Not all marigolds are annuals… Tangerine Scented Marigold is a shrubby perennial form

Marigolds (Tagetes sp) of all species are native to the Americas ranging from the southwestern US through Central America to Argentina. It is a popular warm season annual, in part because it provides a high success rate to all levels of gardeners and has so few potential pitfalls. Available from most nurseries as either seeds or starts, marigolds produce flowers over a long period of time and are a long lasting cut flower. Additionally, marigolds come in a wide spectrum of interesting cultivars with a range of flower colors from white to yellows and reds as well as a variety of heights.

Marigolds require a sunny location, moderately fertile soil and water in moderation. Overfertilization and excessive moisture results in heavy foliage and few flowers. If you aren't able to find any marigold starts you like or if you prefer to grow your own plants from seed, consider sowing seeds in small indoor containers in early spring and transplant to recycled six-packs when seedlings are large enough to handle. Once seedlings are well established, about four weeks later, transplant them to their permanent location; you should see flowers seven to nine weeks after sowing seed. Though marigolds are subject to far less insect and disease problems than most annuals, be wary of night raiders such as earwigs, slugs & snails, especially when planting seed… tender young plans can be consumed within a matter of days or overnight!

Some of the French marigold cultivars (Tangerine', 'Petite Gold', 'Petite Harmony', 'Goldie', and 'Nemagold') and Mexican marigold (Tagetes minuta) are effective in reducing soil nematodes, bean beetles, squash bugs, tomato hornworm, thrips and whiteflies when planted closely in a solid block.

Tangerine Scented Marigold

Tangerine Scented Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii) Tangerine Scented Marigold (Tagetes lemmonii) is a shrubby herbaceous perennial in the sunflower family (Asteraceae) that flowers virtually year round in Davis and is covered with aromatic, airy foliage and vibrant yellow daisy-like blooms; Tagetes is the genus encompassing our more commonly seen small annual marigolds. Other common names for this fast growing shrub include Mount Lemmon Marigold, Mountain Marigold, Bush Marigold, Mexican Bush Marigold, Copper Canyon Daisy and Mexican Tarragon. This aromatic, drought resistant native originates from southern Arizona to southern Mexico, enjoys full sun and grows to about 6-8 feet in height. Planting in dry poor soil will help the plant remain relatively compact to avoid having to prune off all its flowers. Its aromatic leaves smell like a blend of marigold, mint and lemon.

For a listing of other plants found growing in Davis, visit our Town Flora.