No annual is more cheerful or easier to grow than the marigold. These flowers are the spendthrifts among annuals, bringing a wealth of gold, copper, and brass into our summer and autumn gardens. The flower’s popularity probably derives in part from its ability to bloom brightly all summer long.
Marigolds have daisy- or carnation-like flowerheads that are produced singly or in clusters. Although there are some 50 species, most marigolds we see in the garden are one of the following:
- Tagetes erecta (aka African marigolds, American marigolds, or Mexican marigolds): This species is the tallest and most upright marigold, reaching 3 to 4 feet in height and producing large, full flowers. They’re native to Mexico and Central America and will thrive even under drought-like conditions.
- Tagetes patula(aka French marigolds): French marigolds tend to be smaller, bushier, and more compact than T. erecta. They are often wider than they are tall. Elegant and eye-catching, they have relatively demure flowers and usually grow from 6 inches to 2 feet tall. They are better suited to rainier conditions than the other Tagetes species.
- Tagetes tenuifolia(aka signet marigolds): These petite marigolds do well in hot, dry sites and make for a wonderful edging plant. They rarely reach more than a foot in height.
- Calendula officinalis (aka pot marigolds or English marigolds): A native of southern Europe, this “marigold” is actually not a true marigold, but is an attractive companion plant nonetheless. Its bright flowers are edible—with a tangy, peppery taste—so it is often grown alongside herbs in kitchen gardens.
Check out our video to learn more about the benefits and uses of Calendula:
Marigolds have been stereotyped, but they offer tremendous variety. Both the American and French marigolds are generally aromatic, too.
Learn how to plant, grow, and care for marigold flowers with this garden guide. Including everything from planting marigold seeds to deadheading flowers.
Caring For Marigolds In Pots – Tips On Growing Marigolds In Containers
Marigolds are easygoing plants that bloom reliably, even in direct sunlight, punishing heat and poor to average soil. Although they are beautiful in the ground, growing marigolds in containers is a surefire way to enjoy this delightful plant. Read on to learn how to grow marigolds in containers.
Potted Marigold Plants
Any type of marigold can be grown in containers, but keep in mind that some types, such as African marigolds, can reach heights of up to 3 feet (1 m.) and may be too large for standard containers.
Most gardeners like to plant smaller container grown marigolds. For example, French marigolds are small, bushy plants that reach heights of only 6 to 18 inches (15-20 cm.), depending on the variety. They are available in orange, yellow, mahogany or bicolor, and in double or single blooms.
Signet marigolds are another good choice for potted marigold plants. The bushy plants have attractive, lacy foliage and orange, yellow or rusty red blooms.
Caring for Marigolds in Pots
Don’t crowd potted marigold plants, as healthy marigolds require plenty of air circulation. One marigold is enough for a 6-inch (15 cm.) pot, but you can grow two or three in a 12-inch (30 cm.) pot, and five or more small plants in a large container with a diameter of 18 inches (45 cm.).
Be sure the container has a drainage hole in the bottom. Use a good quality, lightweight potting mix. A handful of sand, perlite or vermiculite improves drainage.
Place the pot where the marigold is exposed to at least six hours of sunlight.
Water the marigold when the top 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm.) of soil is dry. Water deeply, then let the soil dry before watering again. Never allow the soil to remain soggy, as wet conditions invite root rot and other moisture-related diseases.
Pinch the tips of newly planted marigolds once or twice to encourage bushy plants. Deadhead the plants regularly to trigger new blooms.
Apply a water-soluble fertilizer every month, but don’t over-fertilize. Too much fertilizer or overly rich soil can produce weak plants with few blooms.
Marigolds are easygoing plants that bloom reliably, even in direct sunlight, punishing heat and poor to average soil. Although they are beautiful in the ground, growing marigolds in containers is a surefire way to enjoy this delightful plant. Learn more here.