how long do marigolds take to grow from seed

How to Grow Marigolds from Seed in No Time: A Complete Guide

Marigolds are one of the most popular and easy-to-grow flowers in the world. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and they can brighten up any garden with their cheerful blooms. But did you know that you can grow marigolds from seed in just a few weeks? In this article, we will show you how to grow marigolds from seed in no time, from planting to harvesting. We will also share some tips and tricks on how to care for your marigolds, how to use them in your garden, and how to save their seeds for next year.

Key Takeaways

TopicSummary
How long do marigolds take to grow from seed?Marigold seeds can germinate in 4 to 14 days and flower in 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the variety and the growing conditions.
How to plant marigold seeds?Marigold seeds can be sown indoors or outdoors in pots or trays with moist and well-drained soil mix. They should be covered lightly with soil and watered gently. They need warm temperatures, bright light, and good ventilation to germinate.
How to transplant marigold seedlings?Marigold seedlings should be transplanted when they have 2 to 4 true leaves and are about 3 inches tall. They should be hardened off before moving them outdoors. They should be planted in a sunny and airy spot with rich and well-drained soil. They should be spaced 6 to 18 inches apart, depending on the variety.
How to care for marigolds?Marigolds need regular watering, but not too much or too little. They need occasional fertilizing with organic or synthetic fertilizers. They need pruning and deadheading to promote bushy growth and more blooms.
How to use marigolds in your garden?Marigolds can benefit your garden by repelling pests and diseases, attracting pollinators and beneficial insects, adding color and fragrance, and improving soil quality. They can be planted with compatible companion plants such as tomatoes, basil, beans, etc. They can be used in different garden designs and styles such as cottage, formal, container, etc.

How Long Do Marigolds Take to Grow from Seed?

marigold seeds planted in soil, with seedlings starting to sprout

One of the most common questions that gardeners have about marigolds is how long do they take to grow from seed. The answer is not very simple, as it depends on several factors such as:

  • The variety of marigold: There are many types of marigolds, such as African, French, Mexican, pot, etc. Each type has different characteristics such as size, shape, color, bloom time, etc. For example, African marigolds are larger and taller than French marigolds, but they also take longer to flower.
  • The growing conditions: The temperature, moisture, light, and soil quality can affect the germination and growth time of marigold seeds. For example, warmer temperatures can speed up germination, while colder temperatures can delay it. Likewise, too much or too little water can cause problems such as damping off or poor germination.
  • The care practices: The way you sow, transplant, water, fertilize, prune, and deadhead your marigolds can also influence their growth rate. For example, sowing too deep or too shallow can affect germination, while transplanting too early or too late can cause shock or stunting.

However, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect your marigold seeds to germinate in 4 to 14 days and flower in 8 to 10 weeks after sowing. Here is a table that shows the average time range for each stage of marigold growth:

StageTime Range
SowingAnytime after the last frost date
Germination4 to 14 days
Transplanting4 to 6 weeks after sowing
Flowering8 to 10 weeks after sowing

Of course, these are only estimates and may vary depending on the factors mentioned above. Some common problems that you may encounter when growing marigolds from seed are:

  • Damping off: This is a fungal disease that causes the seedlings to rot at the base and collapse. It is usually caused by overwatering, poor drainage, or contaminated soil. To prevent it, you should use sterile soil mix, avoid overwatering, and provide good ventilation.
  • Poor germination: This is when the seeds fail to sprout or sprout very slowly. It is usually caused by sowing too deep, too shallow, or too densely, or by using old or low-quality seeds. To prevent it, you should sow the seeds lightly, about 1/4 inch deep, and space them evenly, about 2 inches apart. You should also use fresh and high-quality seeds.
  • Legginess: This is when the seedlings grow tall and thin with weak stems and few leaves. It is usually caused by insufficient light, too much heat, or too much fertilizer. To prevent it, you should provide bright and direct light, moderate temperatures, and balanced fertilizer.
  • Pests: Marigolds are generally resistant to pests and diseases, but they may still attract some unwanted visitors such as aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, snails, slugs, etc. To prevent them, you should inspect your plants regularly and remove any infested parts. You can also use natural remedies such as neem oil, soap spray, or diatomaceous earth.

