Marigold is a popular flower not just for its beauty but its ease of growing and the many benefits it offers your garden. If you are planning to grow this attractive flower, you should know that there are more than 50 known varieties, each belonging to one of four groups. Gardening Know How confirms that marigolds are native to Mexico but can be found all over North America. Below, we will review the four Types of Marigolds you can plant and tell you how they will benefit your garden.
1. Signet Marigold
Signet marigolds are also called rock gardens or single marigolds. Besides their attractive flowers, Signet marigolds are a popular choice among growers because they are edible, as Epicurious reports. Thanks to their spicy flavor that is reminiscent of tarragon, you can use the blooms to sweeten or decorate salads, among other foods. This makes them well-suited for herb gardens, although they can also be planted in mixed flower beds, window boxes, borders, and pots. You can plant Signet marigold flowers outside if you live in a hot and dry area. These plants will thrive in moist soil under full sunlight. Although the ideal climate is dry, you should water them regularly during periods of drought. However, be careful not to go overboard as overwatering can harm the plants. In terms of growing medium, the soil does not have to be very rich as long as it is kept moist at all times. Signet marigolds can grow in deplorable soil conditions, especially since too many nutrients could weaken the flowers to prevent flowering. For the optimum number of flowers, try deadheading your plants’ spent blooms regularly. You should always prune the plants by about a third during warm months if you notice the growth rate slowing. New blooms tend to emerge as the conditions get cooler.
Common varieties in this group of marigolds include:
- Gem Series: The Gem series is a class of Signet marigold plants with unique coloring and growing patterns. These marigolds are large, often growing up to 1 foot in height and flowering throughout the summer. Generally, the Gem series includes flowers like the Tangerine Gem (orange blooms), Lemon Gem (bright yellow blooms), and Red Gem (bright red blooms).
- Spanish Tarragon – Spanish Tarragon flowers have an anise flavor that can be very useful in your culinary pursuits. They plant flowers in the fall and can thrive in cooler environments.
- Irish Lace – This short marigold is a sight for sore eyes, with the sharp contrast of its dark green leaves and white lacy blooms.
- Paprika Gem – Produces maroon flowers.
Pros of Planting
The top benefits of growing Signet marigolds include:
- You can speed up the growth by pruning the flowers by a third during warm weather. Doing this increases the number of flowers you will have when the weather starts to cool down.
- Signet marigolds are edible, with a spicy tarragon flavor.
- The leaves often smell like lemons, creating a great ambiance in your garden.
- Their look, smell, and edibility make them unrivaled in the marigold world.
2. French Marigold
The French Marigold, which has a compact and bushy look, is one of the sturdiest marigold types around. Its flowers are breathtakingly beautiful and tend to look great in large plantings, window boxes, containers, flower bed edges, or an extensive area of your garden. Depending on where you live, you can grow French marigold flowers outdoors or indoors. The plants grow best under temperatures of between 70°F to 75°F, but don’t require a lot of maintenance, otherwise. They are also very easy to grow from seed. Although French Marigold flowers can withstand dry conditions, they can also grow well in wet weather. You will usually find them in single or double varieties, with most plants rising to heights of between 6 to 18 inches. Upon harvesting, you can use the flowers for cooking purposes or to make perfume. As already mentioned, there are many varieties of marigolds that farmers can grow. The most common French marigold plants you can introduce to your garden include:
- Bonanza – This variety grows in a lovely bushy formation with compact flowers in yellow, orange, and maroon hues. The stem will grow to about 10 inches tall and spread 2 inches wide in maturity. Overall, Bonanza is a very reliable marigold variety.
- Safari – The Safari variety is a compact marigold that also grows in a bushy formation. Its mature spread is around 3 inches wide, and its flowering stem will grow approximately 14 inches tall. A beautiful compact plant, the Safari will usually release orange, yellow, and gold flowers.
- Janie – Janie blooms are extremely beautiful and resemble double carnations in shades of maroon, yellow, or orange. At a height of about 8 inches, the variety is also relatively small, which makes it ideal for growing in pots and window boxes.
- Bounty – Bounty marigold grows well in hot and humid environments and blooms during the summer to release yellow, orange, and red flowers.
- Little Hero – The last variety on our list is a dwarf marigold that will not exceed an 8-inch height. It produces stunning maroon, orange, and yellow double flowers.
Pros of Planting
The main benefits of growing this marigold type are:
- The plants are small and compact enough to thrive in window boxes and pots.
- They can withstand wet conditions more than other marigold varieties.
- The flowers are stunning and can be doubled.
- The flowers bloom all through the summer months.
