Marigold: The Best Late Summer Annual Flower

Truly, the best late summer annual flower is the humble marigold. While it is great when planted in bulk in the landscape, it is also beautiful as a single plant in a small pot. No matter where you put the marigold, it brings a little bit of sunshine and happiness.

Drought tolerant, heat-tolerant, and resistant to some mammals, marigolds are fairly low-maintenance. Some modern marigolds have improved scent. Although most marigolds need to be dead-headed, there are self-cleaning varieties, meaning you do not have to deadhead them.

How to Grow a Marigold

Marigolds are also known as: French marigold, African marigold, Signata marigold, Triploid marigold, Tagetes erecta, Tagetes minuta, Tagetes lucida, Pericon, Tagetes, Wild marigold, Tagetes lemmonii, Mexican marigold

Plant Description: Marigolds are sub-tropical plants that come in a wide variety of colors, heights, and flower forms; pom-pom, single-flat, and everywhere in between. Known for bold colors in warm tones such as yellow, orange, red, but also in vanilla. There are more than 50 species of marigolds that come in very small to very tall growing sizes.

Plant Type: Annual flower, herbaceous perennial in zones 10 or higher

Sun/Shade: Full sun, but will tolerate some shade

Cultivation: Prefers moist well-drained soil. Will tolerate drought and hot conditions. Water at the base of the plant to prevent mildew. Sow seeds after the last frost or plant a vegetative plant in the soil. Do not over-fertilize as this creates low flower growth and excessive foliage. Typically, marigolds have more floral production in poor soil. Pinch off the tops of the plants to encourage bushiness. Deadhead to encourage profuse blooms.

Height: 6 inches to 2+ feet (.10 to .60+ meters)

Width: 6 inches to 2+ feet (.10 to .60+ meters)

Bloom: Varied; vanilla, yellow, orange, red, multi-tone

Bloom Time: Summer

Origin: Mexico, South America

Zones: Zone 2, zone 3, zone 4, zone 5, zone 6, zone 7, zone 8, zone 9, zone 10, zone 11+

Wildlife: Beneficial insects

Landscape Uses: Companion plants in vegetable gardens, container gardens, flowering landscapes and groundcovers

Special Features: Strongly scented marigolds are known to deter rabbits and pests. Known to attract ladybugs, hoverflies, and parasitic mini-wasps. In Mexican culture the Marigold has cultural meaning as the flower of the dead and is used symbolically in Dia de los Muertos ceremonies.

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