Marigold flowers remain to be vegetable farmers' favorite flowers. Aside from the cheerful and bright blooms, marigolds are also a natural pest repellant. If you want to give these perfect summer blooms a try, read on to learn how to grow them successfully.
Brighten Up Your Garden With Marigold Flowers
What Marigold (Tagetes) Varieties Should You Plant
There are over 50 species of marigold flowers you can choose from for your Summer garden. But they mostly fall under these categories:
- African marigold (Tagetes erectus)
Larger than most varieties, the African marigold produces abundant vibrant flowers. Contrary to its name, this species of marigold originates from Mexico where they associate the flowers to the day of the dead.
Moreover, this edible variety comes in yellow and orange with a tint of red. The plant is also good at eliminating root nematodes.
- French marigold (Tagetes patula)
This variety is known to be more aromatic and used as a pest repellant. The plant, though dwarf in nature, grows a double flower head from its purple stem.
Because of its natural dazzling colors, the flowers are used as natural dyes. This, and the fact that this variety is used as spice in Georgian cuisines, makes French marigold flowers stand out.
- Signet marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia)
Flat and daisy-like flowers set this marigold variety apart from the others. The flowers are processed and turned into potent mosquito repellants in tropical regions.
The signet marigolds also offer the most flavor, whether eaten fresh in salads or dried as a spice.
- Mexican marigold (Tagetes lucida)
Known by many names such as Spanish tarragon, sweet-scented marigold, mint marigold, and others, the tagetes lucida is becoming popular for its medicinal benefits.
Where to Plant Marigold Flowers
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Marigolds are meant for full sunshine gardening. Therefore, select a site with at least 6-8 hours of sun exposure. Most varieties are even drought-tolerant.
Though marigolds can grow in almost any type of soil, well-draining and sandy loams will do your flowers good. Additionally, to promote healthy blooms, make sure your soil is not exploding with nutrients.
How to Plant Marigold Seeds
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Marigolds are easy to grow from seeds, especially the French varieties. Start by moistening the soil. Sow the seeds 1 inch deep. The seeds will germinate quickly under hot weather, so make sure to only start sowing seeds weeks after the last frost.
If you choose to start with nursery-grown seedlings, water your plant thoroughly before and after transplanting. This is to make sure the young plants store water within.
Another option is to start from stem cuttings. Select stems that haven't started flowering yet. Cut the stem using a clean shear. Remove most of the leaves, except 2-3 on top.
Dip the bottom end of the stem into rooting hormones. Stick the cutting 2-inch deep into the soil. Water thoroughly.
You can also choose to cover the new plants in plastic bags to retain humidity.
How to Care for Marigold Flowers
Marigolds are easy to grow and maintain. However, there's always something you can do to create the perfect condition for your plant. Here are some of the tips you should remember:
- Once the marigold plants are established, start pinching off the tops. This will encourage bushier growth and an abundant bloom after.
- Water deep works better than light regular water. At all times, let the soil dry in between waterings.
- Like most plants, water directly onto the soil and avoid wetting the leaves especially in the afternoon. This will spare you from the dread of powdery mildews.
- Mulching around the plant will help your plant retain moisture and deter the growth of weeds.
- Too much fertilizer will only promote lush foliage, but will hinder the development of flowers.
- Though pests are not much of a problem for marigolds, you can spray the leaves with insecticidal soap when aphids and spider mites appear.
How to Deadhead Marigold Flowers
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What is Deadheading? Deadheading is the process of removing spent or dried flowers from plants.
This is done not just for aesthetic purposes. The process also improves the ability to bloom better. To deadhead marigolds, just pinch off the wilted flower's stem down to the first set of leaves.
When your plant is not performing enough, you can always cut back the plant to encourage new growth.
Watch this video by Eliz MatLin on how to grow marigold in pots:
No matter which variety you choose, marigolds are always gonna end up bringing your garden amazing color and vigor. And more than that, these hardy flowers offer more benefits when you plant them to support your vegetable garden.
Lastly, the marigolds are a good addition to your kitchen recipes. So what are you waiting for? Let's start planting!
How do you plan to grow marigold this Summer? Let us know in the comments section below.
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