In this blog, we will see the best tricks and tips to optimally grow and care Marigold plants in a balcony garden. How to grow and care Marigold plant indoors (container or pot), and how to Planting the Marigold outdoors (in the garden).
The origination of the word Marigold is known to be derived from the phrase, “Mary’s Gold”, which is taken from the belief that this flower was often placed as an offering on Mary’s alter by early age Christians.
The Marigold flower is as vibrant as it is, in bright colors of yellow and gold, is often found to be associated with the sun. It represents passion and creativity and since the flowers tend to open when the sun is shining bright, it has hence earned its name as the “herb of the sun”.
Some religions believe that the Marigolds flowers provide protection from evil spirits whereas others consider them a symbol of good fortune and wealth as they are recognized to represent a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Flowers are known to have a language of their own, and though the Marigold is considered for the above-mentioned positive beliefs, there are also negative sentiments attached to them.
Marigolds are also known to symbolize cruelty, grief, and jealously and some superstitions state that picking a Marigold flower can result in alcoholism!
For most flower lovers, the Marigold will always be a love charm considered to be useful in not only the beautification of the garden but also of our lives.
The leaves of the Marigold plant
The Marigold is an annually grown plant with pale-green leaves. It produces flowers from the beginning of the summer months until frost.
The flowers have a strong and unpleasant odor due to which some gardeners grow the flowers around other plants just to repel insects.
The foliage of the Marigold plant is usually quite dense. The stems are reddish in color and the leaves resemble a feather, giving the plants a fern-like appearance.
They are divided in a pinnate fashion and the leaflets are linear, lanceolate, and serrated. When the marigold leaves are pressed they emit a pungent odor.
The Marigold leaves are mostly lush green but can sometimes start to turn yellow. This change in color can be attributed to various reasons as enumerated below:
Powdery mildew is a sort of fungi that produces a white powdery substance that spears in blotches around the leaf and the stem area of the marigold plant.
This should not be allowed to persist on the plant for too long as it will languish it and also destroy the surrounding plants. It is best to wash off the powdery mildew with water, as soon as you spot it.
To ensure the same does not reoccur, thinning of the plant works to one’s advantage. This process is beneficial as that will allow fresh air to pass in between the foliage.
You could keep a vigilant eye and periodically use your fingers to rub the leaves off any mildew that is forming on the leaves and stems.
If the powdery mildew is ignored and allowed to remain, it can stunt the growth of the plant, sometimes even distort it which would then eventually lead to the overall destruction of the plant. Regular pruning is another great solution to get rid of mildew.
With pruning, you can keep a regular eye on your Marigolds and catch diseases like these quickly. The main cause for powdery mildew is attributed to the water residue that remains on the leaves.
To solve this, you must immediately stop watering the leaves and reduce moisture in the plant. If things get out of hand, you can add 3 grams of sulfex solution to 1 liter of water and use the same to treat the deadly infection.
Aster Yellows are caused by tiny organisms that are known as Phytoplasmas. They tend to enter the leaves of the plants, and as a result discolor them. They can turn the leaves yellow and, in some cases, even red.
Sadly, the Phytoplasmas are transferred from plant to plant by insects and leafhoppers.
It is unfortunate that Marigolds cannot be cured of these organisms and the best way to avoid them from spreading to other plants in your garden is to simply dig out the affected plant and get rid of it.
Excessive application of micronutrients to your marigold plants can cause an underlying issue, popularly known as Leaf Burn. Leaf burn can be easily spotted, as the leaves of the marigold plant will be seen yellowing on the tips and its margins.
Hence it is best to be extra cautious and precise in your measurements of the micronutrients when applying them to your plants.
The Marigold leaves are not immune to being attacked by insects and pests. Although, unlike other plants, the Marigold is a strong plant and is not susceptible to much damage caused by insects, they do however occasionally fall prey to pests like mealybugs.
It should be noted that Marigold plants have the capability of repelling most of these insects and pests however sometimes they get through.
To get rid of pests like mealy bugs, the treatment is as simple as a gentle application of neem oil on the leaves of the plant.
