From their brass to copper and gold blooms, marigolds are well-loved for their ability to flower throughout the summer months.
As such, beginner home gardeners opt to grow this cheerful and easy-to-grow plant.
Add a touch of color to your autumn or summer garden by learning when to plant marigolds.
When to plant marigolds? The best time to seed marigolds is from late May to mid-June or when the ground reaches anywhere between 60- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit. Often, you will know it is time to plant marigolds when all the danger of frost has passed, and the ground is ready to be worked.
Choosing Marigold Seeds
The first step to growing marigolds is choosing the variety you wish to add to your garden.
Depending on their size and color, you will find four main types of marigolds: single, French, African, and triploid.
Also called Tagetes tenuifolia, single marigolds produce simple blooms that almost resemble daisies.
Compared to other types, these look more like wild flowers.
You will find French marigolds, or Tagetes patula, classified into two varieties: dwarf or large-flowered.
They are known for their gold, yellow, or orange blooms.
The dwarf variety rarely reaches 12 inches tall and produces smaller flowers.
In comparison, large-flowered French marigolds can grow as tall as 16 inches and produce two-inch flowers.
Like French marigolds, the African variety, also called Tagetes erecta or American marigolds, is classified into two: tall or large-flowered.
Tall African marigolds can grow as tall as three feet but produce smaller flowers.
In contrast, the large-flowered variety produces very large blossoms but is fairly short at one to two feet tall.
Also known as mule marigolds, these are a hybrid of the African and French varieties.
They grow large blossoms, are fairly tall, but don’t reproduce like the other types.
How To Plant Marigold Seeds
Before planting marigold seeds, decide if you want to grow them directly into your garden or start seeds indoors in a seed planter.
Choosing one over the other offers no real advantage, as marigolds are hardy plants that start and germinate quickly either way.
The only advantage to starting them indoors is that you can plant them as early as six to eight weeks before the last spring frost in your region.
This is because you wouldn’t have to worry about planting them in soil that is too cold.
To plant marigold seeds outdoors, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Prepare the soil for planting.
Marigolds will thrive in soil that drains well and is loamy rather than sandy.
You will also want to make sure that no weeds, rocks, or debris will hinder their growth.
To get rid of weeds, pull out the entire root section so that they don’t grow back.
Then, mix in well-aged manure or organic compost into the soil to provide your marigolds with enough nutrients to grow and thrive.
Step 2: Plant the seeds.
After making sure the ground is ready, wait for a particularly warm day to sow seeds.
Marigold seeds are sensitive to cool soil, and sowing them on a cold day might hinder their growth.
Using a shovel or trowel, dig eight to 10 inches deep into the ground to make it airy, turning the soil over and removing pebbles and rocks as you do.
Then, sow the seeds a few inches apart to give your marigolds enough room to grow.
Cover each seed with 1/4-inch of soil to allow the seedlings to break through it easily.
Step 3: Water the seeds regularly.
The seeds will need regular watering for them to sprout.
Carefully and gently sprinkle the entire growing area with water whenever you notice it has gone dry.
How To Water Marigold
Once the seeds have sprouted, you can begin watering marigolds less.
Depending on the climate in your area, this could mean watering them only once a week.
Here are a few expert tips to keep in mind:
Tip 1: Let the soil dry out in between.
To avoid overwatering, you will want to allow the ground to dry before watering again.
Basically, the goal is to keep the soil moist rather than wet.
Tip 2: Water more in high heat.
If you live in a particularly dry and hot region, give your marigolds more water.
This way, you can be sure they are getting the nutrients they need to grow and blossom.
Tip 3: Water at the base.
Avoid watering marigolds from above; instead, water at the ground level.
Keeping the stems, leaves, and blossoms dry will ensure that they don’t form powdery mildew.
How To Grow Marigold
Regular watering is not the only thing marigolds need to grow and thrive.
Here are more expert tips to growing marigolds:
Tip 1: Add mulch.
Especially when still young, marigolds will benefit from an added layer of mulch to keep the soil moist.
Mulch will also suppress the growth of weeds, ensuring your marigolds don’t compete for nutrients and growing space.
Tip 2: Fertilize once a month.
Marigolds will thrive when given a 20-10-20 fertilizer.
However, they also don’t like soil that is too rich, so instead of following the package instructions, you’ll want to dilute it more.
You will also want to stop giving them fertilizer once the growing season starts.
The reason behind this is that fertilizing will result in lush foliage rather than more blooms.
Tip 3: Pinch off the tops.
If you want your marigolds to become bushier, pinch off the tops.
Doing so will encourage more blooming and prevent the marigolds from becoming too leggy.
How Long Do Marigolds Take To Grow?
Marigolds will easily grow from seeds when grown in ideal conditions, given enough hydration, and exposed to full sun.
In about five to eight days after sowing, you can expect marigold seedlings to sprout from the soil.
Then, in just eight weeks, you will begin to see flowers forming and blooming.
You can enjoy the colors of sunshine come late spring if you plant marigolds in your garden.
These are a favorite among home gardeners for the beautiful blossoms they produce, inviting ladybugs, bees, and butterflies.
What’s more, you can plant them alongside your vegetable garden to protect it against pests and predators.