Marigolds were my “gateway” plant into the joys of gardening.
Written by Mark Dwyer
Landscape Prescriptions by MD
Gardening with my mother from an early age, a patch of marigolds and sweet alyssum along the side of the home was our collective endeavor. Not only did I enjoy tending the garden and the time with mom, but it was also fun to collect the seeds of the marigolds for use the next year. The sweet alyssum, after a hard frost, was pulled out and seeds were shaken on to the garden bed for germination the following spring. Those collected marigold seeds were sown the following spring. In essence, this simple patch perpetuated itself for years.
I was always amazed at how good the marigolds looked through the season including the colder months with short days and chilly nights. Depending on the weather at home (Chicago area), we might see marigolds looking great until Halloween! I continue to enjoy growing marigolds and some of the best on the market are current and past AAS Winners. I consider marigolds a timeless annual that always offers performance, long duration of bloom, adaptability to a wide range of conditions, and high impact in groupings and containers. Considering the exhaustive process involved with selecting AAS Winners, you know an AAS winning marigold is destined for success in our garden.
Purposeful Planting of Marigolds
1. Marigolds offer months of color throughout the summer and well in to fall. Consider the mature height of the variety and color of bloom as you combine them in other arrangements, mass plantings, and/or containers.
2. Marigolds will help attract beneficial insects to your garden. These insects may help with pollination or perhaps the control of unwanted insects in the garden
3. Marigolds, with their pungent flowers and foliage, planted around the vegetable garden help discourage many insects from feeding elsewhere. Japanese beetles, for instance, are attracted to the marigolds which become a “trap crop” and hopefully help maintain the integrity of the desirable vegetables.
4. Marigolds, particularly French marigolds (Tagetes patula), are known to suppress damaging nematode populations in the soil. Planting marigolds near nematode susceptible crops like tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, squash, onions, garlic, etc. helps minimize potential damage. Check out the research on this phenomenon at the University of Florida ISFA Extension, North Carolina State University Agronomic Division, and LSU Ag Center.
5. Marigolds are a great plant for kids to nurture. Consider including marigolds in a dedicated plot or container for children to plant, nurture, and collect seeds later in the season. This annual can continue to entrance and encourage new gardeners!
Six amazing AAS marigold selections for your consideration and enjoyment.
This compact (12”) selection has dark maroon lower petals and golden upper petals. Uniform plants feature a stable color pattern with very early blooming. No deadheading is required on this selection which is spectacular in bedding schemes.
This season-long performer has gold and red, double-crested flowers. While this color pattern is variable, the impact is significant on this selection which is quick to flower and excellent in combinations, mass plantings, and as a container component.
Named for Queen Sofia of Spain, this 12” variety is big on color with double blooms featuring dark orange petals rimmed in gold. Highly prolific in flower, this selection has broad applicability in any full sun garden situation and will not disappoint!
Reaching 20”, this strong-stemmed variety holds the fully double, 3” diameter flowers well above the foliage. The primrose yellow flowers are profuse and this variety has proven merit in bedding schemes and pastel arrangements. The plant habit is also neat and tidy.
Sunny yellow, double blooms (3.5” in diameter!) float above strong stems and rich, ferny foliage. Reaching 20” in height, this selection is excellent in combinations or as a cut flower. The flowering extends strongly until the hardest of frosts.
Marigolds can be planted at anytime from early spring to the last frost.
This post is provided as an education/inspirational service of All-America Selections. Please credit and link to All-America Selections when using all or parts of this article.”