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Marigold Flower : Meaning, Benefits & Growing Guide

If you pass a nearby flower shop, you can’t help but notice a marigold flower.

Marigolds grow during spring, summer, and autumn but undergo discharge in the winter since these flowers are sensitive to cold weather and frost.

Generally, marigold produces ball-shaped flowers in golden, orange, yellow, and white shades that bloom from late spring to fall. The flower helps repel pests and offers multiple medical benefits to human eyes. 

Marigold flowers bloom in multiple colors.

Did you know that lutein, a chemical available in marigold flowers, has numerous advantages for the human eye?

Let’s know how you can make marigold bloom and leverage the benefits.

Marigold Flower Overview

Marigold plants are native to the Americas, ranging from the southwestern United States to South America, but some species are also available worldwide. 

Tagetes species range from 0.1 to 2.2 meters in height and boast of having green pinnate leaves. Now, let’s explore more exciting facts about marigold flowers from the table below. 

Parameters Features
Flower TypeBisexual flower
Structure Compact flower consisting of numerous densely packed petals that appear to grow in solitary or cluster
Shape Ball-shaped flower with bracts forming a cup-shaped base below each flower head.
Size Generally the floral heads are about (1-) to 4–6 cm diameter
Color Golden, orange, yellow, and white colors, sometimes with maroon highlights on edges
FragranceVery faint musky, pungent, unpleasant smell that repel critters and insects
Blooming Season Late spring to fall
Seed Pods Flower head turn to seed pods consisting about 30-35 seeds
Toxicity Non-toxic to both human and pets

Is Marigold a Perennial or Annual Plant?

Generally, marigolds can be perennials that regrow every spring in one stance and also annuals that live for only one growing season and fade.

Most common marigolds thrive for a single season and degenerate with the first frost dropping seeds and reseeding themselves for the next year.

These self-seeding plants grow as perennial and return from seeds yearly, but in some cases, some marigolds do not regrow every year.

Some perennial marigold species are Tagetes Lucida and Tagetes Lucida. 

However, coreopsis (Tickseed) can create confusion with perennial marigolds as it also belongs to the family Asteraceae.  

The flowers from marigolds generally bloom for about three months in mid-late spring, but the flowering cycle depends on the varieties of marigolds.

For instance, French and signet marigold blooms the earliest, sometimes within 45 days of the plantation.

Marigold flowers bloom in late spring.

In contrast, African marigold takes a slightly longer time, three months or longer after plantation, to mature and thus produce blooms. 

Generally, you can see the plant dancing with crowned flowers from spring to the fall when the temperature is warm.

A single flower head blooms live for about 2 to 3 weeks before they start to wither and turn into seed pods. 

Can You Grow Marigold Flower From Seeds? 

The answer is straightforward: you can grow marigolds from seeds. The floral heads, after pollination, act as seed pods consisting of about 30-35 seeds. 

Since marigolds are bisexual flowers, pollination is easy as they can self-pollinate.

These vibrant flowers attract pollinators like moths, butterflies, honeybees, etc., which help self-pollinate or cross-pollinate the flowers. 

Although the pollination occurs naturally, you can hand pollinate if your garden lacks external pollinators. 

To hand pollinate the flowers, take a small paintbrush and transfer pollen from the anther to the top of the pistil. The tiny, slender yellow part attached with the petal is the pistil of the marigold. 

However, hand pollination in marigolds is generally tricky as identifying its anther and pistil might be pretty daunting.

You can collect Marigolds seeds once the flowers wither and dry during the start of the winter.

Marigold flowers take 2 to 3 weeks to turn into seeds.

Lay a paper on the floor and tear apart the flower heads. When you notice the seeds attached to the base, pull and collect the tiny long, slender, and pointed marigolds seeds. 

You can wrap them in paper, store them in a dry place, and sow them outdoors after the last frost date.

Plant the seeds in three about 1/2 inches deep and 7-9 inches apart, and spray water to moisten the soil regularly. 

