How to Grow Marigolds, including 4 Marigold Types & 6 Marigold Benefits

Do you remember that “marigold” plant in Plants v. Zombies? The one that produces coins the same way the “sunflower” plant produced sun? While that cute little flower had white petals and a smiling face, the real Marigold comes in all sorts of colors and sizes!

But why exactly are Marigolds so popular? It’s simple. Apart from being the brightest and the prettiest, these humble flowers offer more than just their looks. The Marigold offers medicinal, herbal, and gourmet uses. Practical for your day-to-day and a great addition to your garden.

As early as the 13th century, the Aztecs used these plants for their decorative nature and medicinal properties. To this day, the Marigold is used in Hindu weddings and is considered the “Herb of the Sun,” symbolizing passion, happiness, brightness, and creativity.

Read more to know your different types of Marigolds, how to grow them, and their benefits.

6 Benefits of Growing Marigolds in Your Garden

If you don’t already have them in your garden, here are six reasons to convince you to plant Marigolds:

  1. Long Growing Season: Marigolds bloom throughout the Spring, summer, and fall. These vibrant flowers can bring many butterflies and other beneficial pollinators to your area! Not to mention, their bright colors will liven up your yard.
  2. Ease of Growth: You’ll be delighted to find that Marigolds are easy to care for. Just give them access to a lot of sunlight, and you’re good to go!
  3. Pest-Repellent Properties: Some Marigolds release a scent that wards off pests from your garden. Good news, right?
  4. Gourmet Uses: Did you know that some types of Marigolds are edible? You can chop up Marigold blossoms and sprinkle them on salads for extra sweetness!
  5. Aesthetic Value: Marigolds are gorgeous and easy on the eyes. When they blossom, they will fill your landscape with shades of gold, yellow, orange, and even red.
  6. Health Benefits: Aside from being a beauty in the garden, Marigolds can be used to boost your immune system and treat skin conditions, eye or skin infections, and digestive problems.

4 Types of Marigolds and their Subtypes

Do you want to learn more about the different types of marigolds? Continue reading. This aesthetic little flower is more than what meets the eye.

French Marigolds


These versatile flowers are exceedingly popular among gardeners due to their easy-to-grow nature. You can use the petals of French Marigolds to make perfume, or you can extract their oil to make a bug spray.

French Marigolds can grow well in container pots and garden beds alike, and they won’t require much maintenance on your part. This hardy plant can withstand both dry and wet seasons.

If you appreciate a dainty display of yellow, orange, and bronze little flowers, the French Marigold may be the right choice for you. They come in many different types.

Bloom Time:Fall to Summer

Subtypes:

  • Bonanza Marigolds appear as a bushy display of flowers in shades of orange, yellow, and maroon. This eye-catching variety grows about 10 inches (25cm) tall.
  • Bounty Marigolds appear as Carnation-like flowers, coming in a fiery red, gold, and orange. These flowers, like their color, do well in hot, humid, and tropical climates. They grow roughly 10 to 12 (25cm to 30cm) inches tall.
  • Hero Marigolds come in several colors and can grow up to 10 inches (25cm) tall.
  • Little Hero Marigolds are a dwarf category flower growing only up to 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20cm) in height. But this gorgeous plant produces flowers that come in maroon, yellow, and orange.
  • Janie Marigolds also come in maroon, yellow, and orange. It grows up to 8 inches (20cm) in height, roughly. Its appearance is that of a double Carnation and is stunning to look at.
  • Safari Marigolds are the tallest among the French Marigold type. These flowers can grow up to 14 inches (35cm) in height, producing 3 inches (7.5cm) wide flowers in red, yellow, gold, and orange.

Signet Marigolds


Also called Single Marigolds, these edible, citrus-scented flowers can be a wonderful addition to your garden. You can plant Signet Marigolds next to your herbs and harvest the blossoms to garnish your salads later on. So, if you’re fond of salads and cooking, this might be the perfect plant for you.

Bloom Time:Fall to Summer

Subtypes:

  • Irish Lace Marigolds are short yet hardy and produce dark and eye-catching little flowers. And just as the name suggests, you can find lacey leaves and small white flowerets on Irish Lace Marigolds.
  • Gem Marigolds are summer flowers that bloom throughout the summer months. They have been classified as Lemon Gem, Red Gem, and Tangerine Gem Marigolds. They come in bright yellow, red, and orange, respectively.
  • Pot Marigolds often bloom during the cool seasons and are usually used as herbs. They come in bright orange or yellow.
  • Spanish Tarragon Marigolds bloom in the fall and have been described to taste like anise! These flowers are also beautiful in the garden since they can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) in height.

African Marigolds


African Marigolds are useful, medicinal, and beautiful plants. They can be used as medicine for hiccups, repellent to possible garden fiends, and look great in your bouquets.

