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 – 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 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

Welcome to Marvelous Marigolds!

Filed under: annuals, flower gardens, flowers, marigolds — Tags: , , , , — patoconnor @ 12:38 am

  Welcome to MARIGOLDS  

Since I now have my “Zany for Zinnias” blog up and running, I am starting my second flower blog.

I have some thirty-six other internet sites on prose, inspirational writings and medical conditions.  But, I needed a change and what a better idea could there be then starting some blogs on my favorite flowers and ideas on gardening.

Marigolds are native to the Western hemisphere and are as American as apple pie.  They are easy to grow, provide an abundant reward in beauty and in attracting butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden and are simply fantastic for cut flower bouquets. Infact, the more you cut them, the more flowers you have.  They also come in varieties small enough for beautiful borders or tall enough to provide incredible background color for other flowers.

So enjoy!


                               Pat O’Connor  


                                   This replaces our previous blog located on AOL, which closed down its blog operations.  


October 31, 2008

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