MARIGOLDS HAVE MANY USES!
Marigolds could well be used in most gardens as both flower and vegetable. They come in many sizes and an array of colors. Some varieties are edible and add both color and taste when used as a condiment. Marigolds bloom all summer long lasting well into early fall. They thrive in hot weather as well as dry conditions. They even serve as a pest repellent both above ground and below ground. They do well in containers as well as in the ground and lastly, they make an excellent companion plant. What more could you ask from a plant?
While there are over 50 species the ones used most often are one of the following:
Signet marigolds are petite usually reaching no more than a foot in height. They like hot, dry sites and serve as an excellent edging plant.
French marigolds tend toward being smaller, bushier and compact. Often, they grow wider than tall. They range from 6 inches to 2 feet in heights. They also prefer more rain than other marigolds. This variety is one of the best tasting.
American or Mexican marigolds are the tallest of the species reaching 3 to 4 feet in height and producing large, full flowers. Originally native to Mexico and Central America they thrive in heat and draught like conditions.
English marigolds are native to Southern Europe. While not a true marigold they serve well as a companion plant. They offer bright flowers which are edible. The taste is tangy and on the peppery side so you often see them grown with herbs in a kitchen garden.
Marigolds thrive when planted in full sun. If planted in shady, cool, moist areas they tend to develop powdery mildew and won’t bloom well. While they will grow in most soil their preference is a fertile well drained soil.
Marigolds can be direct seeded in the garden after any danger of frost is past. They begin to germinate within a few days after seeding and will develop bloom in about 8 weeks. Unless you want a lot of plants, I suggest buying them in 4 packs at Gary’s Garden Center. We offer healthy plants that will be in bloom in a few days.
Marigolds have few pest problems but on occasion may be infected by spider mites or aphids. A gentle spray of water or insecticidal soap every other day for a couple of weeks should cure the problem.
Marigolds serve as an excellent companion plant. The French marigold repels nematodes (microscopic worms) that attack the roots of garden vegetables. Marigolds help to repel squirrels and rabbits as well as deer. They are one of the last plants to be consumed by varmints.
All in all, marigolds are attractive both in ground and in pots and should be given consideration when planning your garden.