Growing Tips: Marigold

Quick Reference:

Annual, a plant that completes it’s life cycle in one season. Germinates in 5 to 7 days at an optimum soil temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F. Cover seed with 1/8 to ¼ inch of fine soil spaced ¾ to 1 inch apart. Ideal spacing in the garden for the dwarf varieties is 6 to 10 inches. Plant height: 8 to 12 inches. Spacing in the garden for standard varieties is 10 to 16 inches. Plant height: 16 to 24 inches.

When and where to plant:

Marigolds like warm soil and will bloom in late summer when the seed is planted directly in the garden. In Alaska it is recommended that the seed be started indoors 5 to 7 weeks before the last frost for sustained bloom over a long season. Fill a container that has drainage holes with a sterilized potting soil, sprinkle seed on soil surface, cover with fine soil, water well for good seed-soil contact and keep moist at all times until seedlings emerge. When seedlings show their first green leaves water with a liquid solution of plant food. As soon as the seedlings have their first true leaves transplant to individual plastic pots, water with a liquid solution of plant food every two weeks and grow in a sunny area until the garden is ready. Select a location with full sun, or at least 6 hours of direct sunlight, cultivate, enrich soil with plant food and transplant in the garden after all danger of frost is past. Marigolds are very tender and will not tolerate any frost. Marigolds transplant easily.


Water regularly. One application of plant food a few weeks after plants are established is adequate. Flowering-size plants may require support during windy and rainy weather. Plants are very easy to grow.