How to Plant Marigold Seeds: Step by Step Instructions

showing hands sprinkling marigold seeds onto soil in a container

Now that you know how long do marigolds take to grow from seed, you may be wondering how to plant them. Marigold seeds are easy to sow and can be started indoors or outdoors, depending on your preference and climate. Here are the steps to plant marigold seeds:

Materials and Tools

To plant marigold seeds, you will need the following materials and tools:

  • Marigold seeds: You can buy them from a garden center, online, or save them from your own plants. There are many varieties of marigolds to choose from, such as African, French, Mexican, pot, etc. Each variety has different characteristics such as size, shape, color, bloom time, etc. You can mix and match different varieties or stick to one type.
  • Pots or trays: You can use any containers that have drainage holes at the bottom. They can be made of plastic, clay, metal, or wood. You can use small pots for individual seedlings or large trays for multiple seedlings. Make sure they are clean and sterilized before use.
  • Soil mix: You can use a commercial potting mix or make your own by mixing equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and compost. The soil mix should be moist but not soggy, well-drained but not too loose, and fertile but not too rich.
  • Labels: You can use wooden sticks, plastic tags, or paper clips to label your pots or trays with the name and date of the seeds. This will help you keep track of your seedlings and avoid confusion.
  • Watering can: You can use any watering device that has a fine nozzle or a spray bottle to water your seeds gently and evenly. Avoid using a hose or a bucket that can wash away or dislodge the seeds.
  • Plastic wrap or dome: You can use a clear plastic wrap or a dome to cover your pots or trays to create a mini greenhouse effect. This will help retain moisture and heat and speed up germination.

Instructions

Once you have gathered all the materials and tools, you can follow these instructions to plant your marigold seeds:

  1. Fill your pots or trays with the soil mix up to 3/4 full. Tap them lightly to settle the soil and make it level.
  2. Sprinkle your marigold seeds on top of the soil, about 2 inches apart. Do not sow them too densely or they will compete for space and nutrients.
  3. Cover your seeds lightly with a thin layer of soil, about 1/4 inch deep. Do not bury them too deep or they will not germinate.
  4. Water your seeds gently and evenly with a watering can or a spray bottle. The soil should be moist but not soggy. Avoid overwatering or underwatering your seeds as this can cause problems such as damping off or poor germination.
  5. Label your pots or trays with the name and date of the seeds. This will help you remember what you planted and when you planted it.
  6. Cover your pots or trays with a clear plastic wrap or a dome to create a mini greenhouse effect. This will help retain moisture and heat and speed up germination.
  7. Place your pots or trays in a warm and bright spot, such as a windowsill, a greenhouse, or under artificial lights. The ideal temperature for marigold seed germination is between 70°F and 75°F (21°C and 24°C). The ideal light exposure is 12 to 14 hours per day.
  8. Check your pots or trays daily for signs of germination and moisture level. Remove the plastic wrap or dome as soon as you see the first sprouts emerge from the soil. This usually takes 4 to 14 days depending on the variety and the growing conditions.
  9. Continue watering your seedlings gently and evenly as needed to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

How to Transplant Marigold Seedlings: When and How to Do It

how long do marigolds take to grow from seed

After you have planted your marigold seeds and watched them germinate and grow, you may be wondering when and how to transplant them to their final location. Transplanting marigold seedlings is an important step that can affect their health and growth. Here are the steps to transplant marigold seedlings:

Materials and Tools

To transplant marigold seedlings, you will need the following materials and tools:

  • Marigold seedlings: You should have healthy and strong seedlings that have 2 to 4 true leaves and are about 3 inches tall. You should also have enough seedlings for your desired planting area.
  • Pots or garden bed: You can transplant your marigold seedlings into larger pots or directly into your garden bed. The pots or the garden bed should have drainage holes at the bottom and be filled with rich and well-drained soil mix.
  • Trowel: You can use a small hand tool with a pointed blade to dig holes for your seedlings.
  • Scissors: You can use a sharp pair of scissors to cut off any damaged or diseased parts of your seedlings.
  • Watering can: You can use any watering device that has a fine nozzle to water your seedlings gently and evenly.

