Growing a Marigold from Seeds
Marigold seeds grow into beautiful flowers in a variety of colors such as yellows, oranges, and deep reds. These annual flowers are very easy to grow and come in sizes ranging from 6 inches to over 2 feet tall. They can be grown alone or mixed with other flowers, and do well in containers indoors.
Step 1 - Know When to Plant
The marigold is a hardy flower but it cannot withstand frost. Therefore, you should plant the seeds only when the danger of the last frost has passed.
You can plant the seeds in a container indoors six weeks before the last frost and transplant them to an outdoor location later. Select a clay or peat pot with good drainage holes. Fill it with good potting soil and mix and space the seeds 4 to 6 inches apart. Place the pot near a sunny window or under a bright lamp, and water lightly. Indoor or outdoor germination takes between three days and two weeks.
Step 2 - Select Location and Prepare the Soil
Marigold seeds are typically planted in and along flowerbeds, in vegetable gardens, or along walkways. Select an area that will receive at least six hours of direct sunlight and one that has good drainage. Adding lots of compost will improve soil quality. Loosen the soil with a garden trowel to prepare it for planting.
Step 3 - Plant the Seeds
Marigold seeds resemble dry blades of grass and are very light, so plant them carefully to avoid their blowing away. Plant the seeds ¼ inch into the soil. Spacing between the seeds will depend on the variety of marigold you wish to grow, so follow the instructions on the seed packet. Back-fill and add a layer of mulch to remove weeds and retain moisture. Slightly water the soil, making it moist but not too wet, and lightly fertilize.
Step 4 - Care
Established marigolds are easy to grow, and do well even if they are left unattended. They need to be watered once a week, and twice during dry spells to keep the soil fairly moist. Feed them a general-purpose fertilizer once a month to produce healthy plants and flowers.
Thinning may be required to increase the space between the plants and help them grow well. Pinch back tall varieties to encourage bushy growth. Flowers will begin to grow around mid-summer and continue until fall. Removing fading flowers will enable the plants to produce new buds.
Step 5 - Pest Control
Marigolds are generally pest-free because of their pungent odor and are often grown in vegetable gardens to repel insects that may damage the crops. Slugs, however, can pose a threat to your marigolds. In wet weather, they can be seen crawling up the plants to reach the leaves they like to chew. Since they can ruin entire marigold gardens, keep a lookout for them. If a problem occurs, treat it immediately to prevent major damage.