3. African Marigold
Although they are also native to Mexico, these marigolds are called African, American, or Aztec marigolds. They grow very tall and upright, producing large flowers shaped like globes, which makes them the ideal choice for floral arrangements and cut flower gardens. According to an Alamy photo listing, they were also used for decorative, medicinal, and ceremonial purposes by the Aztecs. Generally, African marigolds will thrive in hot environments where the conditions are always warm and sunny. They are more drought-resistant than French marigolds and will usually require less water than their counterparts. Both sturdy and resilient, African marigold plants will look best at the back or in the middle of a flower bed due to their large size (4-feet stems). You can use them as bedding or background plants to add an explosion of color to your garden. Aesthetics aside, African marigolds have culinary uses. You can use them to add flavor and color your salads or make yellow dye for other dishes. In the garden, the strong scent they produce will help keep away large pests like rabbits and deer that could destroy your garden. African marigolds take longer to flower, so try to transplant them into the garden as early as possible, preferably at the beginning of spring or the end of winter. Once grown, your African marigold plants will produce beautiful double flowers in orange and yellow as well as single flowers in orange, gold, white, and yellow shades. The best varieties in this category to try include:
- Taishan Gold – This variety has sturdy stems that can withstand wet conditions and a vigorous growth rate. They are highly resilient and will remain standing in poor conditions.
- Discovery Orange – Like Discovery Yellow, but produces bright orange blooms.
- Inca – This variety produces 4-inch wide blooms in shades of yellow, orange, and red.
- Gold Coin – This variety has a bushy appearance and produces bright orange or yellow flowers.
Pros of Planting
Some reasons to plant African marigolds in your garden include:
- The plants are very tall, growing as tall as three feet and producing up to 5-inch wide flowers.
- They make amazing background plants.
- They can also do great as bedding plants.
- Their scent is a pest repellent.
- They can be used to make dye and add color and flavor to food.
4. Triploid Hybrids
The last type of marigold is the Triploid Hybrid. As the name suggests, this is a cross between two species, in this case, African and French marigolds. Triploid hybrids are very sturdy and resilient, remaining strong under poor growing conditions. They produce large beautiful multicolored flowers in a wide range of colors. Growers love them for their ability to continue flowering even in too-warm weather that causes other marigolds to slow down. In fact, these plants offer the most prolonged flower cover. Triploid hybrids are, however, sterile and don’t produce seeds. They are also more difficult to germinate and have a significantly lower germination rate. Generally, this means that you have to put in a lot of work to see results. The best way to propagate them is through your transplants that you can purchase from a local garden store. Because they do not produce seeds, Triploid hybrids are sometimes referred to as mule marigolds. Nonetheless, their flowers last the longest of all the Types of Marigolds discussed here because they do not set seed or bolt during warm weather. They are also more tolerant and adaptable, able to grow in both cold and warm climates as well as locations with little sunlight. Varieties to grow include:
- Zenith – These marigold types are stunning, with attractive 3-inch flowers growing on strong stems of about 14 inches in height. The blooms appear in yellow, orange, and red shades.
- Nugget – These varieties are not very popular, but they are stunning. They are double flowering, producing blooms in yellow, gold, and orange, among other colors.
Pros of Planting
The top benefits of growing Triploid Hybrid marigolds include:
- They produce the longest flower coverage of all marigolds, thanks to the fact that they do not bolt or set seed in warm weather.
- They are highly adaptable to different climates.
- They don’t rely on light changes as much as other marigolds to flower.
- They provide excellent performance even in warm weather.
Benefits of Growing Marigolds
Whether you decide to grow French, Signet, African, or Hybrid marigolds, these plants offer a wide range of benefits to you and your garden. The most notable of these pros include:
· Easy to Grow
Marigold plants are surprisingly very easy to grow – so easy that even a complete beginner will have successful results on their first try. They are sturdy and flower throughout the summer and spring, giving you great flower scenes for your garden or home. Once you establish them, you will only need to water them during dry months, prune them in the warm season, and deadhead them in winter.
· Edible Varieties
Many marigold varieties are edible and can be used to add flavor and color to cakes and salads, among other foods. You can also boil the flowers to produce a dye for foods like rice, especially when you cannot get a hold of saffron. Even better, you don’t have to use marigolds immediately. You can gather, dry, and store them in airtight containers for future use.
· Great Companion Plants
Another great reason to plant marigolds is that they make excellent companion plants. Their foliage produces a scent that can repel pests like Mexican bean beetles, aphids, and even deer and rabbits. Consequently, you can add them to your vegetable and herb garden and enjoy both the beauty and pest-free environment. You can also prepare your barns for larger harvests because marigold flowers attract pollinators, helping increase your vegetable yields.
· Medicinal Uses
During the 1400s, the Aztecs used marigolds for medicinal purposes. The flowers were used to treat conditions like bee stings, sprains, headaches, jaundice, fever, wounds, and toothaches. Although you might not be able to use them the same way, it can be a comfort having a medicinal plant in your garden.
Marigolds are easy to grow, beautiful, and beneficial to your garden ecosystem – the ultimate companion plant! If you are thinking of adding these plants to your garden, consider the Types of Marigolds, their growth patterns, and the benefits they offer. It shouldn’t be hard to find one variety that meets all your needs and keeps your garden beautiful and safe from pests.