Bring Nature To YOUR Home

Butterfly on Marigolds
Credit: Me

A Planting and Caring Guide to Marigolds

Easy as 1, 2, 3

Growing Marigolds is so easy and fun. Here in TN it is as essential as the color orange, at least if you are a UT Fan. Butterflies love orange and bright colors are welcoming to many species in your yard. This small flower has a large, strong fragrance that haunts most insects. No seven dust needed here. Marigold just naturally seem to ward off these bugs that try to feed on their leaves. These flower will brighten your landscape and your heart. They will bloom constantly from April-November in most eastern and southern states particularly. Pull off the spent bloom and save them for another year and this keeps the bouquet growing. My marigolds got over 1 foot high last year and these were the dwarf variety with little Miracle Grow too, although the seed package said 6-8 inches tall.

My mother raised marigolds, dozens of years ago when I was a child. I remember their beautiful sunny faces instilling my world with color and fragrance even for one so young. I would gather them, dry them and harvest their seeds. You can have about 24 seeds per pod. They are so easy to grow and are forgiving if you forget to water them. Yes, they will wilt in time, but a fresh cup of water brings them to life again in record time and they are so drought resistant that you can grow them even in clay soil. I've always planted them in TN, VA and NC but they should grow in most any climate. They are probably best known for southern growers and often grown, as we did by poor families who could not afford Wisteria and other beautiful plants. They look great grown around a tree, a flag pole or a Rose of Sharon tree. They excel as borders too.

I will include some beautiful photos that I took this summer to inspire your growth journey.Gather the following supplies: potting soil, pots (peat if you have them) or you can use old disposable butter bowls,  containers from restraint take out (and those with holes) in them save them for your seeds pods later, like plastic containers from strawberries and blueberries. These containers with holds will allow mature seed pods to air dry without molding.   You will also need water, piece of paper and tape to label your pots or a perm magic marker or waterproof tape or label, just duct tape will work fine too.  A sunny window.

How to Plant and Care for Your Marigolds

  1. Scoop a small amount of dirt and fill up your cup. Use small cups for you are only going to plant a couple of seeds in each one.
  2. Break open the marigold seed pod if you don't already have seeds. There will be about 24 seeds, sometimes more in each pod.
  3. Poke a hole in the soil with your finger and place 2 seeds in the hole and cover them up, tap the soil down on top of the hole. It's that easy, 1-2-3
  4. Water the soil every 3-4 days or more if it dries out quickly inside your warm home, but you don't want it too wet or it will mold. Just damp soil.
  5. Place on a table near a window or on a window seal.
  6. Watch these little plants poke through the soil and that will only take about a week or two, depending on the temp of your home or the ground outside if you are planting these in the earth. (Make sure danger of frost has passed.)
  7. It is very important that you do not let them dry out too much when they are growing. Checking them every  day or two.
  8. You can plant a dozen or two dozen seeds or more in a large container too and plants will grow just as well, they don't mind being crowded and you can thin them out later. Thankfully for you almost every mature seed will grow and fast and need little care.
  9. Transplant these in your flower bed once they reach about 3-4 inches tall and the plant seems sturdy to the touch.
  10. Water the plants every day for the first couple of week, unless God's rainfall waters them for you. Then water them at least every 5-7 days.
  11. The plans will bloom about 40 days after planting them depending on the amount of sun and water you have allowed them to have. These will bloom fast if you shower them with Miracle Gro too but aim your
  12. Gather the dried seed pods from the blooming plants and set those aside to dry. Make sure the seed pots are dried up and the seeds inside the pod are black and not white or green. You will dry mature seed pods, when they are  in a box with holes poked in it or in an open container, not a plastic sealed one until they are totally dry, like for a month. Open the pod and make sure the seeds are black and mature and not green or white, immature.
  13. Once totally dry, seal the seeds in a plastic container and place them in a dry place, not a hot moist place or they will sprout and not too cold or they will freeze. A temp of 32-70 degrees is best. Watch out too for mice that get in your garage and like to eat these in the winter or birds will devour them in the summer if you leave any seeds on your patio, deck or porch too.
  14. Step 14 is a must. Share these seeds. Give them away to neighbors, friends, church members...sell them at next springs farmer's market. Thank the Lord for the beauty of his earth and the bounty of your harvest. Take lots of pics and share virtual photos all year like these below. Happy Gardening and have fun! 


Butterflies Love Marigolds

Butterflies love marigolds
Credit: me