2018 is the Year of the Marigold

Plant these easy to grow garden stalwarts for zingy coloured flowers all through the summer, says Jean Vernon.

Marigolds flower from late spring through to autumn. Image: Fleuroselect
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One of the easiest garden annuals to grow, marigolds are not just vibrant bedding plants they are an excellent choice for pots and patio gardening too.

Marigolds in a mixed border. Image: Fleuroselect.

Sun worshipers

  • Marigolds are part of the daisy family and originate from north, central and south America where they thrive in full sun. They are best planted into rich, well-drained soil in a sunny spot in your garden.
  • Marigolds come in a fantastic array of flower shapes, colours and plant forms and are ideal for adding zingy citrus tones to your pots and containers.
  • There are a rich variety of plant types from the large flowered African Marigolds (Tagetes erecta) to the smaller French Marigolds (Tagetes patula) and including the wild-origin type, single flowered signet Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia). They are all prolific flowerers.
  • Choose to grow Marigolds for their reliable production of flowers from late spring into autumn.
  • Marigold flowers are bright and beautiful adding glowing shades of yellow, burnt orange and rustic reds to your pots, beds and border.
  • Grow single, open flowered marigolds to attract butterflies and bees that will feed on the pollen and nectar.
  • One of the great things about these plants and flowers is that they put on a fabulous, fiery display right through into late summer and early autumn when many other garden plants are starting to fade away.
  • Plant low growing French Marigolds at the front of the border for a river of colour around the lines of your garden.
  • Create an impact; grow compact French marigolds in hanging baskets for a sunny, bright and colourful display at the front door.
  • Stagger your plants; use the taller African marigolds in the middle or towards the back of a display to add height, interest and depth to your display.
  • For a low maintenance container, plant three marigolds into the pot in late spring and allow them to fill the space.
  • Think about the containers you are using for the best effect, why not marry marigolds with rustic woven baskets for a natural look.
  • Some marigold foliage can be deeply musky or verging on pungent and can be used as a good deterrent for greenhouse whitefly. Plant them with your tomatoes and other crops to deter these greenhouse pests.

Easy to grow

Marigolds are a bright addition to hanging baskets. Image: Fleuroselect

Marigolds are mostly annuals that grow, flower and set seed in the same season and are really, really easy to grow from seed. Seedlings quickly develop into strong, sturdy plants with masses of vibrant orange, red and yellow flowers. If you are new to growing plants from seed, or a little nervous, you may prefer to buy ready grown plants from the nursery or garden centre. Look out for ready to grow plants that are widely available at garden centres after the last frost of spring.

After care

You can plant your marigolds into your pots and containers, beds and borders after the last frost of spring. If you’ve bought plants early then plant them into larger pots with a quality compost, keep them moist and feed them well with Flower Power.

When all risk of frost has passed, move them out into the garden. It’s a good idea to harden them off first. Move them outside during the day and bring them in at night for about a week.
Protect your plants from slugs and snails using a formulation safe for pets and wildlife such as Richard Jackson’s Slug & Snail Control.

Remove dead flower heads regularly to keep the plants flowering.

Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
@TheGreenJeanie
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