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How to Care for Marigold Plants? A Brief Guide

Marigolds or Tagetes are a genus of herbaceous plants in the family Asteraceae. These plants are native to Mexico and have blooms that occur in golden, orange, yellow, and white colours. Let’s take a look at how to plant and care for them at home.

Aarushi Chadha
Marigold Plants
Marigold Plants

The marigold plant is known for its musky, pungent smell and multi-coloured blooms. This plant is usually grown as a companion plant to tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, chilli pepper, and tobacco because they can deter some common insect pests such as nematodes. Marigold is cultivated in many countries.

In Mexico, marigolds are regarded as the flower of the dead in pre-Hispanic Mexico. Therefore, it is widely used in the Day of the Dead celebrations. Pot Marigold is a variety of marigold that was historically used in Indian, Middle Eastern, Greek, and Roman cultures for medicinal purposes. In India, marigolds are heavily used as decoration for religious events, festivals, and weddings.

Why plant marigolds?

Experienced gardeners love planting marigolds in their gardens not only because of their bright, bold, and bountiful blooms but also because these plants are easy to grow from seeds. They can survive even if neglected for some time. It repels mosquitoes and other pests, making them the perfect companion plants. And their flowers can be incorporated as a garnish in dishes as long as the plant is grown without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.


Marigolds can thrive in any garden soil, however, it does not prefer very acidic soils. Try to keep the pH level of the soil between 6 to 7. This plant also doesn’t require soil that is rich in organic matter. Unless the soil is particularly low on nutrients, marigold plants do not require any supplemental fertilizer.  

Sunlight and Temperature

Marigolds thrive in an outdoor setting with access to direct sunlight. Improper light conditions can cause the plant to produce fewer flowers and even become leggy. This plant thrives in warmer climate and can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels. Flowering usually picks up as the weather cools down in summer and fall.


To prevent fungal diseases and pest infestations, it is advised to water the marigold plant at the base and not from overhead. This also prevents the flowerhead from rotting due to excess moisture. Let the soil dry a little between each watering session. Remember to water the plant regularly during the summers.

Pest and Disease Management

While it is true that marigolds are planted next to crops in order to protect them from pests, however, they are still prone to some pest and disease issues when not taken care of properly. For instance, powdery mildew is the most common disease in marigolds. It is a fungal disease that occurs when there is no good air circulation between plants and when the plants are watered by overhead spraying rather than ground-soaking. Signs of this disease include white residue on affected leaves.

It is not a fatal disease and can be treated easily. When it comes to pests, marigolds attract snails, slugs, and aphids. Snails and slugs usually eat the leaves of young plants. Snail and slug infestation can be prevented by keeping the soil free of leaf debris. On the other hand, during an aphid infestation, you’ll notice small dark insects on the underside of the infected plants. This infestation can be treated by spraying a common insecticidal soap or oil on the plant.


If you wish to grow more marigold plants from your existing marigold plant, then collect its seeds. The seeds of marigold are contained inside the flowerheads. To save the seeds, allow the flowerheads to mature and dry while still intact on the plant. When the flowerheads are fully dried, remove the petals and shake out the seeds.

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