Scientific Name: Tagetes spp.
Plant Type: Annual flower
Light: Partial to full sun.
Water: Let marigold plants dry out slightly between waterings. Water these plants thoroughly every third day or so.
Propagation: Use seeds from old marigold plants. You can simply just take the dead flowerheads off of the plant and throw them in another plant container. (Note: Marigold hybrids do not produce seeds.) But remember that pinching off dying flowers before they produce seeds (called “deadheading”) promotes more plant growth.
Misc. Info: Marigold flowers are so common that some gardeners actually stay away from them. But if you have trouble growing flowers or haven’t grown flowers in your balcony container garden before, try marigold flowers at least once!
Growing and Care of Marigold :
Plant or transplant young marigold plants outdoors after all danger of frost is past and the soil has warmed and dried out a bit. French and signet types can be planted anytime through midsummer but the tall American marigolds are best planted right away in the spring because they are slower to mature. Plant on an overcast day to protect the marigold seedlings from the stress of hot sun while they cope with transplant shock.
Prepare the soil by digging down about 6 inches to loosen and aerate it. Remove stones and debris and mix in some granular fertilizer. A 5-10-5 works fine. Set each marigold plant in a hole the size of its rootball and firm soil gently over the roots for support. Then thoroughly water each plant. Plant marigolds in containers in a soilless potting medium. Either mix in slow-acting granular fertilizer at planting time or plan to water in diluted liquid fertilizer periodically.
MARIGOLD GROWING TIPS
A one or two inch layer of any organic material spread over the bare soil between marigold plants will discourage weeds and help keep soil moist. This mulch is most helpful when plants are young before their foliage grows bushy and shades the soil. Water marigold plants when they are first planted and during period of high heat and drought.
While it is not essential, snipping off the dead blossoms of American type marigolds improves their appearance and stimulates new blooming. Also, as sturdy as they are, American types sometimes need staking to withstand strong winds and heavy rains, or disturbance from foot traffic. Choose unobtrusive small stakes, about 2 feet long and insert them in the soil next to the stem of each plant deeply enough so that they are a bit shorter than the full height of the mature marigold plants. Loop soft fabric or plastic ties around the stake, then the stem and tie to the stake.
INSECTS & DISEASES
Marigolds have few disease and pest problems if they are properly grown. Occasionally soggy soil or pest insects will induce one of several fungal infections, signaled by discolored spots, a coating of mildew or wilting on the foliage. The best defense is to keep down weeds and to plant marigold where drainage is good. American marigolds tend to be more susceptible than other types to problems.
Mites and aphids sometimes infest marigolds. Usually a spray of water or an insecticidal soap, repeated every other day for a week or two, will solve the problem.
MARIGOLD HARVEST TIPS
Marigolds make excellent cut flowers for both live and dried arrangements. For live bouquets, cut newly opened blooms early in the morning and immediately set the stems in a jar of warm water. Later, strip the stems of lower leaves that might foul the water and arrange the flowers in a vase with fresh water. Marigolds will last up to a week- even longer if you add some floral preservative to the vase water.
Marigolds are great for dried arrangements and floral crafts. Cut perfect blossoms at their peak; remove foliage from the stems; and hang upside down in a warm, dry place such as an attic until dry. The flowers will shrink a bit, but their color will remain strong. Insert wire into the marigold stems if needed for support in an arrangement.