HOW TO GROW AFRICAN MARIGOLDS


Closely related to the magnificent sunflower, the African marigold - Tagetes erecta is a comparatively sturdy species with upright growth, aromatic foliage and showy blooms. The common name however is surprisingly misleading. Rather than Africa, the African marigold is actually a native to Mexico - where it is more appropriately known as the Aztec marigold.

How to grow African marigolds
The African marigold is a popular ornamental, half-hardy annual garden plant with double flower-heads which under favorable conditions can be expected to grow to approximately 30cm. That being said some cultivars can grow up to 50cm! It has a well-branched, erect habit (hence the species name) with dark-green, deeply-cut foliage.

The blooms are approximately 5 cm across and can come in a variety of colours ranging from creamy-white to lemon-yellow to a deep orange. The flowers usually appear in July and will continue to bloom until the first frosts.

African marigolds will grow well in any well-cultivated site, even in poor, rather dry soil. However for best performance plant into a moderately rich soils in an open sunny position.

You do not need to deadhead African Marigolds, in order to promote further blooms but it will keep a tidier look to the plants as well as improve the growth habit and flower size.

For those growing African marigolds F1 hybrids under protection, you can encourage them to bloom earlier as well as for longer by limiting their light period to 8 hours a day for 30 days during the seedling period.

In bedding displays plant African marigolds 30 cm apart. Be aware that young plants can be prone to attack from slugs and snails, but this incidence is reduced as the plants mature. The spent flowerheads can also be susceptible to grey mold in wet weather.

For related articles click onto the following links:
HOW TO GROW AFRICAN MARIGOLDS
HOW TO GROW OSTEOSPERMUM FROM SEED

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