How Should I Care for Marigolds Through the Season?

“I have a large, 1/2 whiskey barrel in my flower garden, planted with various types of marigolds.  Since Mother’s Day, when I planted them, I’ve fertilized them every two weeks.  I am faithful about deadheading them as needed, on a daily basis.  I water as needed. They are just glorious this year!  1) Should I continue to fertilize them?  How long can I expect them to last?  Thanks so much!” Question from Diane of Newark, Ohio

Answer: I love marigolds, too. They are heat tolerant, tough, beautiful, and so easy to grow. It sounds like you are doing everything right! Continue to fertilize them until mid-September, and they will keep blooming until the first frost of autumn. Late-season bees and butterflies that gather pollen and nectar towards the end of the season will thank you.

If you like to save seed, I would also suggest letting a few blooms go to seed, starting in late September. Once the plants have all succumbed to frost, remove the mature seedheads and pull the withered plants from your whisky barrel. Through winter, store the seeds in a paper bag kept in a cool, dry place. Then the following April, refresh the barrel’s potting soil (Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix is excellent) and sprinkle the seeds on the surface. Keep the soil moist, and they should start sprouting once the soil warms. I like this method because it’s free and effortless. Open-pollinated plants typically don’t look just like their parents, but the variation in the flowers from year to year is a fun surprise.

(Click here to read an article with more information about marigold growing.)

Happy gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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