How to Grow Tagetes Plants

Guide to Growing African Marigold, French Marigold, and Mexican Marigold

Members of the Tagetes genus are a commonly grown garden plant

They are hardy or half hardy annuals, and generally reach heights of 15 to 90 cm (6 to 36 inches) - depending upon the species.

French Marigold
Tagetes tenuifolia - Signet Marigold

Tagetes come into bloom from summer through to the first frost of winter. When in bloom Tagetes carry multitudes of single yellow or orange flowers.

Signet Marigold picture

Some common names for Tagetes are Marigold, African Marigold, Dwarf Marigold, French Marigold, Aztec Marigold, American marigold and Signet Marigold.

Visit this page of GardenersHQ for information on pot marigolds.

Commonly Grown Tagetes Species

Tagetes erecta

Tagetes erecta
Tagetes erecta (Aztec Marigold, Mexican Marigold, African Marigold / Big Marigold), photograph by Forest and Kim Starr; CC.

Tagetes tenuifolia

Tagetes tenuifolia
Tagetes tenuifolia (Signet Marigold / Golden Marigold / Lemon Marigold), photograph by Alvin Kho; CC.

Tagetes lucida

Tagetes lucida
Tagetes lucida (Sweet-scented Marigold / Mexican Mint Marigold / Texas Tarragon), photograph by Tyrrhium; CC.

Tagetes lemmonii

Tagetes lemmonii
Tagetes lemmonii (Lemmon's Marigold), picture by Plant Right; CC.

Tagetes Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: African Marigold, French Marigold, Mexican Marigold, Aztec Marigold.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual, hardy annual.
Height: 4 to 85 inches (10 to 220 cm).
Native: Americas.

Growing Region: Zones 1 to 10.
Flowers: Summer until first frost.
Flower Details: Yellow, white, gold, orange. Daisy-like ray and disc florets.
Foliage: Pinnate. Toothed.

Sow Outside: Cover seed. A couple of weeks before the last frost. Spacing 6 to 30 inches (15 to 75 cm).
Sow Inside: Vermiculite. Water from below. Germination time: three days to two weeks. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Seven or eight weeks before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements: Full sunlight or afternoon shade in hot areas. Soil pH 6 to 7. Organic soil. Can survive in dry soils. Monthly feed. Regular watering. Pinch tips. Deadhead.
Family: Asteraceae.
Miscellaneous: Pot Marigold belongs to the Calendula genus. French Marigolds are often grown as companion plants as their roots release substances that are able to destroy nematodes.

How to Grow Marigolds and other Tagetes Plants in your Garden

The seeds of Marigolds (Tagetes) should be sown outdoors a couple of weeks before the last frost of spring. The marigold seeds should be lightly covered once sown.

When planting Marigolds they should ideally be grown in a sunny area of the garden that receives shade in the afternoon.

The soil that Marigolds grow in should be organically enhanced, and of pH 6 to 7.

If starting off indoors, then sow the seeds of marigolds about seven weeks before the last expected frost of spring. They should be transplanted outdoors following the last frost.

French Marigold
Tagetes Patula – French Marigold by LoneWalkerNYC.

Germination of marigold takes from three days to two weeks. Tagetes germination should be done at about 20 to 24 degrees centigrade (68 to 75°F).

It is important to water the young marigold seedlings from below.

When putting Tagetes out into the garden, space small marigold varieties about 15 cm (6 inches) apart; medium species 30 cm (12 inches) apart; and large marigolds from 45 to 60 cm apart (18 to 24 inches).

African Marigold
African Marigold by D.A.L. Both photographs under creative commons licence.

Caring for Marigolds (Tagetes Plant)

It is fairly easy to care for members of the Tagetes plant genus such as Marigolds.

They are both hungry and thirsty plants, so fertilize and water frequently. Pinch back tall Marigold varieties when young to encourage bushiness. Give them a support.

Dead-heading of marigold flowers will prolong the blooming season.

Marigolds are annuals, so if you require more plants then they should be propagated from seed.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Tagetes plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Liatris spicataCladanthus, Dahlia, and Ageratum plants.