Ever wonder why all of your neighbors plant marigolds? What do they know that you don’t? You might be surprised. If you don’t grow marigolds, you’re definitely missing out. Here are just a few reasons to sow this industrious annual in your garden.
Reasons to Grow Marigolds
The number 1 reason most people grow marigolds (Tagetes) is probably because they’re incredibly easy to grow and care for (not to mention cheap). Grown from seed or store-bought seedlings, these hardy flowers are as forgiving (and affordable) as they are pretty. For a drought-resistant, pest-resistant and fairly cold-resistant annual, place marigolds throughout your flower or vegetable garden (then sit back and watch them grow with or without you).
2. Because Marigolds Keep Pests Away
Speaking of vegetable gardens, ever wonder why so many people plant marigolds in their vegetable gardens? It’s because these incredible flowers have a pungent aroma that keeps pests and (rumor has it) bunnies and deer at bay. Often used as the first line of defense around a garden perimeter, their low-maintenance blooms add a cheery splash of color and life to new, spring gardens while protecting tender seedlings from little nibblers.
Plus, French marigolds have the added benefit of being toxic to root-knot nematodes. Grow them for a season and them plow them under (so that their roots are distributed throughout your soil), and you’ll kill or run off any root-knot nematodes lurking in your garden soil.
Did you know that some species of marigolds are edible? Plant marigold cultivars like Signet, Lemon Gem or Mexican marigold (also called Mexican tarragon and Texas tarragon) and you won’t just have a no-pest garden, you’ll have gorgeous, edible flowers that you can toss in salads, use to make vinaigrette, or pinch off and snack on. What better way to enjoy a firecracker garden aflame in reds, oranges and yellows than by snacking on the blooms as you stroll?
4. Because They Bloom Forever
Want to help bee populations survive? Grow marigolds and you’re practically guaranteed to see bees in your garden well into October. Because they’re hardy and fairly frost-resistant, these pest-resistant flowers bloom well into fall—adding color to dreary fall landscapes and giving nectar-hungry bumblebees someplace to sip and sit.
That’s right: Plant marigolds in your garden because they’re beautiful. Not just pretty, not just cute, but beautiful. I think a lot of people overlook how strikingly unique and lovely these prolific little dynamos are (probably because they’re also so affordable and abundant), and that’s a shame. With so many different bright, bold cultivars to choose from (many of which are hardy and easy to grow), it’s practically impossible to have a drab marigold garden. Paint your garden in deep crimsons, golds and creams for a spectacular display of Tagetes bravura.
For more information about growing other pest-resistant plants, or for just more information about gardening in general, visit my Gardening Guides page for lots of other plant, soil and pest control resources.