The Blooming process of the Marigold flowers
Marigolds flowers usually take 45 to 50 days to blossom after they have been sowed. They are known to have multiple blooms from a single plant however, the quantity and the quality of the flowers tend to deteriorate in the blooms that follow.
It is best to plant fresh seedlings each year if you desire bigger and healthier flowers in your garden.
Marigold can be planted using seeds or cuttings from other healthier plants. Freshly planted seedlings can take as long as 50 to 70 days to start blooming; this is highly dependent on the temperature, sunlight, and water that is provided to the plant.
A healthy Marigold plant can bloom up to 150 days a year in favorable conditions!
In areas where there is no frost, they tend to succumb to heavy rains or high winds that snap their delicate stems. Regardless, it is rather rare to have a Marigold plant survive more than a single growing season.
When using cuttings, the flowers may come sooner and in approximately 50 to 60 days it will bloom beautiful golden and yellow flowers. It is noted that Marigold flowers usually start blooming early in the morning and remain fresh for over a weeks time.
Under the right conditions, the Marigold plants bloom from late spring until autumn making them annual flowers that will germinate and die in a single growing season.
Now, let us see how to grow and care for marigold plants.
The best tricks and tips to optimally grow and care Marigold plant
Now, let us see the best tricks and tips to optimally grow and care marigold plant.
Marigolds are a relatively low-maintenance and non-demanding species that require only basic care. Growing the Marigold plant in your garden can prove quite beneficial.
Along with many medicinal and culinary uses, the Marigold plant adds a color of sunshine to your garden. Not only that, it can also attract pollinators like bees, ladybugs, butterflies, and other useful insects too!
Enlisted below are the optimum conditions required to ensure a healthy and beautiful Marigold plant and its thriving flower blossoms:
Since the Marigold is native to sunny and warm climates, it prefers to be placed in bright sunny areas in moderately rich soil.
They are known to withstand full sun exposure with impressive grace as the competition with other plants for sunlight tends to create tall and blooming marigolds.
They only begin to show signs of stress when the weather is extremely hot, humid or dry, and providing them with some afternoon shade might prove beneficial in such a case.
Marigolds are not too picky about their soil however you must ensure they are placed in moderately fertile and well-drained soil. The soil should be of good quality and can be mixed with some anti-fungal powder.
It is recommended to add 1 tablespoon of dried mustard powder in the potting soil and spray a small amount of water over it. You can then leave the mixed soil in a shady place for a couple of days.
When the soil appears completely dry, you can use it as a potting soil mix to promote bigger and better marigold blooms. Using clay soil, or soil that does not drain well can deteriorate the Marigold plant.
Like in the case of most plants, overwatering is a serious threat here. Immense care should be taken to ensure that over-watering does not occur. Too much water will cause root rotting within the Marigold plant.
Watering should be done as and when required that is, after the soil begins to feel dry. Watering the Marigolds highly depends on the sunlight and the rainfall that it is receiving hence it can vary from plant to plant.
However, under an ideal situation, the Marigold plant will not require watering more than once if placed indoors and twice a week if placed outdoors.
The Marigold must not be watered from the top of the plant rather water should be sprayed at the base. Though known to be drought-tolerant plants, over-watering their leaves may develop mildew, gray mold, or other diseases that attack the soggy soil.
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The use of chemical fertilizers is not recommended as they tend to decay the Marigold plant. Ideally, an organic fertilizer used sparingly, i.e. fed to the plants keeping at least a 15-day gap in between each feeding would provide desired results.
A light application of nitrogen and potassium can provide great nutrients to your Marigold for optimum flower growth.
However, be careful not to fertilize during the growth period as a diet that includes nitrogen can stimulate lush foliage but in turn damage or stunt the flower blooms. In fact, Marigolds that are grown in-ground more often than not do not require any fertilizer application.
As in the case with many plant species, pruning helps. It improves the appearance of the Marigold plant and encourages more and more blooms to appear. Deadheading is a process by which dead flower heads are removed.
