French Marigolds are such a great flower for the home gardener
They offer not only beauty but great companion planting benefits. These flowers are native to Mexico and Central America, but they are commonly known as French Marigolds. These flowers are different than Pot Marigolds which are also called Calendula. There’s also African Marigolds which like the French Marigolds are both Tagetes. French Marigolds grow to about 1 foot, whereas African ones grow to about 3 feet.
Marigold flower benefits include
- Attracting beneficial insects
- Suppressing soil nematodes
- Encouraging pollinators
- Repelling pests such as cabbage worms, bean beetles & more
- They’re drought tolerant and great for xeriscaping
There have been scientific studies that show that Marigolds create their own pesticide against nematodes. If nematodes are really bad in your soil then you can grow French Marigolds as a cover crop leaving the base roots in the soil before winter sets in.
Because they have a strong scent, they often repel many pests too.
French Marigold types and colors
There are French Marigolds with double, semi-double and single-flower blooms. Here are some of the color options.
- Sparky Marigold – a bi-color mix of red, yellows and orange
- Yellow Marigold
- Orange Marigold
- French Vanilla (White) Marigold
How to grow marigolds
These flowers are annuals and need to be started from seeds indoors or sown outside after the risk of frost. Start indoors 6-8 weeks before your last spring frost. They start blooming after about 1.5-2 months and continue to flower until frosts. They need 3-6 hours of sun and are excellent inter-planted with other plants. Be sure not to over water them as they’re prone to root problems in soggy soil. You can ‘dead head’ flowers to allow for continuous blooms so the plant doesn’t go to seed.
Plant Marigolds with:
- other Brassicas such as Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts
- Grow in containers
- As a flower border