Tagetes or marigolds. Advice, cultivation and care of the Tagetes plant

Tagetes or marigolds. Advice, cultivation and care of the Tagetes plant

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Note 1

The Tagetes, small and nice plants, are bred to brighten up our gardens with their colorful flowers.






: Angiosperms


: Eudicotyledons


: Asteris






Asteraceae (Compositae)











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Tagetes, of the large family ofAsteraceae, includes numerous plants all native to Mexico.

These are very decorative annual or perennial herbaceous plants, with particularly incised lanceolate leaves and the flowers gathered in single or double flower heads (similar to daisies) which, however, do not emanate a particularly degrading scent and a color that varies from lemon yellow to orange.

Generally they are plants that are grown in gardens as borders or to make beds.


It is a genus with about 50 species. On the market there are many cultivar hybrids all derived from the species: T. erecta, T. patula and T. tenuifolia.


The species Tagetes erecta as the name suggests, it has an erect, highly branched posture and can grow up to one meter in height (30-100 cm). It has deeply engraved leaves of a very intense green color. The flowers have lemon-yellow petals, 5 cm in diameter, although there are numerous hybrids that can reach 15 cm in diameter.

Note 1

The characteristic of the flowers is the presence of ligules (very developed petals that grow towards the outside of the flower head, commonly called petalima which are not petals), more or less frayed and so developed as to represent the whole flower giving an imposing appearance to the whole plant. Flowering lasts from summer to autumn (July - October).

Note 1

Note 1

They are plants commonly known as flower of the dead, skunk or Indian rose.

They are also widely used as a cut flower.


There Tagetes patula it is a small annual plant not exceeding 40cm in height (30-40cm). The leaves are arranged along the stem alternately, opposite, deeply engraved and of an intense green color. The flowers are solitary, with a diameter ranging from 4 to 6 cm carried by long peduncles.

They are very decorative as they have yellow petals with yellow ligules streaked with red. It blooms from summer to autumn (July - September) producing simple and solitary flower heads. There are numerous cultivars that differ in the color and shape of the flowers. This plant is also known under the name of "Garofanod'India".


The species T. tenuifolia is originally from Mexico. It is an annual plant that grows up to 60 cm in height, characterized by thin branches with light green leaves. It blooms from July to September forming solitary terminal flower heads up to 2.5-3 cm wide.

On the market, from these three species, four large groups of hybrids have originated, which are:

African group whose annual plants are derived from T. erecta with large yellow-orange terminal flower heads, double pompoms and up to 12 cm wide, blooming from late spring to autumn;
  • French group, whose annual plants are all derived from T. patulawith double terminal flower heads up to 5 cm wide, brick red-yellow-orange or variegated, blooming from late spring to late autumn;
  • Afro-French group derived from the cross between T. erecta x T. patulaFrom late spring to autumn it produces yellow or orange flower heads with a diameter of no more than 6 cm, often streaked with red;
  • Signet group derived from T. tenuifolia which produce numerous terminal flower heads no more than 2.5 cm wide of yellow-orange color from late spring to autumn.

    The species Glossy tagetes it is a small perennial plant (even if it is raised as an annual) that does not exceed 50 cm in height (30-50 cm) with smooth, lanceolate or toothed leaves of a very intense green color. The flowers are small (diameter 1-1.5 cm), gathered in corymb inflorescences and of the typical color of the genus: golden yellow or orange yellow.

    Note 1

    Note 1


    TheTagetes they are easy to cultivate plants requiring no special care.

    They are plants that are raised annually (even perennials) so at the end of flowering, in autumn, the plant is left to dry.

    They love the sun therefore they must be transplanted or preferably positioned in sunny areas, sheltered from currents and wind (close to a wall would be perfect).


    Irrigation must be very moderate.


    We cannot speak of repotting as they are species raised as annuals. In any case we keep in mind that when planting the seedlings it is necessary to use a poorly fertile soil in fact a fertile soil would favor a greater development of the green parts at the expense of the flowers. It also needs to be very well draining so that it dries easily.


    In general Tagetes, for the duration of their annual cycle, they do not fertilize.


    Usually they are not pruned. Only the parts that dry out or become damaged should be eliminated.


    The flowering period generally runs from summer to autumn (July-October).

    Note 1


    The Tagetes they multiply by seed.


    The seeds are planted in March-April, in boxes or pots that are kept at a temperature of about 18 ° C. The young seedlings are transplanted in May in soils with little organic matter as too fertile soils would favor an excessive development of the green parts to the detriment of the flowers. The seedlings, once born, are transplanted in a sunny position, watering very moderately.

    For the species T. erecta is T. lucida the distance between the row and along the row should be about 30-40 cm.


    Presence of small insects on the plant

    Plants can be prone to attacks by aphids, small white-yellowish-greenish mobile insects commonly known as lice.

    Remedies: it is necessary to treat the plants with specific pesticides readily available from a good nurseryman. These are generally systemic products, i.e. they enter the lymphatic circulation of the plant and are therefore absorbed during the nutrition of the insects.


    The name of the genus comes from an Etruscan deity, tagus.

    Curiously, in the English language this plant is commonly called african marigoldor rose of Idde.

    A special feature of all Tagetes is that the roots emit substances that have nematicide properties. For this reason they are often cultivated in association with tomatoes or roses, to remove these animals from the ground.

    (1) Courtesy of Forest & Kim Starr, image licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

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