No annual is more cheerful or easier to grow than marigolds. These flowers are the spendthrifts among annuals, showing a wealth of gold, copper, and brass into our summer and autumn gardens. The flower’s popularity probably derives in part from its ability to bloom brightly all summer long.
- Marigolds need lots of sunshine.
- Though they grow in almost any soil, marigolds thrive in moderately fertile, well-drained soil.
- Sow them directly into the garden once the soil is warm, or start seeds indoors about a month to 6 weeks before the last spring-frost date.
- The seeds germinate easily, but watch out for damping off if you start them inside.
- Separate seedlings when they are about 2 inches tall. Plant them in flats of loose soil, or transplant them into the garden.
- Space tall marigolds 2 to 3 feet apart; lower-growing ones about a foot apart.
- If planting in containers, use a soil-based potting mix.
- Germination from large, easily handled seeds is rapid, and blooms should appear within a few weeks of sowing.
- If the spent blossoms are deadheaded, the plants will continue to bloom profusely.
- When you water marigolds, allow the soil to dry somewhat between watering, then water well, then repeat the process.
- Do not water marigolds from overhead. Water at the base of the plant.
- Do not fertilize marigolds. Too rich a diet stimulates lush foliage at the expense of flowers. Marigolds bloom better and more profusely in poor soil.
- The densely double flowerheads of the African marigolds tend to rot in wet weather.