How To Grow Marigolds

Marigolds can be a valuable addition to your garden. We like to grow them every year around our tomatoes, surrounding garden beds, and along with in the front flower garden beds where they can add a bit of flare to the front of the house. Learning how to grow marigolds is easy and the payoff is well worth it when they can help you fight off garden pests like aphids and as well as making your entertainment spaces more bearable by repelling mosquitoes.

How to grow marigold from seed

While you can find plenty of marigolds available for planting at most local nurseries it is still much cheaper to start your marigolds from seed when you want to grow a lot of them in your home garden.

Marigold is a great annual flower for adding color to your garden beds, repelling unwanted insects, and attracting pollinators.

Starting marigolds from seed indoors

You can start marigolds from seed indoors six to eight weeks prior to the last frost to give them a head start on the summer season and when allowed to grow freely will self-seed for next year.

Marigolds sprout within a few days and begin blooming within 8 weeks. As the growing season progresses, marigolds will continue to bloom until the first frost.

Marigold seeds can be started indoors easily. Place your seeds in your growing medium and spray them with water daily to keep them moist but not soggy.

After your marigolds have formed true leaves, thin to one plant per container. After the last frost has passed, harden off before planting in the full sun to protect them. 

Direct sowing marigold seeds

As soon as the last frost has passed, you can direct sow your marigolds in your garden. To help give them an advantage till fresh compost into your garden bed before sowing your seeds. Marigolds thrive and flower more when not fertilized but starting with quality soil is a smart place to start.

Place 2-3 seeds per hole and just like with sprouting indoors after your marigolds have formed true leaves you should thin them to one plant every 6 to 10 inches.

How to care for marigold plants

Make sure you plant your marigolds in a well-draining, fertile soil. Clay-rich soil can stunt the growth of your marigolds, preventing them from reaching their full potential. Add fresh compost and other organic matter, such as old mulch, to your soil to improve its quality.

Marigolds do well even in fairly poor soil conditions and do not generally need fertilizer to grow. Although you can fertilize them to encourage large plants, it can leave you with fewer blooms, as this plant has a tendency to grow many flowers when neglected.

Fertilize if you are looking to fill in more space or skip the fertilizer if you are looking to have more beautiful blooms such as in your vegetable garden.

You can easily cover your space with marigolds if you water them well and make sure they get enough sunlight. You should water your plants at the base to avoid soaping the leaves and flowers, as this could lead to issues with powdery mildew and mold.

When your marigolds are mulched, they are able to trap in water and prevent weeds from taking hold, which allows them to grow and thrive.

Make sure you deadhead your marigolds to encourage them to produce more flowers. Shake off the seeds in your garden to allow them to self-sow, or save the seeds from your marigolds to plant next year.

Marigold varieties

There are several types of marigolds, including pot marigolds, also called calendula, a healing herb great for things like skin balms, soap, and bath balms. 

Mexican marigolds have puffy blooms that look amazing almost anywhere and thrive in hot climates. 

With its short height, Little Hero marigold is perfect for growing in tight spaces and can be added to even the most crowded garden beds; it is a great living mulch for tomato plants. 

The reddish-orange blooms of the Queen Sophia Marigold are framed with yellow along the edges, which make it a great decorative flower for adding color to meals and salads.

What can you companion plant with marigolds?

They can be used to help repel animals like deer, rabbits, and unwanted insects like mosquitoes and aphids.

Unfortunately, they attract slugs and snails, and should not be grown in areas where these pests are common. At the end of the season, leave the roots of your marigolds in the soil to prevent nematodes from overtaking your garden beds.

Garden beds can be bordered with marigolds, or you can mix it in with your other plants. Marigolds make a great companion plant for tomatoes. In addition to improving the growth of basil, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, gourds, kale, potatoes, and squash, marigolds help to ward off pests.

Marigolds are a wonderful flower to grow in your garden and can make a great companion plant for tomatoes. You can use marigolds in your tomato garden beds to control pests and to improve the flavor of your tomatoes.

Marigolds are great in a large pot filled with other insect-repelling flowers. Place these large pots around your entertainment space to help control mosquitoes all summer long for more comfort. I like to plant them along with lemongrass for a decorative height variation.

Will marigolds grow in the shade?

It is true that marigolds will grow in partial shade, but they prefer and grow better in full sunlight. These sun-loving flowers are perfect for editing garden beds or for planting with your sun-loving vegetables.

If you must grow them in partial shade, look for a space where they receive at least six hours of sun per day. You should plant marigolds closer together than you normally would if you choose to grow them in the shade, as they will not grow as big and spread out to cover as much area as they would in full sun.

Growing marigolds at home is easy and a truly wonderful way to add a pop of color and help keep pests under control in your garden. If they do attract slugs you can use beer in the garden to get rid of them.

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