Growing

Marigolds – Growing & Care

(Tagetes erecta) Marigolds are a delight and a joy and no one can change my mind on this.

A bumblebee perched atop a white marigold blossom.
Bees apparently love heirloom white marigolds.

Basics

Marigolds love the sun! Give them all the light you can, and don’t worry too much about the heat- mine survived in a cold frame spiking up to 100 degrees and only needed a good watering to perk them up after. Once out in the garden and established, they easily handle hot summer temperatures.

Marigolds aren’t picky flowers, growing away in almost any kind of soil- though as with many plants, they do best in well-draining, fertile soil. That being said, they still bloom perfectly well over here in our red clay, with the help of a little compost and fertilizer.

A bright orange-toned marigold bloom.

Watering

If growing marigolds in a pot/container, water deep when the soil is dry 2″ deep at the base of the plant. Plants in containers will need more frequent watering than those planted in the ground. Established outdoor plants usually have their needs met by the rain- however, in dry spells, try to make sure they get a good watering at least once every 7-10 days. The frequency can fluctuate depending on factors such as heat, soil type, and so on, so keep an eye on your plants for signs of over or under watering, and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Fertilizing

So, you’re going to find things that tell you not to fertilize your marigolds. That it promotes foliage growth over blooms because of too much nitrogen and so on. This is fine advice if your marigolds stay a pleasant, vivid green once planted. If they look nice and healthy and have a good color, they’re probably okay just how they are!

That being said, my marigolds, to date, have had three doses of diluted fish emulsion, a hefty scoop of compost, and a generous sprinkle of organic fertilizer fed to them over the course of their lives (fish emulsion and fertilizer applied only once the plants began to visibly struggle or start turning yellow/pale). This is what they look like now:

White marigolds and buds.

So yeah. I don’t really fret too much about having to fertilize my marigolds if they look like they need a boost.

Additional care

Marigolds are such forgiving, hardy flowers they really don’t need much additional care- with one exception.

Deadheading

Taking the time to remove withered, faded heads from your marigold plants is said to encourage blooming, with a side bonus of keeping your plants looking neater. Marigolds typically bloom right through the summer, even if you forget to deadhead them, so don’t worry too much if you find out you miss a couple and they went all the way to develop seed.

On that note: marigold seeds are exceptionally easy to collect and store. So if you want to absolutely drown in a sea of these ruffled flowers, you can easily multiply your supply just by letting a few plants go to seed. Check out how to do that HERE!

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