Caring For Marigolds In Pots – Tips On Growing Marigolds In Containers

Caring For Marigolds In Pots – Tips On Growing Marigolds In Containers

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By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Marigolds are easygoing plants that bloom reliably, even in direct sunlight, punishing heat and poor to average soil. Read on to learn how to grow marigolds in containers.

Potted Marigold Plants

Any type of marigold can be grown in containers, but keep in mind that some types, such as African marigolds, can reach heights of up to 3 feet (1 m.) and may be too large for standard containers.

Most gardeners like to plant smaller container grown marigolds. For example, French marigolds are small, bushy plants that reach heights of only 6 to 18 inches (15-20 cm.), depending on the variety. They are available in orange, yellow, mahogany or bicolor, and in double or single blooms.

Signet marigolds are another good choice for potted marigold plants. The bushy plants have attractive, lacy foliage and orange, yellow or rusty red blooms.

Caring for Marigolds in Pots

Don’t crowd potted marigold plants, as healthy marigolds require plenty of air circulation. One marigold is enough for a 6-inch (15 cm.) pot, but you can grow two or three in a 12-inch (30 cm.) pot, and five or more small plants in a large container with a diameter of 18 inches (45 cm.).

Be sure the container has a drainage hole in the bottom. Use a good quality, lightweight potting mix. A handful of sand, perlite or vermiculite improves drainage.

Place the pot where the marigold is exposed to at least six hours of sunlight.

Water the marigold when the top 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm.) of soil is dry. Water deeply, then let the soil dry before watering again. Never allow the soil to remain soggy, as wet conditions invite root rot and other moisture-related diseases.

Pinch the tips of newly planted marigolds once or twice to encourage bushy plants. Deadhead the plants regularly to trigger new blooms.

Apply a water-soluble fertilizer every month, but don’t over-fertilize. Too much fertilizer or overly rich soil can produce weak plants with few blooms.

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How to Grow Marigold in Containers

Marigolds love the sunshine. You can grow them in full sun but they also do well in partial shade. They don’t do well in wet damp conditions and may rot and die.

They are not too particular about soil conditions but a well drained soil that is good enough for them. The soil doesn’t even have to be rich in organic matter, so they are really the most non-fussy plants you can have in your garden.

2. Marigolds Are Edible Plants

You might not realise this, but marigolds are also one of plenty of edible flowers that you could grow amongst your fruits and vegetables. Marigolds are not just a good companion plant – they are an edible crop in their own right.

The petals can be added to a range of salads, as in this excellent example:

The petals of French marigolds can also be added as decoration to cupcakes or other baked goods, and used decoratively in a whole host of other ways in your kitchen.

Growing tips

  • Remove spent flowers to encourage further blooms.
  • French Marigolds (T. patula) are known to be more effective than the African Marigolds (T. erecta) in attracting the root knot nematodes. These may help in control in the garden and vegetable patch.
  • Plant Marigolds around the vegetable patch to encourage beneficial insects and bees to the garden and assist with repelling other insects such as the whitefly, cabbage butterfly and other pests.
  • Flowers can be used in salads to create colour and texture.
  • Kids love the bright yellow and orange colour of these flowers.
  • There are two main varieties:
  • French Marigolds – Tagetes patula

French Marigolds flowers are shapely but are flatter than their African counterparts and are relatively smaller in height reaching to about 40cm. Available in a variety of shades of yellow and orange

  • African Marigold – T. erecta

Large pom pom like flowers in different shades of orange and yellow. Taller variety of marigold can reach up to 90 cm in height. There are compact cultivars available for those who prefer a smaller plant in their garden.


If you’re looking for a flower that makes a colorful splash in the garden from spring through summer and well into fall, this is the plant for you.

C. officinalis is easy to propagate from seed, or you can pick up nursery starts at your local garden center, to get a jump on the growing season.

From Seed

Pot marigold can be sown directly in the garden in spring after the last frost has passed. Gardeners in Zones 7-11 can sow seeds in fall.

Prepare a garden bed by clearing away debris and adding some fresh compost, and then either broadcast seeds or create rows, planting every six inches.

Cover the seeds with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil, tamp down gently, and water thoroughly. Seeds should germinate within a week.

You can thin the seedlings when they have one or two sets of true leaves.

From Seedlings or Transplants

I like to start seeds indoors, so my C. officinalis cultivation is usually underway by late March, in Zone 5.

You can start seeds six to eight weeks before last frost. Prepare seed trays or small containers with a well-draining potting soil and sow 1/4-inch deep.

Keep them moist but not waterlogged until germination.

When all danger of frost has passed, and seedlings have at least two sets of true leaves, harden them off by placing them outdoors in a sheltered location for an hour or so per day, gradually increasing the time over the course of a week.

After hardening off, transplant the seedlings or nursery starts outdoors, six to 12 inches apart in a garden bed amended with compost.

Keep transplants moist and weed-free until well established.

Container Growing a Marigold

Marigolds are cheerful flowers with colors that range from pale yellow to burnt orange. These practical flowers are ideal for either gardens or indoor planting as the scent keeps harmful bugs away from other plants. Marigolds are easy to grow and can be easily transplanted to larger containers if needed. They come in several varieties, including African, French, and triploid, all of which look beautiful alone or when combined together in a large flower pot.

Indoor Containers

The best type of indoor pots for a marigold plant should be medium-sized, about 5 to 6 inches in diameter if they are grown from seedlings or seeds. The best type of pots to use are clay or ceramic with holes in the bottom for drainage.

Add a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot before adding the soil. Place the soil in a shallow bowl to help catch the water that drains out whenever the plant is watered.

Outdoor Containers

Consider planting marigolds in large outdoor flower pots that can contain a variety of flowers in a bunch. Use 16 to 18-inch pots for the young marigold plants. Self-watering clay, ceramic or cement pots will keep the soil moist outdoors even in dry weather. If a self-watering pot is not available, you can use a regular one and just check the soil each day for moisture levels. Water the marigolds whenever the soil feels dry to the touch.

Potting Soil

Marigolds prefer moist soil. Add some clay mixture to regular potting soil to help make it retain moisture. You can also add a slow-acting granular fertilizer to help encourage as many blossoms as possible. Do not use potting soil directly as this will be too dry.

Growing the Marigolds

Once planted, marigolds require sunlight and water. Position in an area that receives southern exposure. It is important to keep the soil moist, but not overwatered.

Harmful garden insects will avoid the marigold, so they are not a vital concern to the plant.

If using large outdoor pots, place them about 4 inches apart. Place taller marigolds in the center with the dwarf varieties on the outside.

Caring for Marigolds

Marigolds will blossom throughout the spring, summer, and early fall so long as they are deadheaded. Deadheading will also encourage more blossoms. Simply snip off the dead flower with your fingertips, and more flowers will grow.

If the plants get too crowded in a small container, transplant them to another container. Allow airflow between the plants to prevent them from getting powdery mildew when they are watered or when exposed to humidity.

Watch the video: How to grow Marigold from seeds fast and easy, grow Marigold from seeds at home for free