Few plants offer the decorative and aromatic qualities of the marigold, which is why these are such a popular addition to any home. These pretty plants are easy to grow and can bloom all year long if you know the proper care techniques to keep them sprouting. Marigolds also grow fast, so even those starting from seeds don’t need to wait long for the marigolds to brighten up their indoor gardens. Let’s take a look at what these beauties need to thrive.
Marigolds, formally known as Tagetes, have over 50 varieties to choose from, though not all of them are suited to indoor growth. In fact, some types of marigold plants can grow over 3 feet tall, making these varieties a bit too big for most homes.
Luckily, there are several smaller options to pick from, so you can get the perfect plant for the space you have available. Marigold blooms also come in several shades of yellow, orange, red, and white, so you can pick a favorite or add a few to your indoor garden for a rainbow of color.
One of the best indoor options is the French marigold, which doesn’t grow higher than 12 inches and comes in several bloom colors. The Signet is another compact marigold, with small flowers and a height of only about 10 inches.
The African marigolds are the largest variety at about 3 to 4 feet tall, so are a bit much for indoor planting. There are dwarf varieties available, though, so you get the bright colors and unique look of these flowers in a smaller plant.
Regardless of the variety you choose, care will be roughly similar. The remaining instructions in this article will be applicable to nearly every marigold variety.
Though using starter plants is a quick and easy way to add a few marigolds to your indoor garden, starting from seeds is also an option for quick and easy growth. You can plant your chosen seeds in starter trays until the seedlings have sprouted or start them directly in the pot you plan to keep them in. The seeds should be planted about ¼-inch deep in a standard potting mix. Place the pot in a well-lit spot and keep the soil moist, though not wet.
Marigolds germinate quite fast, so you should see plants begin to sprout in roughly 4-14 days. Marigolds tend to grow from seeds quite easily, so this is a great and affordable way to start these flowers.
When choosing a container for your marigolds, a clay pot with bottom drainage holes is best since it won’t retain too much water. In fact, clay wicks moisture away from the plant, preventing rotting roots. This is my personal choice, and favorite type of container for the majority of my indoor plants.
That’s not to say other containers won’t work. Marigolds are fairly easy to care for, and nearly any garden container will provide the perfect home for them. Just ensure that your chosen container has drainage holes to prevent sitting water in your plant’s soil. For sizing, choose one that matches the amount of flowers you want to grow. You can go as small as 6” which is enough to house a handful of marigolds. Going larger further increases the amount of flowers you can grow.
Marigolds don’t need any special soil conditions to get the nutrients they need to survive. They do prefer higher levels of organic matter, though, so the best option is to start with a standard potting mix. Then you can mix in peat moss or compost to add those tasty nutrients that the soil is lacking. The soil should also be loose and well-draining to avoid too much water retention.
Marigolds like to be watered frequently to maintain soil moisture, though they don’t like excessive amounts of water in their pots. After watering, allow the top of the soil to dry out before adding more. Be sure to avoid the leaves when watering since these pieces don’t need moisture and sitting water can damage them. Using a moisture meter can help you avoid overwatering the plants.
You can also prevent soggy roots by watering the marigold from the bottom. To do this, place a tray filled with water beneath the pot. The soil in the drainage holes will soak up the moisture, pulling it up to the roots.
This is called bottom-watering, and is a great way to prevent overwatering.
Like many other indoor plants, marigolds love sunlight. In fact, they need about 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight every day, so a south-facing window is best for these pretty plants. If you don’t have a south-facing window available, you may need to move your marigold from window to window as the sun moves across the sky to ensure it’s getting the right light levels. A grow light can also supplement the plant when needed, especially during the winter months.
Lighting is the number one reason indoor marigolds fail. These are quite light hungry plants, and they will quickly turn frail if not getting enough light. If you plan to grow marigolds, make sure you select a bright, sunny spot for them to thrive in.