Instructions

Once you have gathered all the materials and tools, you can follow these instructions to transplant your marigold seedlings:

  1. Harden off your marigold seedlings before transplanting them outdoors. This means gradually exposing them to the outdoor conditions for a week or two, starting with a few hours per day and increasing the time and intensity each day. This will help them adapt to the sun, wind, temperature, and humidity changes and avoid shock and damage.
  2. Choose the best spot and spacing for planting your marigold seedlings in your garden or containers. Marigolds need full sun, at least 6 hours per day, and good air circulation to thrive. They also need enough space to grow without crowding each other. The spacing depends on the variety of marigold, but generally, you should space them 6 to 18 inches apart, center to center.
  3. Dig holes for your seedlings with a trowel, about twice as wide and deep as their root balls. The holes should be spaced according to the variety of marigold and your desired design.
  4. Remove your seedlings from their original pots or trays by gently squeezing the sides and turning them upside down. Hold the stem with one hand and tap the bottom with the other hand until the root ball slides out. Do not pull or tug on the stem or roots as this can damage them.
  5. Place your seedlings in the holes, making sure that their root balls are level with the soil surface. Do not bury them too deep or too shallow as this can cause problems such as rotting or drying out.
  6. Fill the holes with soil, gently pressing it around the root balls to eliminate any air pockets. Do not pack it too tightly or too loosely as this can affect drainage and aeration.
  7. Water your seedlings well with a watering can, making sure that the soil is moist but not soggy. Avoid splashing water on the leaves or flowers as this can cause diseases or fungal infections.
  8. Mulch your seedlings lightly with organic material such as straw, grass clippings, or bark chips to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate temperature.

How to Care for Marigolds: Watering, Fertilizing, Pruning, and Deadheading

demonstrating deadheading of spent marigold flowers

Once you have transplanted your marigold seedlings to their final location, you may be wondering how to care for them. Marigolds are not very demanding plants, but they do need some basic care to keep them healthy and blooming. Here are the main aspects of marigold care:

Watering

Marigolds need regular watering, but not too much or too little. The soil should be moist but not soggy, and never allowed to dry out completely. Overwatering or underwatering can cause problems such as root rot, wilting, yellowing, or dropping of leaves and flowers.

The frequency and amount of watering depend on the weather conditions, the type of soil, and the size of the pots or the garden bed. As a general rule, you should water your marigolds once or twice a week in the summer and once every two weeks in the winter. You should also water them more often if they are in containers or in sandy soil, and less often if they are in clay soil or in rainy areas.

The best time to water your marigolds is in the morning or evening, when the sun is not too strong. This will prevent evaporation and scorching of the leaves and flowers. The best way to water your marigolds is by using a watering can with a fine nozzle or a soaker hose that delivers water directly to the root zone. This will prevent splashing water on the leaves or flowers, which can cause diseases or fungal infections.

Fertilizing

Marigolds need occasional fertilizing, but not too much or too often. Too much fertilizer can cause problems such as excessive growth, fewer flowers, or burning of the roots and foliage.

The type and amount of fertilizer depend on the quality of the soil and the variety of marigold. As a general rule, you should use a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K), such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. You can use either organic or synthetic fertilizers, such as compost, manure, fish emulsion, blood meal, bone meal, etc.

The frequency and method of fertilizing depend on the form and concentration of the fertilizer. As a general rule, you should fertilize your marigolds once a month during the growing season (spring to fall). You can apply the fertilizer either by mixing it with water and watering your plants with it (liquid fertilizer), or by sprinkling it around the base of your plants and watering it in (granular fertilizer).

You should always follow the instructions on the label of the fertilizer and avoid overfeeding your marigolds. You should also stop fertilizing your marigolds about a month before the first frost date in your area.

Pruning

Marigolds need regular pruning, but not too much or too often. Pruning can help your marigolds maintain a compact and bushy shape, prevent diseases and pests, and promote more blooms.

