Tagetes patula. Brocade Marigold seeds produce brilliant 5cm (2") wide flowers in gold to mahogany atop 30-38cm (12-15") plants. This is a medium height marigold that works well in large containers. Grow in full sun and deadhead regularly to enjoy flowers from May to heavy frost. The plants are drought resistant, so a good candidate for xeriscaping. The flower petals are edible, and can be dried and ground to use as a replacement for saffron. The essential oils of this marigold have apparent anti-fungal properties, and have been used to fight fungal infections on plants. Brocade is a cultivar of T. patula, which is native to the highlands of central Mexico. It's a very easy flower to grow from seed.
Marigolds are annual flowers that are easy to grow from seed and resilient. They can be grown in the garden, in containers, and they play a role in Companion Planting. Some even have edible flowers! Learn how to grow Marigolds from seed, and they will earn a place in your garden every year.
Tagetes patula & T. tennuifolia
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost (late February on the coast), or direct sow 2 weeks before last frost (mid-March on the coast). If starting indoors, just cover the seeds with vermiculite and provide a soil temperature of 21-25°C (70-75°F). Seeds should sprout in 4-14 days at that temperature.
Marigolds are somewhat prone to damping off. As a precaution, just cover the small seeds with vermiculite, water from below, and provide ventilation in the room. Space plants in the garden 30-45cm (12-18″) apart. Dwarf varieties can be spaced 15cm (6″) apart.
Pinch the growing tips to encourage branching. This avoids tall, spindly plants. Dead head regularly.
French Marigolds (Tagetes patula) produce chemicals that kill nematodes and repel whitefly. Avoid planting them near beans. Mexican Marigolds (T. minuta) have the same effect, and may repel rabbits.
More on Companion Planting.