How to Care for a Marigold Plant

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Care for a Marigold Plant
Care for a Marigold Plant (Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/araswami/)

Marigolds are a delightful addition to your summer ornamental or vegetable garden. There are two main species: Tagetes patula, commonly known as French marigolds, and Tagetes erecta or African marigolds. The French marigolds are often grown in vegetable gardens to repel pests. While marigolds themselves do not have many pest problems, it is unclear how effective they are at protecting vegetables. African marigolds can grow to 3 feet tall, with flowers up to 5 inches across. Give them a sunny space with lots of room to grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Marigolds
  • Slow-release fertilizer

Plant marigolds outdoors after all danger of frost has past. Alternatively, you can start marigold seeds indoors six weeks before the frost-free date in your area.

Place marigolds 6 to 9 inches apart for French varieties and 18 inches apart for African varieties.

Water marigolds using soaker hoses or by hand-watering in order to avoid getting water on the leaves. Established marigolds only need water during extended dry spells (more than10 days).

Apply a 2- to-3-inch layer of mulch in order to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Use a small amount of a slow-release fertilizer in the spring. Too much nitrogen (the first number on a fertilizer container) can lead to bushy plants with few blooms.

Deadhead flowers by pinching off old blooms in order to encourage new buds.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stake tall marigolds to protect them from rain and high winds.

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