P90921KActually, French marigold, Tagetes patula, is no more French than African marigold is African. All are from Mexico and Guatemala. They were merely popularized and bred respectively in France and Africa. There are now hundreds of varieties. Yet, their color range is surprisingly limited to hues and shades of yellow, orange and ruddy brown. White marigolds are really just very pale yellow.

While African marigold is only occasionally grown for bigger cutting flowers on taller stems, French marigold is much more popularly grown for late warm season annual color. Because it blooms late in summer and early in autumn, and continues only until frost or sustained rain, it is often planted if earlier warm season annuals deteriorate while it is still too warm for cool season annuals.

French marigold can get more than a foot tall, and almost a foot wide, but typically stays closer to the ground. The delightfully aromatic and intricately textured foliage is rich dark green. Removal of deteriorating flowers (deadheading) promotes continued bloom, although a few spent flowers might be left to produce seed. Mildew can be a problem if watering is excessive or late in the day.

4 thoughts on “French Marigold

  1. Interesting that you call them “delightfully fragrant. ” I can’t say that I mind the scent of marigolds, but I haven’t ever considered them delightful. And I know some folks who won’t plant them at all because they can’t stand the scent! Flower scent is obviously in the nose of the beholder!


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    1. I prefer to say that the foliage is ‘aromatic’, because I think that ‘fragrance’ describes what flowers produce. I can understand why some would dislike the aroma of the foliage. It is probably intended to be objectionable enough to dissuade some animals from eating it.


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