packets of six flowers or entire flats with dozens of seedlings in them.

Here are some tips on purchasing seedlings:

When starting a new garden, or adding to an existing one,
it is absolutely vital to choose only the healthiest plants from the best sources. While many gardeners prefer the control that can only be had by growing plants directly from seed, others prefer to buy seedlings or seed packs from a reputable nursery or garden center.

When buying seedlings to transplant,
it is essential that the gardener choose only the healthiest and most robust plants. If you are new to the gardening world, be sure to seek advice from more experienced gardeners with regards to the best places to buy healthy plants. Knowing where to buy, and what to look for once you get there, will give you a great start toward gardening success.

Be sure to look over the nursery or garden center
carefully and make an assessment of the health of the plants for sale. Do they have a robust look, with lush foliage and strong stems? Are they free of insects and disease? Be sure to look for any signs of disease, including spots on the leaves, holes, or scarring on the branches or stems.

Each flower variety you buy should come with instructions
for how to best transplant and take care of the plant. If such instructions are not provided, be sure to ask the staff at the nursery for recommendations. Following the recommendations and tailoring your care to the needs of each individual plant is the best way to succeed.



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