African marigold (Tagestes erecta), or Aztec marigold, is one of the most popular annual flowers. You will find African Marigold information, facts and details on growing and caring for these brightly colored orange or yellow flowers.
African Marigold Facts and Information
Tagestes erecta varieties grow well in most Zones and are very easy to grow. They will reach 12-32” h x 12-18” w. It is an annual that is often used in borders, as bedding plants and container plants. They have an upright form and a medium texture. African marigolds are the taller versions of marigolds, and the smaller varieties are known as French Marigolds.
African Marigold Flowers
The flowers of African marigolds are large and the plants may grow fairly tall. The colors vary from bright orange, to yellow, maroon, magenta, to a creamy white. The most popular colors continue to be the yellow and orange varieties.
Companion Plants for Marigolds
You may want to include snapdragon, flowering kale, or dusty miller. I prefer adding in purple petunias to contrast the colors. Be sure you check the heights of any annuals or perennials that you put them with since you do not want the marigolds to be taller than your other plants. Try to space your plants by heights or group each flower variety into its own little section of the garden to add varying heights and a more appealing flower bed.
African Marigold Care
Plant marigolds 10-15” apart in late spring. Apply slow-release granular plant food at time of planting, or begin using water-soluble plant food 3 weeks after planting. Follow label directions for amount and frequency. Apply 3” of vegetative mulch in summer to reduce weed seed germination, hold moisture in the soil, and as it decomposed, add organic matter to the soil. Water deeply when the soil is dry.
Rainfall and overhead irrigation may damage heavy dense flower heads. Drip irrigation is preferred when available. Deadhead spent or damaged blooms to encourage reblooming. Remove plants by frost or after foliage is disfigured. Cover bare soil with 3” of vegetative mulch during winter to preserve topsoil.
African Marigold Seeds
Sprinkle seeds over the growing medium and leave exposed to light or cover lightly. Thoroughly moisten and keep moist, not soggy, until seeds germinate. Germination occurs in 7 days at 72-75 degrees. Transplant 10-15 days after sowing. After transplanting, reduce temperature to 65 degrees.
*You will find that marigolds are relatively inexpensive and readily available at most outlets that sell plants. Marigolds are easy to grow and can actually be placed in most soils and will tolerate heat fairly well once established.
Pests and Diseases: Diseases include botrytis and powdery mildew.
Related Marigold Species
French marigold ( Tagestes patula) are shorter and have smaller flowers than African marigolds. French marigolds reach 6-12” high and bears single or double flowers up to 2” across in single or multicolors including yellow, orange, and red-brown.