Marigold – Most Common and Easy to Grow Flowering Plant

Marigold – Most Common and Easy to Grow Flowering Plant
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Dori / CC BY-SA

Marigold is one of the most common annual flowering plants grown in India. It is a group of plants belonging to the sunflower family. They are used mostly as ornamental plants. They are also said to have certain medicinal properties. It has gained popularity because they are easy to grow and widely adaptable with attractive colors of flowers in different sizes and shapes. The cultivated species of marigold are mostly two: African marigold –Tagetes erecta and French Marigold–Tagetes patula.

Quick Details of Marigold

Other NamesGenda (Hindi)
TypeOutdoor Flowering Plant.
MaintenanceLow
Flowering SessionLate Spring
LightBright Direct Light
WaterNormal
TemperatureCan survive the harsh climate
SoilAny well-drained potting soil
Fertilizer Any house plant fertilizer (Do not over fertilize)
HabitatMexico
ToxicityNo, Marigold are not toxic to Humans and Pets
ProblemsNo or very less Flowering, Mostly resistant to diseases
Scientific nameTagetes erecta, T. patula, T. tenuifolia, etc

Marigold Plant Overview

It is an annual or perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Asteraceae family.

It is said to be a native of South Mexico but some of the species are present all around the world. There are approximately around 50 species of marigold. The leaves are pinnate The flowers are usually golden, orange, yellow, and white colors, often with highlights in maroons. They have fibrous roots. The plant can grow up to a height of   0.1 to 2.2 m tall. The flower head consists of both ray floret and disc floret.

Uses of Marigold

  • It is an ornamental plant with colorful and showy flowers.
  • It is used as a natural food colorant.
  • Used for decoration and also plays a major role in Indian culture.
  • Marigold is having lots of Medicinal use as well:
    • Has been used to heal skin wounds, inflammations, rashes, etc.
    • Flavonoids present in marigold are used for the treatment of cancer.
    • Used for detoxifying the body.
    • Believed to reduce menstrual pain.
    • Used as an insect repellent.
    • They attract beneficial insects thus helping reduce pests.
    • Source of essential oil called “marigold oil”

Marigold General Care

Most important Marigold need full direct sunlight.

Growing / Flowering Season: They can be planted during the spring and require proper sunlight. The marigold can be grown in pots, but proper and faster growth is seen when grown on land. The seeds are to be sown. The plants germinate quickly and can flower in around eight weeks. Flowering season for the Marigold is late spring.

Pruning: Deadheading will improve the plant ‘s appearance and stimulate further bloom later in the season. For more bushy growth pinch the young plants. Pinch and remove new growth at the top of the plant as close to the next leaf nodes on the stem as possible.

Soil: A moderately fertile and well-drained soil suits best. The rate of growth can reduce in clay soil.

Watering: It is best to water marigolds at the base of the plant, not overhead. With excess moisture, the densely double flower heads will tend to rot. Allow the soil to dry somewhat between watering but in high heat or dry weather, do water regularly. Marigolds growing in pots should be watered regularly.

Light: Marigold plants require direct sunlight. Even though they can grow in shade, better growth is seen when there is a supply of proper sunlight. The plant can withstand extreme conditions for a limited period.

Fertilizer: A 5-10-5 fertilizer may be added when transplanting but is completely optional. Marigolds growing on the ground do not require any fertilizer. However, the use of fertilizer can boost the growth of the foliage. Liquid fertilizer can be added to the plants grown in pots.

Pest Control and Other Problems

Marigold can resist several pests. However, some of the commonly caused diseases include Gray mold, leaf spot, powdery mildew, and root rot. The plant is also susceptible to leaf miners and spider mites. Some of the common problems and diseases are:

Marigold is Not or Less Flowering: This is one of the most common issues with Marigold if it is grown on a terrace or balcony. One of the main reasons for this is over fertilized soil. Over fertilized soil can make Marigolds lush and green, but may produce few blooms. Also, lack of sunlight can result in very less flowers or no flowers.

Damping-off: It is caused by Rhizoctonia solani and appears as brown necrotic spots that girdle the radicle. It can be controlled by treating the seeds before sowing with Captan @ 3 g or Carbendazim @ 2.5 g per kilogram.

Flower Bud Rot: It is caused by the Alternaria dianthi. The disease occurs primarily on young buds of flowers and results in the dry rotting of buds. Symptoms on mature buds are less pronounced but those buds do not open. It can be controlled by spraying the crop with Dithane M- 45 @ 0.2%

Leaf spot and blight: Caused due to Alternaria sp., Septoria sp., Cercospora sp. There is an appearance of brown circular and brownish grey spots. It can be controlled by spraying fungicides

Powdery Mildew: Caused due to Oidium sp. This causes the appearance of Whitish, tiny, superficial spots on leaves, which later spreads to the aerial parts of the plant. It can be controlled by applying sulphur compounds, Carbendazim, Triadimefon, Fenerimol, Penconazole and Triforine on leaves

Collar and Root Rot: Caused due to Pellicularia filamentosa, P.rolfsii, Pythium ultimum, Sclerotinia sclerotiarum, etc. Mostly seen in plants grown in the nursery. There is rotting of roots and collar portions of the plant resulting in wilting. It can be controlled by fumigating the soil and planting healthy seedings

Propagation

Propagation is through seeds: Allowing the flower heads to fade and dry intact on the plant can conserve seeds. Remove the petals when fully dried and shake the seeds which can be further sown on the soil.

Propagation by stem cutting: Herbaceous cuttings, each with one or two pairs of leaves, are either inserted into a seed pan or nursery beds in a sand medium. A rooting hormone can be used to ensure the development of roots from the shoot.

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