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Marigolds, scientifically known as Tagetes, are flowering plants from the Asteraceae family. They originate from Mexico and Guatemala despite having French and African varieties. Additionally, the genus consists of mostly herbaceous annuals and perennials.
Tagetes is considered the official genus of marigold flowers. Although, other plant genera use the name marigold for some of their species. Calendula officinalis is one example, and its common name is pot marigold.
What Does the Marigold Symbolize?
Marigold flowers meaning is vast. Despair, desiring wealth, gaining affection, remembrance, spiritual offerings, and thriving relationships are some of the many.
Most significantly, marigolds symbolize spiritual offerings and remembrance. That is due to their essentialism in Ofrendas during Mexican Día de Los Muertos . Celebrators believe that the bright colors and string fragrance attract the souls of those who have passed.
Are you thinking about planting marigolds? If so, we have all the information you need to learn how to care for the flowers!
Marigolds are easy to care for and are a fantastic choice for those new to gardening.
A well-draining loam-type soil is best for growing and planting marigolds. The mixture should have minimal clay to reduce the risk of compaction.
When planting marigolds in garden beds, ensure that the soil remains evenly moist for the first few weeks. You can follow a once-a-week watering schedule and let the soil slightly dry between watering after the few weeks. Roughly an inch of water every week is more than adequate.
If you want your marigold flowers to thrive, it is best to plant them where they can receive direct sun exposure, although they can survive in partial shade.
Humidity & Temperature
Dry and warm conditions are what marigolds love most. They will thrive in areas where the temperature does not drop below 40°F or 4.4°C.
When planting Tagetes, use an equal nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium fertilizer. You will not need to fertilize the flowers again once planted, as they are low-feeders.
Although growing from seed is one of the most common ways to produce new marigolds, stem cuttings are also an option. Also, propagating the plant through stem cuttings ensures it will resemble the mother plant.
To propagate through stem cuttings, use a blade to cut a 3″ long stem without any buds. Then remove some of the lower leaves and place them in a pot with well-draining and moistened soil. Water thoroughly once placed. Keep the cuttings away from direct light for two weeks. After two weeks, you can plant them in your garden beds.
Diseases & Pests
Tagete plants are susceptible to viral infections, including Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, Cucumber Mosaic Virus, and Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus. Chlorosis and spots or rings on foliage are signs of infection. Thrips, aphids, and white flies spread the conditions from plant to plant.
Aster Yellow, a disease caused by leafhoppers, is also a problem for marigolds. You may also find that root rot and other fungal conditions become an issue for your marigolds when too much water is present.
As for pests, spider mites are one of the most common pests found on marigolds, particularly in hot and dry climates.
Pruning is not essential for growing marigold flowers, but deadheading can help keep the flowers healthy and lush. To deadhead marigolds, remove rotten or dead blooms during the bloom season.
If you’re wondering, “when do marigolds bloom” we have the answer. It can depend on the species, but most bloom from late summer to late fall until a hard frost.
The best growing regions for Tagetes are hardiness zones two through eleven. They prefer the warmer months of these zones.
How to Plant & Grow Marigold
Below are the basics of planting and growing marigolds.
- When to plant
For optimal results, plant your marigolds after the last frost has passed in the spring.
- Where to plant
Marigolds thrive in warm and dry climates; hardiness zones two to eleven offer these conditions. You will want to choose a spot on your property or garden where the flowers can receive direct sun.
- Growing in Pots
Signet marigolds can flourish in pots and only need full sun, moisture, and adequate drainage.
Planting marigolds in or near your garden beds can offer many benefits.
The strong fragrance of the flowers makes them deer resistant. Because of that aspect, along with their ability to attract pollinators, they are great companion planters. We discuss companion planting further in this article.
It is a common belief that marigolds deter pests from themselves and other plants, but infallible evidence is lacking. Although, many gardeners have seen positive results from planting marigolds for pest-deterring purposes.
Despite the lack of overall evidence of the pest control abilities of marigolds, there is research and evidence that showcases their control of nematodes . A nematode is a microscopic parasitic worm that can damage and kill plants.
Within the Tagetes genus, there are two main varieties, including French and African Marigolds. Despite originating from Mexico, African marigolds encompass all American/Mexican cultivators.
Below we have discussed some of the most popular cultivators and their characteristics.
- French Marigold (Tagetes patula)
French cultivators tend to be more compact and only reach 10″ to 14″.
Little hero marigolds are annuals that have ferny stems with bright yellow pincushion-style flowers. This cultivator remains compact and only reaches around 10″ tall.
The bonanza marigold cultivator is an annual. It comes in many colors, including yellow with deep red tips, red with yellow tips, deep red with orange centers, and more. Also, its blooms are double-crested. Bonanzas become 10″ to 12″ tall.
Disco marigolds are single annual flowers that come in yellow, orange, and red, as well as yellow with red centers. A disco marigold plant reaches 10″ in height.
The safari marigold is an annual, and it has an anemone-style flower. It comes in a variety of colors, including various shades of red, oranges, yellows, and combinations. Safari marigolds are slightly taller than others and reach 14″ once mature.
- African Marigolds, American Marigolds, and Mexican Marigolds (Tagetes erecta)
This variety tends to be slightly taller and grows 1′ tall to 4′.
Jubilee marigold flowers range from pale yellow to orange in color and have small petals that collectively make a dense puff. They grow to 2′ tall.
The gold coin cultivator of marigolds is lemon yellow to deep orange and has double flowers. Gold coins can become as tall as 2′.
Crackerjack marigolds are annuals with large flowers in various shades of orange and yellow. This cultivator grows to 3′ tall.
Antigua marigolds are large double-flower annuals that come in shades of yellow and orange. The average Antigua grows 12″ to 16″.
Marigold Companion Planting
Although current research is conflicting on the effectiveness of marigolds as pest prevention, they are still a popular companion crop. Some researchers and gardeners have seen positive results from planting marigolds in their vegetable gardens.
Aside from their potential pest-fighting abilities, marigolds also make great companion plants because they attract pollinators and deter deer and rabbits. That is because of their strong fragrance, which can be off-putting to these ravenous animals.
Dia De Los Muertos / day of the dead: Marigolds. OLLU. (2022, September 19). Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://libguides.ollusa.edu/diadelosmuertos/marigolds
 Root-knot Nematodes: Biocontrol with Marigolds. NC Cooperative Extension. (2006, January). Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://carteret.ces.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Root-Knot-Nematodes-Biocontrol.pdf?fwd=no
Hoidal, N. (2021). Companion planting in Home Gardens. UMN Extension. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/companion-planting-home-gardens#sources-3056010