Marigolds are a useful garden annual. They come in a variety of heights and flower shapes, and bloom in a range of cheerful bright colors that fill the garden with shades of orange, yellows, and reds. Marigolds are an excellent plant for beginning gardeners due to their no-fuss growing requirements. They thrive in full sun locations, whether planted in the landscape or in containers to be enjoyed on a patio or deck. Marigolds have a long history of being used in culinary and medicinal applications. They attract many beneficial pollinators, but some varieties have a more pungent scent that has pest-repellent properties. Marigolds are deer and rabbit resistant.
Plant Marigolds in a full sun location where they will receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily. The soil should be moderately fertile and can be amended with garden compost to slowly feed the plants important nutrients. Note the mature width of the variety you are planting, and space plants adequately for proper air circulation.
Marigolds have moderate water needs. Keep the soil evenly moist in the heat of the summer, although Marigolds can tolerate a bit of drought. Water plants deeply about once a week, and allow the soil to slightly dry out in between waterings. Check the soil moisture often throughout the hottest summer months, as you may need to water more frequently during dry spells. When watering, aim for the root zone, and avoid wetting the foliage. Make sure not to over-water these plants or let them sit in soggy soil.
Fertilize Marigolds once a month with a well-balanced organic fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 during the growing season. You can use a slow-release or water-soluble formula, making sure to follow the package directions.
Remove spent blossoms by deadheading, which will encourage new blossoms and new stems. You can pinch back foliage if it becomes leggy to promote a fuller, balanced form.
Caring For Marigold in Pots
Marigolds can easily be grown in pots. Make sure the soil is well draining; a commercial potting mix of your choice will work just fine. You can amend the soil with garden compost to add valuable nutrients. Be sure the container has adequate drainage holes. Avoid over-watering Marigolds because they are susceptible to root rot if the soil remains wet. Deadhead Marigolds regularly during the growing season to keep the plant looking tidy and to encourage bloom. Fertilize potted plants monthly during the growing season, using a balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10.
Winter Care for Marigold
Marigolds are annuals and will not survive cold winter weather. They should be removed from the garden after the first frost and either discarded or composted. Remember to save seeds from the dried flowers if you would like to grow them again, and plant the seeds in spring.