Tagetes patula. Enjoy mounds of tawny oranges and yellows from mid-summer to first frost (and sometimes beyond). As a companion plant, Sparky Mix marigolds are the variety that will suppress 'bad' nematodes in your soil. Be sure to plant around the vegetable garden! They can also be used as a cover crop for weed suppression. Plant these marigold seeds in full sun, and deadhead (remove spent flowers) to prolong the bloom period. These marigolds work well in containers and they are surprisingly drought resistant, so can be incorporated in xeriscaping schemes. This little plant reaches a height of 30cm (12").
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.