These African Marigolds can withstand dry seasons better than their French counterparts. You can even use the petals to make perfume and dye! These bright flowers can grow up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) in height and have flowers as big as 5 inches (13cm) in width.

Bloom Time:Summer to Fall

Subtypes:

  • Antigua African Marigolds are low-maintenance varieties of the African Marigold. They can come in a bright yellow color and grow up to 12 to 16 inches (30-40cm) tall. You don’t need to worry about fertilizing them every week because they only need to be fed once a month.
  • Aurora African Marigolds are hardy plants that produce single or double flowers. They can reach up to 3 to 4 feet (1.0 - 1.3 meters) in height. These bloom throughout the summer months up until Autumn. They come in colors of beautiful orange, yellow, brown, and red.
  • Crush African Marigolds are dwarf, bushy Marigolds that come in a bright yellow and sometimes orange foliage.
  • Galore African Marigolds produce large yellow flowers and are very low maintenance. These plants can grow up to 17 inches (43 cm) in height.
  • Gold Coin African Marigolds produce bushy double flowers with pinnate leaves. They come in lemon or bright yellow or other shades of orange. These Marigolds can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall.
  • Inca African Marigolds are one of the more popular Marigold varieties. This plant produces large yellow double flowers. You won’t have to worry about them much because they are low maintenance and bloom from summer until the first frost.
  • Jubilee African Marigolds are hardy and reliable, producing large double blooms, and are majorly attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
  • Safari African Marigolds are striking plants standing at 10 inches (25 cm) and producing flowers that combine the shades of red, bronze, and mahogany, with a dash of yellow.

Triploid Hybrids

Triploid Hybrids are a little more challenging to grow. But don’t fret. This plant is worth it. Once you get over the hurdle of growing a few plants of this French-American cross Marigold, you’ll see that it was worth the trouble.

They are sturdy plants that can withstand the hottest of days and remain as beautiful as they are in the pictures. Triploid Hybrids are extremely large and would stand out in your garden.

Bloom Time:Summer to Fall

Subtypes:

  • Nugget comes in the usual Marigold colors of red, orange, yellow, or gold.
  • Zenith comes in two types, the Carnation or the Anemone. As the two types suggest, they look compact yet very attractive. They can grow up to a little more than a foot in height, and their flowers grow up to 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7cm) in width.

5 Steps to Growing Marigolds

The different types of Marigolds, as you’ve read, are all hardy plants. But, depending on the type, growing these Marigolds can be quite a challenge. But don’t worry. This step-by-step guide will ensure that you’ll be maintaining a stunning Marigold garden just in time for summer.

Step 1) Know your USDA Hardiness Zone.

What is a USDA Hardiness Zone? It’s basically the zone that determines whether certain plants can survive the respective zone’s lowest temperature. Figuring out what your USDA Hardiness Zone will allow you to plant confidently and securely, knowing that your plants won’t die on you.

Step 2) Keep track of the last frost date in your area.

A frost date is the estimated date of the first freeze in Autumn or the last freeze in Spring. It’s important to know the frost dates in your area. Planting Marigolds before the last frost date has passed could be fatal to your plants. Marigolds are mostly hardy and sturdy plants, but they are no match against extremely low temperatures.

Step 3) Select your variety of Marigolds.

There are dozens of Marigolds for you to choose from. Once you understand and know what your USDA Hardiness Zone is, when the last frost date was, and other details, you’re good to go.

Remember the specifics of each Marigold before choosing what’s best for your garden. Specifically, for the African Marigolds, they should be planted right after the very last frost date. These babies are slower to mature, so you’d want to maximize the time of good sun.

Step 4) Sow your Marigold seeds, or start from seedling transplants.

What’s the difference? Well, seeds are a bit cheaper compared to seedlings. The caveat is that you will have to wait a little bit longer before the seeds begin to sprout. So, if you want something a little more immediate, seedling transplants are your best bet.

Step 5) Maintain, prune, and harvest your Marigolds.

Each Marigold variety is a tad bit different, but, in general, keep the soil fairly moist so that you won’t have any pest problems. Be wary of the size your variety of Marigold will grow into! Each variety has a different spacing requirement.

Also, always imagine what you want your garden to look like before planting your seeds or seedlings. You want your garden to look amazing, right? Plan ahead to make sure both you and your plants are happy.

Conclusion

The Marigold, just like the one from Plants v. Zombies, gives value to your garden. But unlike the one from the game, they last longer.

This flower has aesthetic, medicinal, and gourmet uses. It’s easy to grow and low maintenance. It’s no surprise that Marigolds have been used and grown since the 13th century. Apart from being pretty, growing them is just downright practical. In the long run, Marigolds are cost-saving. And guess what? You can quite literally just grow them in your backyard.

Posted by Erica Cortez

I have a degree in creative writing, and when I'm not writing, studying, or taking care of my dogs, I'm helping my mother tend to her plants in the garden.