Bright and Sunny Marigolds

    • Attract hummingbirds to your patio this summer with hummingbird feeders, so you can enjoy their iridescent beauty and charm. The new Big Gulp™ holds 40 oz. and is easy to fill.
    • Azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons can be pruned now without sacrificing next years bloom. Ask at your nursery if you need help.
    • Paint trunks of young fruit trees with Tree Trunk White. This will keep the soft bark from sun-burning which leaves cracks for borer insects, the most common cause of death of young apple trees.
    • Earwigs are out and about and hungry. Control them with the new “Sluggo Plus”, which has the natural, bacteria-based spinosad added to the original iron phosphate formula.
    • Stake or cage tomato plants before they get any larger.

Bright and Sunny Marigolds

Marigolds have a long and rambling history traveling from their native Mexico, where they were used and admired by the Aztecs, across the ocean to Europe and African and finally back to America. Through their meandering journey, some varieties became known as African marigolds and others as French marigolds.

Since the 1920s marigold breeding has developed hundreds of new varieties. The glorious marigold flowers come in all the colors of the sun – brilliant yellow, bold orange, rich gold and russet tones, and bright white. Their diversity of flower types and drought tolerance make them a very valuable bedding plant for summer gardens.

African marigolds are both the largest marigold plants and the largest flowers. Standing up to 3 feet tall, their large, fully double flower heads can be 3-5 inches across. They come in yellow, gold, orange and primrose (light yellow) and make fine cut flowers.

The largest of these are the Crackerjack marigolds. This is a fine, open-pollinated heirloom variety that will bloom all summer with hardly any attention. The Lady and Perfection series offer plants that grow 18-24 inches tall with blooms that measure 3-4 inches across. The Inca and Antigua marigolds are a little shorter, at around 14-16 inches tall with sturdy stems and flowers up to 3 inches across.

French marigolds are a different species of marigold and offer more variety of flower shape and color. They are bushy and compact with small flowers, up to 2 inches across, and a neat overall appearance. The plants usually grow 8-12 inches tall, and the flowers vary from single to semi-double to fully double. They come in both solid and bi-colored types in yellow, orange and mahogany-red.

You’ll find regular French marigolds with names like Yellow Boy or Janie Orange. The semi-double types are often bi-colored with red and yellow flowers and names like Durango Bee or Safari Red. The ruffled petals give them a very showy appearance.

A third type of marigold has flattened petals in a single layer with a central tuft. They are called Signet marigolds and Disco is a popular mix. They bloom early and abundantly on compact plants with delicate, lacy foliage, and are excellent for edging beds and in window boxes.

Triploid marigolds are a cross between African types and French types. Since they set no seed as they mature, the plants will produce flowers continuously over a long season. Zenith and Nugget marigolds are triploids.

All types of marigolds prefer full sun and grow in almost any soil with dry to moderate moisture. While the marigolds are an attractive addition to the garden, research studies have concluded that they aren’t effective in reducing insect damage on vegetable crops.

Enjoy this versatile flower in your flower beds and borders.

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