A garden favorite for their brightly-colored flowers, French marigolds are also easy to grow and care for. These heat-loving annuals last the entire growing season, blooming away until frost. Along with their ornamental attributes, French marigolds are also edible and can be used to make a natural dye.
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French marigolds typically come in warm shades of oranges, yellows, reds. Some varieties have a single rows of petals, while others have pom-pom-like, petal-packed double blooms. Plus, it seems like there is a new marigold shade or petal type introduced each year.
French Marigold Care Must-Knows
Often one of the first plants a child will grow, these annuals are super easy! However, they'll do best in well-drained soil that doesn't stay wet for long periods. Because they produce so many blooms in a season, they benefit from a little fertilizer every couple of weeks.
Related: Types of Fertilizer You Should Try
Marigolds perform best in full sun, which will help the plant form large, dense blooms and lush foliage. When planted in part shade, marigolds are more likely to get fungal diseases like powdery mildew. Marigolds are also prone to spider mites in the dry heat of the summer, so watch for fine webbing and treat with insecticidal soap as needed.
As a marigold's flowers fade, pick them off to focus the plant's energy on making more flowers rather than making seeds. At the end of the year, if you want to collect seeds for the next spring, leave a few spent blooms and allow them to fully ripen and dry. Note that the seeds will produce plants that are genetically different from the parents, so there may be some variability in flower color and overall plant growth.
Plant breeders are always looking for ways to make this plant do just a little more. Recently, there was a color breakthrough: The first pink marigold. They are also finding ways to make varieties that are more disease-resistant, longer-blooming, and have bigger, tougher blooms.
More Varieties of French Marigold
Disco Queen marigold
Tagetes patula 'Disco Queen' bears orange-red flowers ringed in yellow on long-blooming plants that grow 1 foot tall and wide.
Durango Red marigold
Tagetes patula 'Durango Red' produces orange-red flowers all summer long on plants that grow 1 foot tall and wide.
Little Devil Fire marigold
Tagetes patula 'Little Devil Fire' bears double red-and-yellow flowers on compact plants that grow only 8 inches tall and wide.
Striped Marvel marigold
Tagetes patula 'Striped Marvel' offers bold burgundy-and-gold striped blossoms on 2-foot mounded plants.
French Marigold Companion Plants
Bidens is a perfect container plant. It spills down the edges of windowboxes, large pots, and planters with starry, yellow flowers and ferny, green foliage. Some varieties are fragrant so plant them where you can enjoy their sweet scent. Bidens likes rich, well-drained but moist soil. While it's a perennial in Zones 8-10, it's usually grown as an annual.
Moss rose is the gardener's choice for the hottest, driest, most problematic spots in the garden—even a clay strawberry pot in full sun. This succulent plant thrives in heat, drought, and lousy soil, rewarding gardeners with nonstop color. Coming in sunny warm reds, oranges, magentas, and yellows, moss rose looks at home in a sun-drenched area. There's also a whole pastel color palette for moss rose—creamy white, pink, and peach varieties. It often happily reseeds, coming back every year with gusto.
Want fast color for just pennies? Plant zinnias! A packet of seeds will fill an area with gorgeous flowers in an amazing array of shapes and colors—even green! And it will happen in just weeks. There are dwarf types of zinnias, tall types, quill-leaf cactus types, spider types, multicolor, special seed blends for cutting, special blends for attracting butterflies, and more. Zinnias are so highly attractive to butterflies that you can count on having these fluttering guests dining in your garden every afternoon. But to attract the most, plant lots of tall, red or hot pink zinnias in a large patch. 'Big Red' is especially nice for this, and the flowers are outstanding, excellent for cutting. Zinnias grow quickly from seed sown right in the ground and do best in full sun with dry to well-drained soil.
Garden Plans for French Marigold
An Eye-Catching Kitchen Garden Plan
Enjoy a full summer of homegrown vegetables with this ornamental potager garden.
Hot-Color Flower Garden Plan
This colorful, informal border garden plan features equal measures of perennials and annuals, suitable for a lining a path or sidewalk.
Easy Children's Vegetable Garden Plan
Enjoy growing healthy produce while spending time with little gardeners with this easy garden plan.