Tagetes tenuifolia. An intense citrus aroma fills the air when you brush by these marigolds along a path or in hanging baskets. Small single blooms make airy mounds above lacy foliage. Plant Signet Golden Gem marigold seeds in the spring and use the edible flowers in salads, desserts and fancy drinks. While all marigold flower petals are technically edible, Signet Golden Gem is by far the best-tasting marigold. As its colour might suggest, it has a faintly citrus flavour that actually enhances salads. Golden Gem is slow to bloom so start early. Bright lemon-yellow blooms flower until heavy frost. Consider this marigold for xeriscaping, as it has good drought resistance. Height: 40cm (15").
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. erecta, & T. tennuifolia
Season & Zone
Exposure: Full sun
Sow indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost, or direct sow 2 weeks before last frost. 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 prevents tall, spindly plants. Dead head regularly throughout the growing season.
French Marigolds (Tagetes patula) produce chemicals that kill soil 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.