AFRICAN MARIGOLD -Tagetes erecta
AFRICAN MARIGOLD - Tagetes erecta
Dwarf variety. Growing to about 30 cm (12inches) in height. Producing large double flowers of orange, yellow and gold.
African Marigold is a. major source of carotenoids and lutein. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers – either fresh or dried.
Sow in spring from early February to the end of May. Use pots or trays of moist compost and cover with a fine sprinkling of compost. Place on a waterproof seed starting heat mat and cover the tray with plastic wrap. Remove the plastic wrap when the seeds have germinated – about 7 to 14 days. Aim to keep a constant temperature of 21 degrees C (70 F).
Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged. When large enough to handle transplant the seedlings into 7cm (3 inch) pots to grow on.
Harden off over a period of a week or so by exposing the plants to direct sunlight and outdoor temperatures – (if not too cold) for a few hours each day until they are able to tolerate being outside for a full 24 hours with no sign of stress.
Whilst they are still in their posts fertilize the seedlings with diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks, but do not fertilize once the plants are in their final position. Over fertilizing marigolds will produce foliage over flowers.
Sow thinly 6mm (1/4 inch) deep in drills of well cultivated soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Water regularly – especially during dry periods. When large enough to handle, thin out to about 30cm (12 inches) apart.
Pinch out the first set of flower buds to encourage stockier plants. Marigolds are rapid growing plants that require little attention and bloom from late spring to autumn. Although it is desirable to deadhead marigolds regularly – towards the end of the season you may choose to let some go to seed so they will self -populate. New marigolds will emerge the following spring and you can transplant them when they are a few inches tall.
If you would like to find out how I used African Marigolds to dye silk and wool go to my November blog 2018 for more information.
Buy African Marigold seeds here.
2g – approx. 500 seeds £3.00 including postage