Marigolds Deserve More Respect: October’s Flower is Both Reliable and Beautiful!

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By Jill Brooke

My favorite garden flower is the marigold – the annual that keeps on giving.

It’s also the flower of October.

Not only is it easy to plant, but it blooms in vibrant colors for spring, summer and fall.  These do-gooders produce waves of yellow, copper, tangerine orange and rust-tipped golden colors that add boosts of color and cheerfulness to every gardener. 

Plus, for some marigolds, the seeds pollinate and come back next year.

I always say, “Why is it that people covet and cherish the difficult flowers when the cheerful, colorful marigold delivers long-lasting beauty spring, summer and fall? Humble and reliable does not mean lacking in beauty or value.”

Others love marigolds too. That’s why there was a debate in Congress to make the marigold the U.S. flower instead of the rose since it also blooms in all 50 states and is receptive to many soil conditions.

Although the rose won, the marigold will always be special to us.

It is the one flower we recommend for novices to start planting since it reliably produces flowers in all types of soil. This is no small feat. As any honest gardener will confess, almost 20% of all flowers one plants may not prosper and root.

But the marigold is a surefire winner.

4 Marigolds to Know:

a)  African Marigolds

Tagetes erecta – also known as African marigolds –  grow tall ranging from 3 to 4 feet with big, full flowers. From Central America and Mexico, they are just fine with drought-like conditions.

b) French Marigolds

Tagetes patula – also known as French marigolds, are the most popular plants and produce small clusters of bushy abundant flowers. They are my favorite as well.

c) Signet Marigolds

Tagestes tenuifolia – also known a signet marigolds, these are tiny marigolds that are also popular for edging a border or placing in front of roses, iris flowers or even hydrangeas. Both French marigolds and Signet marigolds are ideal for this purpose.

d) Calendula Marigolds

These are the edible version of marigolds. It offers a peppery taste and is often grown in kitchen gardens along with herbs.

Growing Tips

a)  Just plant them and let them do their magic

b).  Do not water marigolds from overhead even though it’s easier. You need to water near its roots at the base of the plant. Experts like the Farmer’s Almanac say this will cause powdery mildew if you water from above.

c) You don’t need to deadhead regularly however if you do, it always encourages plants to bloom more abundantly.

d) French marigolds are the best to plant in veggie gardens. They attack harmful nematodes – which means the microscopic worms that hurt tomatoes, strawberries, snap peas, onions and garlic and even cucumbers.

So what else do these wonderful flowers do?

All of these varieties are deer resistant, deters pests in the veggie garden and can be infused in oil for anti-inflammatory treatment. 

Plus bugs also love them and they are wonderful pollinators.

All reasons to love marigolds and October skies.


Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent, Post columnist and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.

Photo Credits: Shutterstock