Pinching plants is a form of pruning that encourages the growth of branches on a plant. This means that when you pinch a plant, you are removing the main stem, forcing the plant to grow two new stems from the leaf nodes.
Pinching young plants requires removing new growth from the top of the marigold plant taking care that it is as close as possible to the next leaf nodes on the stem, this will promote bushier growth.
Deadheading your Marigold plant at least once a week when they are actively blooming is a good idea. This process improves the appearance of the plant and prevents seed formation which in turn encourages further blooming to take place.
If the stalks of the plant become leggy or overgrown, trim the plant by cutting the stems back to a minimum of two-thirds of their previous height using a pair of clean and dry scissors. Regular pruning will only help in the Marigold plant’s overall growth.
The Marigold plant has one of the most easy-going natures and the reason that it has been used around the world as a garden staple for centuries is due to its tolerance towards heat, drought, and pests.
They can take off easily using seeds, either grown indoors during the winter months or sown directly into the soil when it’s warm outside.
As a standard practice with most plantings, the Marigold too, when being planted for the first time, requires thoroughly soaked soil.
Not only does it give the plant a nice fresh drink to get its job of growing in its new home started, it also helps in settling the freshly disturbed soil.
Planting the Marigold indoors (container or pot)
Now, let us see how to grow and care Marigold plant indoors like containers or pots.
The Marigold flowers look lovely in planters and hanging baskets. To plant the Marigold in a container, you should ideally use clay-made seedling trays or pots.
A healthy plant’s growth depends highly on how well the seedling has grown and the use of earthen pots (matkas) that are made out of clay is the best possible bet for that. It goes without saying that drainage holes at the bottom as a must-must!
For good-looking and healthy blooms you must separate each seedling when they are around 4 inches in height. These seedlings should not be potted directly but allowed to grow in smaller 2-3 inch plastic or clay pots for good root growth.
During this period, it is advisable to keep the seedlings for 10 days in a semi-shaded location. This enables the delicate seedlings to develop new roots and toughen up.
As soon as the well-bounded root- balls begin to develop, transferring the seedlings in earthen pots on 6-8 diameter is a good idea.
Next, these repotted seedlings must be kept in direct sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours.
In some cases, Marigold plants in containers might need to be watered on a daily basis. This is when the soil in the containers dries out quickly.
If you have got Marigolds in a container, consider moving the pots to provide a few hours of cover from the sun during the hottest periods of the summer.
The potted Marigold plant is known to benefit from a well-balanced organic fertilizer.
If you desire to have your Marigold flowers bloom at their prime size and in time for spring then you should start them indoors about fifty days before the last frost.
The Marigold seeds do not need sunlight to germinate, but they sure can benefit from a clear plastic lid that acts as a greenhouse lid.
The seedlings should germinate in about a few days, at which point you should start providing them with about six hours of sunlight a day.
Planting the Marigold outdoors (in the garden)
Now, let us see how to grow and care Marigold plant outdoors in a garden.
Marigolds can be an excellent addition to vegetable gardens. It is not a common thought to plant flowers in your vegetable garden however planting this particular flower can prove quite beneficial.
Marigolds help to increase the diversity of plants and wildlife, increase their resilience and protect the soil they grow in. As long as they are planted in areas that receive full sun, they would be trouble-free.
The taller varieties of Marigold should be planted in areas that are protected from strong winds and damaging rainfall and might also require light staking for support. Install a wood or bamboo stake into the soil about 4 inches away from the plant.
Tie the plant to the stake loosely with soft garden twine. Staking the plant while it’s about one-third of its mature height works out best, as attempting to stake a full-grown plant may damage its roots.
When using seeds, you must sow a thin layer with at least a 1-inch distance and water them thoroughly after planting. Once the seeds begin to sprout, you can use scissors to cut the seedlings out. Marigold seeds are often started indoors prior to planting them outside however it isn’t a necessity.
When using a Marigold plant that has been purchased from a garden store, you can dig a hole to loosen up the soil approximately 6 inches deep. After inserting the root ball you can backfill the hole with soil and press the fresh plant firmly into its place. Remember to water thoroughly.
