If you’re ready for a big, bold flower that’s a cinch to grow, then you’re ready to learn how to grow marigolds. These drought-resistant, pest-resistant, cold-resistant lookers will keep your garden stacked with bright blooms spring through fall, so try growing marigolds throughout your garden this year.
Using Seeds and Seedlings
With just a few tips and hints, growing marigolds (Tagetes) is actually quite easy. Before you start planting your seeds though, remember the following:
- If you’re planting marigold seeds indoors, sow them 4-6 weeks before the last frost.
- If you’re planting marigold seeds outdoors, sow them after the last frost.
- Plant African marigolds 12-24 inches apart (because they grow tall—up to 3 feet) and French and Signet marigolds 6-10 inches apart (because they’re quite a bit smaller—only up to about 18 inches).
- Plant in fertile to average, well-drained soil.
Cultivation and Care for Marigolds
While most varieties are wonderfully forgiving and drought-resistant, note the following while growing marigolds to keep their blooms healthy, hearty and around through the fall:
- Don’t water flowers from above (doing so can rot the blossoms).
- Dead head and pinch off spent blooms (as this encourages continuous blooming).
- Plant marigolds in partial shade in hot climates (as overly hot, humid weather can slow flowering).
Why Grow Marigolds?
If you’ve asked yourself “Why should I grow marigolds?,” let me tell you: Plant marigolds in your garden because they’re gorgeous, industrious, easy to grow and care for, and good pest deterrents. In fact, French marigolds are even toxic to root-knot nematodes. How incredible is that? And, if that’s not enough for you, they’re tasty too. (Okay, only some varieties are tasty … but still, you’re curious now, aren’t you?)
And the next time someone tells you they don’t grow marigolds because marigolds are so common, remind them that butterflies are common too (there are over 20,000 species of them, as a matter of fact) but that doesn’t make butterflies any less beautiful. Rarity isn’t the yardstick by which beauty is measured—pleasure is. So, grow marigolds all over your garden and tell those snobs to piss off.
For more information on how to keep a natural, healthy garden, visit the Gardening Guides page. There you’ll find resources for growing all sorts of herbs, flowers and vegetables.