The main types of pruning that you can do for your marigolds are:

  • Pinching: This is when you remove the growing tips of your marigolds with your fingers or scissors. This will encourage branching and bushiness. You should pinch your marigolds when they are young and have 4 to 6 pairs of leaves. You can also pinch them throughout the season to keep them in shape.
  • Thinning: This is when you remove some of the stems or branches of your marigolds with scissors or pruning shears. This will improve air circulation and light penetration. You should thin your marigolds if they are overcrowded or leggy. You can also thin them if they are affected by diseases or pests.
  • Cutting back: This is when you cut off most of the stems or foliage of your marigolds with scissors or pruning shears. This will rejuvenate your marigolds and stimulate new growth and blooms. You should cut back your marigolds if they are old or damaged by frost or drought. You can also cut back your marigolds at the end of the season to prepare them for winter.

You should always use clean and sharp tools to prune your marigolds and avoid tearing or crushing their stems or leaves. You should also prune your marigolds in the morning or evening when the sun is not too strong. This will prevent stress and infection.

Deadheading

Marigolds need frequent deadheading, but not too much or too often. Deadheading is when you remove the spent flowers of your marigolds with your fingers or scissors. This will prevent seed formation and encourage more blooms.

You should deadhead your marigolds as soon as you see them fade or wilt. You should also deadhead them if they are affected by diseases or pests. You can also deadhead them if you want to collect their seeds for next year.

You should always use clean and sharp tools to deadhead your marigolds and avoid tearing or crushing their stems or leaves. You should also deadhead your marigolds in the morning or evening when the sun is not too strong. This will prevent stress and infection.

How to Use Marigolds in Your Garden: Benefits and Companion Plants

marigolds planted amongst companion plants such as tomatoes

Marigolds are not only beautiful and easy to grow, but they also have many benefits and uses in your garden. They can repel pests and diseases, attract pollinators and beneficial insects, add color and fragrance, and improve soil quality. They can also be planted with compatible companion plants to enhance their performance and appearance. Here are some of the ways you can use marigolds in your garden:

Benefits of Marigolds

Marigolds have many benefits for your garden, such as:

  • Repelling pests and diseases: Marigolds have a strong scent that can deter many pests and diseases that attack other plants, such as aphids, whiteflies, nematodes, cabbage worms, etc. They can also produce a substance called alpha-terthienyl that can kill harmful soil organisms and fungi. You can plant marigolds around or between your crops to protect them from these threats.
  • Attracting pollinators and beneficial insects: Marigolds have bright colors and nectar-rich flowers that can attract many pollinators and beneficial insects to your garden, such as bees, butterflies, ladybugs, lacewings, etc. These insects can help pollinate your crops and control pests naturally. You can plant marigolds near or among your flowers or fruits to attract these allies.
  • Adding color and fragrance: Marigolds have a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes that can add beauty and diversity to your garden. They can also create a pleasant aroma that can mask unpleasant smells or create a relaxing atmosphere. You can plant marigolds in borders, beds, containers, or hanging baskets to add color and fragrance to your garden.
  • Improving soil quality: Marigolds have deep roots that can loosen and aerate the soil, improving drainage and oxygen levels. They can also enrich the soil with organic matter and nutrients when they decompose. You can plant marigolds as a cover crop or a green manure to improve soil quality.

Companion Plants for Marigolds

Marigolds can be planted with compatible companion plants to enhance their performance and appearance. Companion plants are plants that have beneficial effects on each other when grown together, such as improving growth, yield, flavor, or health. Some of the best companion plants for marigolds are:

  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are one of the most common companion plants for marigolds, as they can benefit from their pest-repelling and soil-improving properties. Marigolds can protect tomatoes from nematodes, whiteflies, hornworms, etc. They can also improve their flavor by reducing the acidity of the soil. You can plant marigolds around or between your tomato plants to create a symbiotic relationship.
  • Basil: Basil is another popular companion plant for marigolds, as they can complement each other in terms of aroma and flavor. Basil can enhance the scent and taste of marigolds, while marigolds can deter pests that attack basil, such as aphids, spider mites, etc. You can plant basil near or among your marigold plants to create a fragrant and flavorful combination.
  • Beans: Beans are a good companion plant for marigolds, as they can benefit from their nitrogen-fixing and pest-repelling properties. Beans can fix nitrogen from the air and share it with marigolds, while marigolds can repel pests that attack beans, such as bean beetles, Mexican bean beetles, etc. You can plant beans next to or intercropped with your marigold plants to create a mutually beneficial partnership.
  • Other companion plants: There are many other plants that can be planted with marigolds as companion plants, such as lettuce, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, leeks, chives, parsley, cilantro, mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, lavender, sage, etc. These plants can benefit from the pest-repelling and soil-improving properties of marigolds.

