French marigold

French marigold, Mexican marigold

French marigolds are a vibrant and popular bedding plant. As well as offering beauty, it is also attractive to bees and can serve as a beneficial companion plant for many vegetable gardens. It may be confused with the “pot marigold,” or Calendula officinalis, plant.

French Marigold Benefits:

  • Attracts a wide range of pollinating insects
  • Easy to grow, establishing quickly
  • Can be used medicinally for digestive disorders
  • Can be an effective trap crop for parasitic nematodes
  • Makes a nice treat for chickens and improves the color of their eggs
French marigolds

French Marigold Description

This low-growing and fast-spreading border plant features vividly colored flowers that range from bright yellow to deep orange and brown. They are easy to grow and spread quickly, making them a favorite for beginning gardeners.

French marigolds are actually from Mexico, where the flower serves as a sacred symbol. The history of the marigold goes centuries — to the Aztecs, it represented the sun. In current culture, it is used in the observation of Dia de Muertos. The bright colors of the flower are said to lure loved ones back from the dead.

In more common applications, French marigolds are said to reduce or deter root knot nematodes, a parasite that can destroy the roots of our favorite garden vegetables. The roots contain nematicides, which kills them. However, most modern thought suggests they work primarily as a trap crop. The nematodes invade the roots of French marigolds, as well, where those nematicides thwart their further development.

Tips for Germination

French marigolds will germinate once soil temperatures reach 65°F, but 70-75°F will provide quicker germination and more vigorous growth. You can sow them directly as soon as your garden soil reaches this temperature range or start them indoors about 4 to 6 weeks before your last frost date.

Place seeds on moist soil and cover lightly with soil or compost. Keep soil moist until germination occurs, about 5 to 10 days later, depending on temperature.

Buy French Marigold Seeds Here

Species Name: Tagetes patula
Common name(s): French marigold
Defining Characteristics: The foliage features soft, fernlike leaves and French marigold flowers petals are crinkled and vividly colored in deep yellow and orange.
Temperature requirement:Germinates at 65-70°F and is hardy down to 30°F
Watering frequency: Outdoors, water regularly to establish young plants, then provide at least 1" water per week or as required. In containers, water established plants when the top 1-2" are dry.
Lighting: Full sunlight (6-8 hours a day) to bright shade
Soil type:Rich, well draining, sandy soil for best flower production
Growth rate: Seed Germination: 5-10 days
Flowers: About 90 days.
Height: 6 to 18 inches, depending on placement
Origin:Mexico and South America
Regional locality: Unknown
USDA Hardiness Zone: Annual, but can be perennial in Zones 8-11
Toxicity Notes:This plant is considered non-toxic to humans, and is commonly eaten and used in home remedies as well.

For more information please visits the ASPCA list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants
Common Pests:Spider mites in hot weather
Common Problems:
Lack of sunlight causes poor flowering
Perfect Potting Companions:
Additional Notes:Fertilize every two to four weeks during summer blooming season