Marigolds are mostly warm weather annuals native to the Americas with yellow, orange, and rusty red flowers and finely cut pungent foliage. They may be small (six inches), medium (twelve to fifteen inches) or large (eighteen to twenty-four inches). Popular species include African marigold (hybrids and cultivars of Tagetes erecta and not native to Africa), French marigolds (hybrids and cultivars of Tagetes patula, not native to France but bred there.) These hybrids and cultivars produce offspring with few seeds that have a poor germination rate and do not breed true. Marigolds like full sun, and good well-drained soil but tolerate some dryness.
Marigold sees can be sown outdoors in spring when the soil is warm. For earlier bloom, sow seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost.
1. Plant seeds in flats or pots covering with 1/8 “ of soil.
2. Water from the bottom keeping the surface of the soil on the dry side since seedlings are susceptible to damping off.
3. Place in an area that is 70-80 F. Germination occurs in three to five days with optimal conditions.
4. Transplant to the garden after the last frost when the seedlings are one to two inches tall spacing short varieties six to ten inches apart, medium varieties twelve to fifteen inches apart, and tall varieties eighteen to twenty four inches apart.