Your marigold seeds will likely germinate within 5-7 days. You can transfer the seedlings into 10-12 inches pot when they’re two inches (5 cm.) 

How to Make a Marigold Plant Flower?

The perennial Marigolds represent hardy and resilient plants that are native to 2-11 USDA Zone. 

Although they are low maintenance and robust plant, you need to fulfill the following care regimen to get proper blooms.

  • Marigold love to bathe in the sun so provide them with at least 6-8 hours of direct sun.  However, if the light intensity is low, you can provide them 8-12 hours of full spectrum led lights
  • Water the plant when the top 1-1.5 inches of the soil is dry.
  • If you are growing them in an enclosed space, watering once a week in summer and once in 15 days in winter is enough. 
  • Marigolds grow best in a warm temperature between 70 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • They can tolerate a vast humidity range, but you can maintain a 90% relative humidity until the cotyledons emerge.
Marigold flowers bloom well under full sun.
  • You can use N.P.K in the ratio 10-15-10 for marigolds. Also, diluting the fertilizer to 1/4 of its strength and applying it monthly will be good.
  • Provide a loose, porous, well-draining soil rich in organic matter with a neutral pH of 6-7. 
  • If pests like beetles, grasshoppers, and aphids attack the plant, you can spray neem oil on the entire plant to knock them off. 
  • Similarly, root rot, leaf-spot disease, botrytis, rust, powdery mildew, and southern blight might affect your plant. Dithane M-45 fungicide effectively treats such conditions in marigolds.
  • Also, spraying soap water helps defend plants from any external attacks. 

You can learn more about Pest Infestation solution in Marigolds.

Meaning & Benefits of Marigold Flower 

The symmetrical structure and vibrant shades of marigold flowers make it one of the priced flowering varieties. 

But, it does not limit itself only to its aesthetic value. The flower boasts numerous benefits, including medicinal, culinary, and peculiar symbolic meanings in various cultures.

1. Meaning and Cultural Significance of Marigold Flower 

Do you know that the perennial marigold received its name from the legend of Mary’s Gold, as early Christians had a ritual of offering marigold flowers on Mary’s altar?

It also symbolizes a feeling of despaired love relating to losing dear ones, whether by death or a broken relationship. 

Besides, marigold flowers also represent remembrance of the dead. You may have noticed people bringing eternal marigolds to a gravesite and offering them to the late dear ones.

Usually, Southeast people make many DIY decors of marigold flowers.

In many folklores, the eternal marigold symbolizes magical power that prevents evils from entering the house.  Similarly, it is considered a sacrifice in Christian, Aztec, Buddhist, and pagan religions. 

Take a look at the table below to know other interesting meanings and cultural significance of the marigold flower. 

CulturesMeaning & Symbols
Greek culture1. Young Caltha was in love with the sun god, Helios. She would see the first sun ray of the day every day but later ended burned out of her passion, turning into a marigold. 
2. Men would offer a basket of marigolds to impress the women they love in Greece of Renaissance period.
Hindu culture Garlands are made out marigold flowers and offered then to worship the god Laxmi on Deepawali (Tihar).
Mexican cultureThe flowers are coupled with the memory of the dead during the famous “Dia de Muertos.” symbolizing despair and grief.

Besides, the magiold flowers are related to optimism, success, beauty, warmth, and creativity. The colors of the marigold flower also have something to add.

  • Yellow: Positive emotions, joy, and happiness
  • Orange-Red: Romance, passion, and love
  • Orange: Strong emotions and positive energy

2. Repels Pests 

Have your crops and vegetation been destroyed by pests infestation? Here, the marigolds’ role comes to rescue the crops and plants themselves. 

From ancient times, marigolds have been used to repel pests like whiteflies, nematodes, bugs, and even mosquitoes.

Marigold flowers can repel butterflies.

Marigold flower has a faint musky, pungent, unpleasant smell that effectively repels critters and insects. It disperses limonene which acts as a repellant against whiteflies. 