How to Harvest and Save Marigold Seeds: A Simple Method

dried marigold flower heads with mature seeds ready for collection

If you have enjoyed growing marigolds from seed, you may want to save some of their seeds for next year. Saving marigold seeds is a simple and rewarding process that can help you preserve your favorite varieties and save money. Here are the steps to harvest and save marigold seeds:

Materials and Tools

To harvest and save marigold seeds, you will need the following materials and tools:

  • Marigold plants: You should have healthy and mature marigold plants that have produced many flowers throughout the season. You should also have different varieties of marigolds if you want to save their seeds separately.
  • Scissors: You can use a sharp pair of scissors to cut off the spent flower heads from your plants.
  • Paper bags or envelopes: You can use any paper containers that can hold your flower heads and allow air circulation. They should be clean and dry and have enough space for your seeds.
  • Labels: You can use wooden sticks, plastic tags, or paper clips to label your paper bags or envelopes with the name and date of the seeds. This will help you identify your seeds and avoid confusion.
  • A cool and dry place: You should have a place where you can store your paper bags or envelopes until the seeds are ready. It should be cool, dry, dark, and well-ventilated.

Instructions

Once you have gathered all the materials and tools, you can follow these instructions to harvest and save your marigold seeds:

  1. Choose the best flower heads for harvesting. You should select the ones that are fully dried and brown, but not moldy or rotten. They should also have large and plump seeds that are easy to see and remove. You should avoid the ones that are still green or yellow, or have small and shriveled seeds.
  2. Cut off the flower heads from your plants with scissors, leaving a short stem attached. You should do this in the morning or evening when the sun is not too strong. This will prevent moisture loss and damage.
  3. Place your flower heads in paper bags or envelopes, one variety per container. You should not mix different varieties of marigolds in the same container, as they can cross-pollinate and produce hybrid seeds that may not resemble their parents.
  4. Label your paper bags or envelopes with the name and date of the seeds. This will help you remember what you harvested and when you harvested it.
  5. Store your paper bags or envelopes in a cool and dry place until the seeds are ready. This usually takes 2 to 4 weeks depending on the humidity level. You should check your containers regularly for signs of moisture, mold, or insects, and discard any infected ones.
  6. Remove the seeds from the flower heads when they are ready. You can do this by rubbing the flower heads between your fingers or hands, or by shaking them in a bowl or a sieve. The seeds should come out easily from the husks. The seeds are small, black, and pointed at one end.
  7. Separate the seeds from the chaff (the husks, petals, stems, etc.) by blowing them gently or by using a fan or a colander. The seeds are heavier than the chaff and will fall to the bottom.
  8. Store your seeds in a cool and dry place until next year. You can use paper bags, envelopes, glass jars, plastic containers, etc., as long as they are clean, dry, and airtight. You should label your containers with the name and date of the seeds. You should also keep them away from heat, light, moisture, and pests.

Conclusion

Marigolds are wonderful flowers that can add beauty and benefits to your garden. They are easy to grow from seed and can bloom in a short time. In this article, we have shown you how to grow marigolds from seed in no time, from planting to harvesting. We have also shared some tips and tricks on how to care for your marigolds, how to use them in your garden, and how to save their seeds for next year. We hope you have enjoyed this article and learned something new about how long do marigolds take to grow from seed. Happy gardening!

About The Author

See also  How to Grow Your Own Miniature Tree from a Seed
Samantha
Samantha

I'm Samantha, a plant enthusiast who has been growing plants for years. I believe that plants can make our lives better, both physically and mentally. I started growit.wiki to share my knowledge about how to grow plants. I want to help others enjoy the beauty and benefits of plants.

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