Have you planted Marigolds (Tagetes) in your vegetable gardens? They not only have bright yellow, orange, and red colors, they attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, hoverflies, and parasitic mini-wasps. Just remember to plant them in full sun.
Marigolds and tomatoes are good garden companions because they like similar growing conditions. French Marigolds repel whiteflies and kill bad nematodes. Those whiteflies drive me crazy in the summer, do you get them where you live?
Marigolds For Vegetable Gardens
If you have a garden, perhaps you have never thought of the glory that marigolds can bring your garden. Not only are they beautiful, but they actually have a lot of perks. Depending on the variety, Marigolds can reach up to 6 to 48 inches in height. One of my favorite parts if Marigolds is that they have anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Yes, you can even eat Marigolds! A lot of times, they are eaten in salads and even desserts.
How to Plant Marigolds
Marigolds are perfect garden companions for basil, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, kale, potatoes, squash, and tomatoes. They enhance the growth of each one. My favorite ones are the short squatty ones because they do not get too tall and take over my garden.
This flower is native to Mexico and Central America. They are robust, free-branching, almost totally trouble-free plants, growing 6-inches to 6-feet tall. They have flowers from pale yellow to gold and also brownish maroon.
They are finely divided, ferny, almost spindly, and usually strong scented. Annuals will bloom from early summer to frost if you pick or clip off the old flowers. In the desert they bloom best from fall until frost.
They are easy to grow from seeds, although you can pick up some annuals from your local garden shops. The seeds will sprout in just a few days in warm soil, so be ready to watch for them. Don’t you love seeing the first seeds sprout?
I sure do! You can also plant them indoors to transplant when the soil is warm enough. This is where I buy seeds: SeedsNow
In general, most seeds planted after the last frost will begin to flower after about 45 days. Most varieties are self-seeding, meaning they will spread year after year. Have you noticed finding a few sprouts here and there? It’s because of self-seeding.
When to Plant Marigolds
You can plant your Marigold seeds directly outdoors in the spring after the danger of frost has passed in your neighborhood. You can start your seeds indoors in potting soil about eight weeks before the last frost. The seeds will take about four to 15 days to germinate in the soil if the temperatures are between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moisten the soil you plan to put the seeds in whether it’s inside or outside. Sow the seeds about one inch apart and no deeper than one inch deep. After they sprout and are still small, thin the seedlings. Space them about 10-12 inches apart.
Marigolds require at least six hours each day of full sun once fully grown. W
Another awesome tip about these flowers is that they will attract bees. Yay! We need bees to pollinate our vegetable plants, and even our flowers.
Some people think these are Marigolds, they are not. They are called Pot Marigolds and they are edible. But they are often confused with the genus of the Marigold. They are in the same family, but are not interchangeable.
They are not botanically related. This flower is used to make medicine and salves for sore muscles and muscle spasms. It’s also used for fevers, pain, and treating poorly healing open wounds.
Your Planting Hardiness Zone
You can put your zip code in this website and see what time you should plant. USDA Hardiness Zone
Keep in mind that understanding the hardiness of your zone is so important. You don’t want to waste your time planting something that may not last. Some plants have the ability to survive in hardier temps than others. This does take some research and trial and error to know and understand what works best in your garden.
Nature didn’t give us just one variety of Marigolds, they gave us several. Reading through this list, you may find a variety that works perfect for your garden. Keep in mind that different varieties may work better in different zones. Doing a little research before you plant can help you make the best of your garden.
Annual, all zones. Most have double flowers, they range from dwarf Guys and Dolls 12-14 inches tall, Galore, Lady, and Perfection 16-20 inches tall, Trinity Mix and Nugget 10-12 inches high, Sweet Cream has creamy white flowers on 16-inch stems. The climax will grow 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall.
Annual, all zones. This one forms a mound of bright green, finely divided foliage to 6-inches high and wide. It’s great when used as a border or for edging foliage effect. You will see tiny white flowers which are very attractive.
Copper Canyon Daisy
Shrubbery perennial, Zones 8-10, 12-24. Height 3-6 feet tall and wide. The flowers are finely divided with leaves that are 2-4 inches long. They smell like a blend of marigolds, mint, and lemon. Tends to be short lived, moderate to regular water.
Perennial in Zones 8-10, 12-24 often grown as an annual in all zones. They grow to 3 feet tall and wide. The green leaves have a scent of tarragon and licorice. The yellow flowers are unimpressive being only 1/2 inch wide. Moderate to regular water.
These are actually the very best Marigolds for your garden. Annual, all zones. These grow from 6 inches to 1-1/2 feet tall. Blossoms may be fully double or single. Excellent for edging are these dwarf varieties, like Janie (8 inches), Bonanza (10 inches), and Hero (10-12 inches). Most flowers are 2 inches wide.
Annual, all zones. This one is the least grown with 1-inch wide flowers, and single blooms. They typically grow about 10-12 inches tall.
How Do Marigolds Help Our Garden?
- The French Marigolds are the best because for your garden because they will grow in a wide variety of soils in full sun. French Marigolds Seeds from Amazon
- They produce chemicals to ward off those harmful Nematodes (tiny organisms, roundworms, that carry viruses and diseases)
- Marigolds attract bees and pollinators to help our vegetables produce
- They attract butterflies to your garden
- Help repel pests with their secretion of limonene, like whiteflies
- Those darn slugs love Marigolds, you may lose some but you can save your vegetables from those pesky slugs, by watching for them
Fun Facts About Marigolds
After you’ve learned all this fun information about Marigolds, you may have a hard time believing that there is even more GOOD stuff to learn. However, there is! Here are several more fun facts to learn about these amazing flowers.
- There are dyes extracted from Marigolds and then they are used in the food industry!
- Although, there is no scientific proof, some gardeners plant Marigolds in their gardens to keep pests at bay.
- The smell of Marigolds is very SPICY! Keep that in mind the next time you take a big whiff of the flower.
- When Marigolds are fed to chickens, they are getting a high diet of lutein. This means the Lutein can be in the eggs! Lutein is known to help with the treatment of macular degeneration.
- Fun ways to use Marigold flowers include: as a colorful tea, rabbit repellent, saffron substitute, chicken feed, or as a Japenese beetle trap.
I hope you will try planting Marigolds in your garden this year. Are you excited to get your hands in the earth as soon as it’s warm enough to work the soil? I just planted some seeds and I’m waiting for the first sprouts and then I will plant the seedlings when weather permits. Thanks for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Depositphotos_8638857_m-2015 Marigolds Tagetes, Depositphotos_12648238_m-2015 Vegetable Garden, Depositphotos_211678182_m-2015Marigold Seedlings