Marigold: An easy guide to planting and caring for pretty flowers

Last Updated on: 25th February 2024, 04:40 pm


It’s also one of the most useful companion plants in your vegetable garden.

Marigold (Tagetes erecta) is a beautiful and fragrant flower native to Mexico and Central America. It is part of the Asteraceae family, so they are a close relation to daisies and sunflowers. Marigolds are popular annual flowers in fabulous colors, including yellow, orange, cream, and red.

Marigold flowers will grow well in most USDA plant hardiness zones in the United States. In northeastern North Carolina zones 7 or 8, you can start seeds in a greenhouse in late February and transplant them after the soil warms to 70° and the chance of frost passes. Or, you can plant sow seeds in the ground (step-by-step instructions to follow).

Marigolds prefer a soil pH of 6 to 7, so plant them away from any pine trees you might have on your property. If acidity drops below 5.5, they will liekly turn brown and wither.

The Lovely Flowers and Spicy Fragrance of the Marigold Flower

The leaves of marigolds are long and narrow, with a toothed edge. They are usually a deep green and have a strong, spicy aroma. The stems of marigolds are usually short and thin, and they can grow up to two feet tall. 

The flower heads of these plants are usually bright yellow or orange, although some can be cream or red. They have a distinct five-petal shape and slightly ruffled edges.

Marigolds have a sweet, spicy fragrance often used in perfumes and potpourris. The scent is calming and uplifting and can help reduce stress and anxiety. Their blossoms are also known to attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and bees, to the garden.

Tagetes Make Wonderful Companion Plants

Besides being a lovely annual, Tagetes erecta can famously repel pests, making them a great companion for many other plants. 

  • In addition to pest-repelling benefits, these flowers can help other plants by providing a nutrient-rich environment. Marigolds produce a lot of nitrogen, which can help other plants to grow and thrive. 
  • They also help attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, which can help control garden pests.
  • Finally, these beauties are also known to attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, night moths, and hummingbirds. Pollination will benefit other plants in the garden, as these pollinator insects will help ensure that the other plants are pollinated and can produce fruits and vegetables.

But what are the best companion plants for marigolds?

Marigolds repel pests such as aphids, whiteflies, and nematodes. Because of its pest-repellent ability, some of the best companion plants for marigolds include these classic garden favorites, to name just a few:

  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet peppers
  • Eggplants
  • Squash
  • Melons
  • Pumpkins
  • Jalapenos
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Cilantro
  • Sweet basil
  • Rosemary
  • Roses

How to Plant Marigold Seeds and Care for Your Flowers All Season Long

 Marigolds are easy to grow and require minimal maintenance. You can have a bright and cheerful garden in a short time with a few simple steps.

Note: These instructions assume you will plant directly in the ground from seeds. Many purchase marigolds and transplant them in late April or early May in zones 7 and 8.

  • Step 1: Choose a sunny spot in your garden for your flowers. Marigolds need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive. Soil temperature must be around 70°.
  • Step 2: Prepare the soil for planting. Marigolds prefer well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Dig up the soil and mix in some compost or potting soil to improve the soil’s fertility.
  • Step 3: Plant the flower seeds. Plant the seeds about 1/4 inch deep and cover lightly with soil. Space the seeds about 6 inches apart.
  • Step 4: Water the seeds. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Water the seeds daily until they germinate, which usually takes about two weeks.
  • Step 5: Thin the seedlings. Once the seedlings have grown to about three inches tall, thin them out to about 8 inches apart. Thinning will give the marigolds enough room to grow and bloom.
  • Step 6: Fertilize the marigolds. Fertilize the seedlings every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Step 7: Deadhead the spent marigold blooms. Deadheading the marigolds will help encourage new blooms and keep the plants tidy.
  • Step 8: Enjoy your marigolds! With some care and attention, your flowers will bloom all summer.
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The Takeaway: Marigold Flowers Are Beautiful, and They are Wonderful Companions

Marigolds are easy to grow and require minimal care. They grow well in either full sun or partial shade and thrive in well-drained soil. Marigolds are also drought-tolerant and can survive with minimal watering.

The marigold is a beautiful and fragrant addition to any garden. They are easy to grow and require minimal care, and their sweet, spicy fragrance can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Marigolds are also known to attract beneficial insects, such as ladybugs, moths, and bees, to the garden.

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Deborah Tayloe
Deborah Tayloe
Deborah Tayloe is the CEO and co-founder of Tayloe's Lawn Care Services, LLC. She has a B.S.Ed and holds certificates in soil and water management and herbology from accredited programs.
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