There is no other plant more suitable for use in beds and borders than the marigold. Common garden flower but colorful, inexpensive and so easy to germinate and grow, marigolds varieties are available in a wide range of heights, hues and flower forms. The marigold have a long flowering period, they bloom entire summer and autumn until they are killed by frost. The rugged marigolds are perfect for containers where they combine well with other plants.
The leaves of all marigolds are dark green, deeply divided and have a somewhat unpleasant, aromatic fragrance. Their strong scent is effective in repelling many garden pests, so plant marigolds in the vegetable garden also not just as a flower in your flower garden. They are attractive as cut flowers too, if the scent is not a problem. Change the water in the vase frequently.
Marigolds have naturalized in many warm climate areas all over the world. 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 many plant hybrids have appeared since than.
Marigolds are propagated by their black needle-like seeds, that can be easily sown directly in the garden in place where they are to be grown. When seedlings are 2.5-5 cm high thin them to 30 cm apart. They can also be sown indoors and transplanted outdoors when danger of frost has passed.
Sow marigolds seeds indoors in spring, 6-8 weeks before last frost date, or if you want later blooms, you can sow them after the last frost date. Sow the seeds directly in the ground, covering them with about 0.5 cm of soil. Alternatively, you can buy healthy, green plants with no signs of wilting or disease.
Plant marigold seedlings, those you’ve started yourself or those that you have purchased, outside in spring after last frost date. They will need a place in full sun and a rich, well-drained soil. Water them during periods of drought. Position seedlings 20 to 45 cm apart, depending on the variety. Pinch off any blooms that have appeared on the plants at planting time to redirect the plants energy to their roots for long-term health and better flowering.
Mulch to prevent weeds and conserve moisture. Fertilize marigolds every 4-6 weeks, if you want, but you can just work in plenty of compost at planting time instead. If you will grow them in pots, use a loam-based potting compost and during the growing season water them freely and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer. Pinch or snap off dead-heads to prolong flowering. Pull up and discard plants in autumn after frost blackens the leaves.