Growing Marigolds:
Growing Marigold Flowers, Marigold Plant & Marigold Herb Organically

Growing marigolds is an easy way to add warm tones to your garden, the marigold herb has several healing properties and the marigold plant is an excellent companion plant for your vegetable garden.

There are two main types of marigold: Calendula (also known as English marigolds or pot marigold) and Tagetes (also called American or French marigolds). Both produce pleasant flowers, Calendula varieties yield helpful herbs that can be used in cooking, teas and homeopathic medicines or lotions, and Tagetes are often used as companion plants when growing tomatoes and other vegetables as their presence helps to keep pests away.

Growing Marigolds: Plant Snapshot

Growing Marigolds
  • Marigold (Calendula or Tagetes)
  • Annual or perennial? Annuals
  • Recommended varieties for flowers:
    • Orange: Tagetes patula ‘Bonanza Bolero’, ‘Golden Gate’, ‘Queen Sophia’
    • Yellow: Calendula officinalis ‘Ball’s Gold’, ‘Bon Bon Yellow’ Tagetes erecta ‘French Vanilla’, Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Lulu’ Two color:
    • Red & yellow: Tagetes patula ‘Mr Majestic’
  • Recommended varieties for herbs:
    • Calendula
  • Recommended USDA Hardiness zones: All zones
  • Mature Height: 8 to 35 inches (20 to 89 cm) depending on variety
  • Mature Spread: 4 to 35 inches (10 to 89 cm) depending on variety
  • Sun Requirements: full sun
  • Blooming season: late spring to early fall
  • Cold tolerance (annuals only): Half-Hardy - can tolerate cold, wet, damp weather but can be damaged or killed by frost.
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Planting Marigolds, Transplanting and/or Root Division

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Sow marigold seeds in spring either directly into the soil or into modules for planting out later. Once they begin to grow, thin out so that seedlings are at least 6 inches (15cm) apart.

Keep young plants consistently moist.

It’s not possible to grow marigold from cuttings, but existing plants will always supply you with seeds for next year.

Snapshot: Planting Marigold Plant

  • Germination soil temperature: 70 degrees F (20 C)
  • Distance between plants: about 10 inches (25 cm)
  • Planting depth: 1 inch (2.5 cm)
  • Days to germination: 5 days
  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 6 to 7.5
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Marigold Plant Care

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Standard flower watering guidelines apply.

Marigolds do not usually need supports, especially if the plants are kept tidy.

Continuous deadheading will give you a really long season of flowers. Let the final fall flowers dry out to collect seeds for next year’s plants.

Snapshot: Marigold Plant Care

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Harvesting Marigold Herb /Cutting Marigold Flowers

Choose plants with fully open flowers to use as cut flowers. Cut stems in the early evening, choosing lengths that are longer than needed for your final arrangement.

Remove all the leaves that would be submerged in water. Plunge stems straight into a bucket filled with water to transport from your garden to the indoors. Before transferring to your arrangement, make a fresh diagonal towards the bottom of the stem.

If you plan to use calendula flowers when cooking, petals can be added to soups, cookies, cakes, puddings and teas. They will add a lovely golden glow. Modern herbalists also claim that they have an anti-inflammatory effect for the digestive system.

Dried marigolds can also be used to make a tea. Choose flowers that are fully open and pick flower heads when the weather has been dry for at least a couple of days. Position them as a single layer on a tray to dry and put them in a shady, airy, warm place to dry out. It typically takes between 10 and 20 days for them to completely dry out.

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Marigold Pests & Diseases

Make sure your marigold plants do not become overcrowded (thin them out to maintain the spacing recommended above) as this can result in molds and fungus. Remove damaged leaves and plants if necessary and destroy.

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Marigold Plant (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Earwigs
  • Foliage-feeding caterpillars
  • Leafminers
  • Snails and slugs
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips
  • Whiteflies

Diseases

  • Aster yellows
  • Crown gall
  • Gray mold
  • Leaf spots
  • Root, crown and stem rot
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Viruses
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