81107French Marigold might have been a more appropriate choice. It is the official flower of Dia de los Muertos on November 2. Some might say that the bigger and bolder African marigold, Tagetes erecta, is just as official. Both are Mexican, but as the names imply, most varieties of French marigold were developed in France, and most varieties of African marigold were developed in Africa.

Both African and French marigolds are warm season or autumn annuals that exhibit a similar range of floral colors that contrast nicely against their rich green aromatic foliage, but they are not much more similar than that. African marigold can get almost three feet high and two feet wide. Its bigger pom pom flowers tend to be solid colors rather than mixed; and vanilla white, although unpopular, is not rare. Bright yellow and bright orange are the most familiar. Rusty red is the third most popular color.

African marigold wants rich and well drained soil in sunny exposures. It gets lanky, blooms less, and is more likely to mildew where partly shaded. It should be watered regularly and early in the day. Flowers can mold if they stay damp for too long. Deadheading, which is the removal of deteriorating flowers, promotes continued bloom. Occasional application of fertilizer might also help.

6 thoughts on “African Marigold

  1. I’ve just planted some French marigolds for the first time ever, after seeing them on someone’s Six. I think I prefer them to the African ones, although the ones in your photo do look like lovely sunshiny things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many of us prefer the French marigolds. African marigolds are actually uncommon in nurseries here because not many people purchase them. French marigolds work better for uniform bedding plants, whereas African marigolds are more for the big flowers that can be cut like zinnias or chrysanthemums. Although, there will be plenty of cut French marigolds as well for the next few days. Dia de los Muertos begins at sundown tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Yes, that seems to be the consensus. They are the most popular for a reason . . . or a few reasons. I think that the African marigolds are popular among those who enjoy them for cut flowers more than as bedding plants that stay out in the garden.

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