By adding a few layers of mulch to your soil you can avoid the growth of wild weeds and retain the moisture in the soil. When planted outdoors the Marigolds need reasonably fertile soil that is well-drained to avoid water clogging.
Uses of the Marigold
It is believed that the Marigold plant originated in Egypt and the Romans introduced it to the rest of the world. If this is to be believed then the Marigold flowers would be considered as one of the earliest flowers ever cultivated.
In ancient times, the Greeks used the petals of the Marigold flowers for multiple uses like decoration, make-up, adding color to their food items like soups, stews, salads, and puddings, to make fabric dyes, and various other medicinal purposes.
In today’s day, we continue to make use of these plants’ versatile qualities in an N number of ways.
Warding off pests
The Marigold plants are susceptible to diseases like gray mold, bacterial leaf spots, powdery mildew and root rotting. In some cases, pests and insects can also cause harm.
Care needs to be taken to avoid planting the marigolds too close to each other and to monitor the watering so that at no point do they feel the paucity of moisture.
Nematodes, a soil-dwelling parasite could be a problem for the roots of your Marigold plants. The French Marigolds save themselves from nematodes by emitting certain compounds which repel these parasites.
Farmers around the world grow the Marigold plants near their crops especially fruits and vegetables so as to protect their products from a nematodes’ attack.
It is to be taken into account that it can take several months before the Marigold begins to emit the toxic compounds that are required to control these nematodes.
Marigolds are also known to repel mosquitos and are often placed in balconies that have outdoor seating areas.
They can keep away pests like aphids, whiteflies, bean beetles, squash bugs, and tomato hornworms.
The Marigold flowers are famously edible. They can add a spicy and tangy flavor and a bright yellow and orange color to many dishes.
The flower petals are similar to the taste of tarragon and hence can be used as a substitute for the same. The petals can be tossed into a salad or used to infuse tea.
For edible Marigolds, care has to be taken to ensure that no pesticide has ever been used on the plant that you intend to consume.
It is recommended to get an allergy test done for your safety before experimenting with your food. Various herbal teas to contain the marigold extracts
In India and other Asian countries, the Marigold flower is considered to be auspicious. It is distributed heavily as an offering to the idols of Gods in the temples and during religious ceremonies, events and festivals.
During weddings, the Marigold flowers are used to make garlands and for decoration purposes, as they bring in bright colors.
Marigold flowers have many medicinal and therapeutic qualities. The flowers are used for herbal infusion, topical solution and to produce essential oils.
These oils are then used as an ingredient in perfumes. A wide range of facial packs and creams are made using this flower.
The medicinal benefits include healing chapped skin, acute rashes, and cell and tissue regeneration. The Marigold can have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can minimize scar formation and escalate the wound healing process.
Marigold flowers are said to be excellent for eye health and are cultivated vastly to produce vision health supplements.
The Marigold is proven to be beneficial for cancer patients. It can help in the reduction of mensural cramps, general pain, headaches, toothaches and works well in detoxifying the human body.
Marigold is mainly used externally to treat bruises, wounds, eczema, skin disorders, haemorrhoids, ulcers, and burns. Rubbing Marigold flowers against skin that has been affected by a wasp or bee sting will help to ease the pain and swelling.
Drinking Marigold tea or eating marigold flowers or leaves improves digestion by stimulation of bile production and can reduce high fever as it promoted perspiration.
They can be used to treat gastric ulcers and infections of mouth and throat. The juice extracted from the marigold can also be used to remove warts! What a versatile wonder.
One variety of Marigold is used to feed chickens around the world, in order to make the yolks of their eggs contain more of perfect yellow color. It is noted that in the past, Marigold flowers were used as a colorant to cheese and butter.
With this flexible, all-round, and resourceful plant in your garden, the Marigold offers an easy win with its reliable performance that can be depended on year after year.
Here, we checked how to grow and care Marigold plant. Grow and care Marigold plant is not so difficult.
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I am Elsa, love gardening. I spent lots of time with plants, flowers, it gives me lots of happiness.
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