Marigolds are known for their big, generous flowerheads that range in color from red to yellow. They thrive in most soil conditions and are great for anybody, even if they are novice gardeners. When opting to cultivate them, it is helpful to know if marigolds are annuals or perennials.
The marigold flower is shaped like a carnation or daisy. The hues of the shades of marigold flowers will span the gamut from yellow to bright orange and even copper brown. They can grow in clusters or as single blooms.
They are imbued with an aroma often said to be overpowering. However, most marigold enthusiasts view this as a plus. Such a pungent smell is said to drive away garden pests and insects. Marigold plants tend to suffer from caterpillars and slugs.
Annuals and Perennials
Annual plants are varieties that complete their life cycle every year. They only have a dormant seed remaining at the end of a growing period. On the other hand, Perennial plants continue over many seasons, with only the upper portion of the plant ever dying back and then growing again at the beginning of the next season.
There are also some plants known as biennials that survive for two seasons. Marigolds, in general, grow back every year.
Are marigolds annuals? Marigolds, for the most part, are annuals. They return to seed as the growing season ends and when temperatures begin to get colder. The seeds it leaves will begin to thrive again next season. This is why the flower also is sometimes perceived to be perennial.
This, however, does not happen all the time. If one chooses to cultivate marigolds, it is ideal for planting the seeds indoors during March or April. One can transfer them to the ground the moment frost danger has gone away. (Learn How to Get Rid Of Rose Bushes)
There are many kinds of marigolds, but most can be classified into three distinct categories.
- African Marigolds
The African marigold also goes by the names of the American or Aztec marigold. This variant is deer-resistant and quite beautiful. It thrives in well-drained soil, but they could dry out between watering. It is prone to soil-born funguses and rot.
Big double flowers distinguish African marigolds. These flowers can range in appearance and texture and are large and bright. They have yellow to orange-colored flowers that can grow over 5 inches wide. The African marigold variant is capable of growing up to 3 feet tall.
- French Marigolds
The French marigold is a variation, on the other hand, that is typically shorter than the African marigold. Its flowers measure around 2 inches wide. This variety is a smaller flowering plant that has a spreading, shrub-like growth pattern.
This variety can range in size from 8 to 16 inches tall. The flowers will rarely exceed 2 inches in diameter; however, they come in a wider range of hues.
The French marigold variant is one of the most common kinds. They are easy to grow and have a long growing season. Their blooms last well into frost. French marigolds are also resistant to deer and droughts. Chose to cultivate French marigolds in full sun and well-drained soil.
- Triploid Marigolds
Both the African and French marigold varieties have been cross-pollinated, which brings us to a third group known as the triploids. Triploids marigolds grow a bit taller than afoot. They sprout flowers that are around 2 inches wide or even larger sturdy blooms.
This variety tends to remain in bloom for a longer duration than the other two varieties. It can maintain the flower well into the warmest part of a season.
They have less than ideal germination qualities. This attribute can make cultivating them a bit difficult; however, they can be quite satisfying to grow with the right handling. Triploids have longer growing seasons compared to other varieties.
Furthermore, they can take extreme heat, yet they will flower even if they do not get much light.
Less Common Marigold Varieties
- Signet Marigolds
These cute dainty little marigolds can actually be eaten. It is sweet and is an excellent choice for adding to summer salads. Signet marigolds require full sun and moisture.
- Mexican Marigolds
This marigold variant has a wider, flat flower and sweet-smelling foliage. It will reach 4 feet in height and be a bee and butterfly magnet due to a musky aroma. Mexican marigolds thrive well in full sun and well-drained soil.
They are deer resistant and tolerate droughts. Needless to say, they are cultivated better with regular hydration. This is one of the only perennial marigolds.
Many mistakenly think that marigolds can thwart pests. Due to this misconception, they are often planted on the outer portions of flower beds. Although some marigolds will indeed kill some nematodes, on the whole, there is no real scientific evidence and documentation that they repel garden pests.
Marigolds are mistakenly lumped together with plants of similar name designation. Examples of this are marsh marigold and pot marigold. Both of the aforementioned have nothing to do with the actual marigold.
Furthermore, owing to the names of the two varieties (African and French marigold). Truth be told, all marigolds came from either Central America, South America, or Mexico.
The Beauty of Marigolds
Marigolds are indeed beautiful summer annuals. They bring vibrant colors of yellow to orange to any garden from summer through autumn. Even though it will wilt and die during autumn, its flowers are effortless to grow again from marigold seeds during the next season.
How to Grow Marigolds
Combine organic compost in a flower bed during the spring months before planting marigold seed. Marigolds generally thrive best in moist, well-drained soils under generous sunlight. Plant the seeds just under the soil’s surface once the danger of frost is over in a growing area.
Allow spacing of French marigolds observing 6 to 9 inches. The bigger African and triploid marigold variants do well when a space of at least 18 inches apart is observed. Irrigate them generously and try to maintain soil moisture as the plants grow. (Read Orange Lily With Black Spots – All About Tiger Lillies)
Once they take root, marigolds need minimal fussing over in a garden. One can even trigger many blooms on marigolds by pinching back spent and wilted blooms. Stake supports for the bigger African marigolds will avoid harm from storms and violent wind.
The marigold plant is more or less impervious to pests or diseases. In general, marigolds endure in a home garden until the first frost.