Similarly, National Center for Biotechnology Information shows thamarigold roots release alpha-terthienyl, a toxic chemical that prevents nematode eggs from hatching.

Hence, it is best to plant marigolds about two months before planting such crops to defend vegetation from such pests.

Insight! Although everlasting marigold repels pests, its vibrant shade attracts pollinators like honeybees, butterflies, etc., assisting pollination of your crop. 

3. Health Benefits 

Besides its cultural, mythological value, aesthetics, and use of its seeds to germinate new plants, marigold flowers have several other health benefits. 

NCBI journal has published that the French Marigold flower contains flavonoids and carotenoid lutein, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it is an excellent source to lower inflammation and fight against free radical damage. 

Likewise, marigold flowers also possess pure lutein and zeaxanthin, which can benefit the eyes if taken as leaf tea. 

Also, the flowers comprise pre-cursors to yield the antioxidant Vitamin A, thereby reducing eye infections and protecting from UV rays and oxidative damage.

Marigold flowers contain antioxidant properties.

The essential oil of Tagetes minuta is extracted as an essential oil containing antibacterial, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties to heal wounds, burns, and rashes.

Additionally, marigold flowers have antispasmodic and antidiarrheal properties to treat spasms, cramps, and gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and colic.  

4. Culinary Uses 

Marigold flowers can also be used as a natural food coloring to make the dish look delicious. Lutein, extracted from African marigolds, acts as a raw food color. 

You can use the raw marigold flower petals to color butter as it is a substitute for saffron, providing your dish with some peppery flavor. 

Likewise, you can add dried flower petals in broths, soups, and stews to boost your dish with antioxidants.

Extracts from Marigold flowers make the food look delicious.

Additionally, you can garnish your salads with flower petals. Its flowers have a citrus taste, making it an ideal addition to savory salads, seafood dishes, or hot desserts.

Gather the marigold flowers in full bloom, dry them, and store them in air-tight glass jars. Now you need to put one tablespoon of dried marigold petals in 8 oz. hot water to make antioxidant-rich tea. 

Is Marigold Flower Poisonous?

Although the marigold flower has many benefits, some varieties can be mildly toxic to your pets. Hence, it is always best to ask the garden center about the edibility of the marigold before you buy one. 

According to ASPCA, Garden Marigolds (Calendula Officinalis)  are non-toxic to both pets and humans.  However, the Cat Fanciers’ Association lists marigolds as toxic flowering plants that contain phototoxic thiophene derivatives. 

Generally, marigolds are non-toxic to humans as it has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes since ancient times. However, it must be taken occasionally and in a moderate amount. 

If you are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family, it is better to stay away from the genus tagetes as it may cause skin rashes and allergies. 

Alert! Use only those marigold flowers that are grown organically without the use of any pesticides, fungicides, or any other chemical synthesis. 

As Tagetes contain phototoxic thiophene derivatives, they can be toxic to your cats and dogs.

Some marigolds can be toxic to cats.

If you suspect your pets have nibbled marigolds, check for the signs of vomiting, drooling, gastrointestinal irritation, reddening skin, and allergic rashes. 

Immediately contact your local veterans or ASPCA Poison Center at (800) 426-4435.

Take medical assistance if your child shows symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, redness, and allergic reactions after ingestion. Or, you can contact the American Association of Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222. 

However, human marigold poisoning is rare, so you need not panic. 


Marigolds are low-maintenance decorative plants that can be planted as border plants, shrubs, potted plants, or as statement pieces for your garden.

To receive the best blooms, place them in a sunny location and feed them with adequate water and nutrition.

Once marigold flowers bloom, you can use the flowers for worship, food, and other medical cases. Also, they are great pollinator attractors that aid in pollinating your crop.  

However, they can be mildly toxic to your pets, so keep perennial marigolds out of their reach. 

Happy planting! 

If you own other houseplants, you might also be interested in learning about Jade Plant Flower,
Moon Cactus Flower, Aloe Flower, Plumeria Rubra Flower and Daffodil Flower.

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