How to grow marigolds
Kevin Parker, a senior horticulturist at The Greenery Garden and Home, says marigolds are one of the easiest summer flowers to grow. They come in a range of different types and colours.
Types of marigolds
French marigold: Kevin says, ""French marigolds average about 20 cm high, with smaller flower heads and bloom in various colours from orange, yellow and bronze.
African marigold: "African marigolds have really big, round flower heads in either orange or yellow. They are generally taller plants. So they could grow up to 30-35 cm high."
How to get bigger marigold flowers
Like growing petunias, you can pinch the first flush of flower buds off to make your marigolds grow bigger with more flowers later in the season.
"They [the buds] look like little peas when they start to develop, making it easy to pick them off when you first start seeing them," says Kevin.
How to use marigolds to repel bugs
If the bright blooms hadn't already sold you on this beautiful plant, then perhaps this will.
Kevin says marigolds make a great companion plant in your veggie garden to repel bugs.
"Some people use marigolds as a companion plant in veggie gardens because they have repellent properties to certain insects," he says. "You can sprinkle marigolds through your veggie garden not only to give you colour but to help repel some of the bugs that might attack your veggies."
You can also plant marigolds with herbs to help keep the bugs at bay.
How to plant marigolds
The quickest and easiest way to plant marigolds is from seedlings, which are already established.
- Remove your plants from the punnets and separate them.
- Plant the marigolds in the garden 20–30cm apart.
- Water well and feed.
How to care for marigolds
Marigolds need full sun to thrive and bloom. If your marigolds aren't blooming, ensure they're getting enough sun.
Marigolds love the heat and thrive in warm climates.
Marigolds prefer free-draining, suitable, quality soil in the garden and pots.
One thing marigolds don't like is wet soil. "Once established, they are fairly drought tolerant, so you don't need to water them much once they are up and going," says Kevin.
Feed marigolds occasionally with a liquid fertiliser to keep them going - but don't overdo it.
If the weather is scorching and dry, keep an eye out for white flies attacking your marigolds.
Kevin says the white fly "is a sap-sucking bug that marigolds can normally tolerate. It's just a matter of feeding them to make them stronger and keep them going." Consider placing these bug traps around your plants.
Do marigolds grow better in pots or in the ground?
So, where do marigolds grow best? Like petunias, marigolds grow very quickly in pots and in the garden; they are thick and bushy.
If you are growing marigolds in a pot, ensure the soil and pot are free draining to avoid rot.
"But because they are a little bit taller, if you've got a mixture of flowers in the garden, you would grow the marigolds in behind the others to give you a bit of height in the back," says Kevin.
What to do with marigolds at the end of the season
At the end of the season, your marigolds will start to die off, and you can cut them back to the ground and pull them out once they have died.
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