Uses of Marigold flowers:
- Marigolds are ideal long lasting cut flowers, especially for making garlands. Sometimes the whole plant is cut and used for decorations.
- Marigolds can be planted in flower beds for mass display, in mixed borders and can also be grown in pots.
- The dwarf types are very suitable for hanging baskets, window boxes, rockeries, and edgings.
- When grown in a newly planted shrubbery, marigolds help fill the gaps and add color to the landscape.
- The French marigolds are also suitable for planting in drifts and along driveways and paths.
Classification of Marigolds:
1. African Marigold (Tagetes erecta):These are vigorous, tall growing (up to 90 cm) plants having large globular flowers, measuring up to 15 cm or more. Flowers are in shades of lemon yellow, bright yellow, golden yellow, orange, and nearest to white. There are two subtypes viz Carnation like marigold and Chrysanthemum like marigold.
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These are compact in habit, 30-35 cm tall and flower profusely in singles or doubles. They range from deep scarlet, rusty reds, primrose, yellow, golden yellow, orange to combinations of all these colors. The flowers in this group may be single colored, spotted, striped and blotched.
Read more about Growing french marigold.
3. Single Signet Marigold:It is another dwarf (30-35 cm) Marigold, botanically known as Tagetes tenuifolia. These single flowers may be orange, lemon or yellow.
4. Hybrid Marigold:This is an interesting group of hybrids between African and French Marigolds. These are known Red and Gold Hybrids. The plants are medium tall (60 cm) with double flowers with color combinations from yellow-orange-red.
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Marigold growing steps:
- The Marigolds are one of the easiest annual flowers to cultivate by seed sowing method.
- The requirements for cultivation of Marigold are well-drained soil and a sunny spot.
- Marigold Season: In India, Seeds can be sown any time of the year; but the best time to start Marigolds by seeds is between May-July.
- Sow seeds in Nursery beds, seedbeds, or in seedling trays under semi shade. Fine sandy soil or coco-peat is a good sowing medium.
- Seeds are sown superficially and are covered with a thin layer of soil after sowing. Avoid sowing too deep.
- Transplanting marigolds: After about a month, seedlings can be transplanted in permanent flower beds 30-40 cm apart or potted in 25 cm container.
- Marigold Care: The soil in permanent beds should be cultivated well, and a good dose of cow-dung manure (8-10 kg per sq. m. area) should be incorporated into the soil. This will obtain a good and healthy yield of flowers.
- Seed can be sown directly in flower beds and thinned out after germination. Marigold plants can be raised from cuttings, especially during the rains.
- Marigold bloom time: Depending on the variety, marigolds start to flower in about 2-3 months after sowing of seeds.
- Potted tall varieties may require staking right up to the lower level.
Read more about ‘Why do you need Marigold in your garden’?