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Are Marigolds Perennials or Annuals?

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Marigolds are a popular plant for gardeners. One popular question – are Marigolds perennials or annuals? The truth is that marigolds are not a single plant species but a genus of varieties. Some of which are annuals, some biennials, and some perennials.

They grow quickly and prolifically and produce masses of showy red, gold, or yellow blooms from mid-summer until the hard frosts of winter. Their foliage and blooms produce a strong but pleasant scent. Some marigold varieties are believed to repel mosquitos and other annoying insects.

Many kinds of marigolds are also self-seeding, so even an annual plant may give rise to a fresh crop through seeds for many years.

Marigolds are native to the warm climates of Mexico and Guatemala and tend to grow there as perennials or biannuals.

They can be planted in any zone from 2 to 11 and survive, being unable to survive only in the coldest parts of Alaska and the entirely too warm climates of Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Difference Between Annual And Perennial Plants

An annual plant grows from seed, completes its life cycle, and dies all within a single growing season.

A perennial is a plant that grows and completes its life cycle over many years. It may be spread by seeds, roots, tubers, or cuttings.

Some plants complete their life cycle in two growing seasons and are biennials.

Some plants may be perennial in their native habitat but annual in other, less attractive climates. These are tender perennials.

What Are Some Kinds Of Perennial Marigold?

Three different types of marigolds are generally regarded as perennial and readily available to gardeners.

These are:

Tagetes Lucida “Mexican Marigold”

Mexican marigold (Tagetes lucida) is sometimes referred to as Mexican tarrigon or Texas tarrigon.

The Aztecs used it as incense for rituals and medicinal herbs.

It was thought to be effective for intestinal and stomach complaints in herbal treatments and is still sometimes brewed into tea.

When burnt as incense, Mexican marigolds can also help repel insects.

Tagetes Lemmonii “Lemmon’s Marigold”

Lemmon’s marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)produces many small flowers and can grow up to eight feet across in its natural habitat.

It can tolerate mild frosts as far north as California but is native to northwestern Mexico and southern Arizona.

It is sometimes referred to as the Copper Canyon Daisy.

Tagetes Palmeri “Mountain Marigold”

Mountain marigold (Tagetes palmeri) produces yellow flowers with a single row of petals on a plant that can grow 3″ feet tall and 3″ feet across.

It is native to Mexico and Central America and is perennial in its native range.

What Are Some Kinds Of Annual Marigolds?

North of zone 9, most species of marigolds will be annuals, as they cannot survive the harsher winters outside their native habitats.

Two of the most common sorts of marigolds are annuals. These are:

Tagetes Patula “French Marigold”

The word “patula” means “tending to spread” in Latin.

Perhaps it is because the French marigold (Tagetes patula) grows in showy clumps, producing bright yellow, red, or orange flowers, and grows easily from seeds, making many more new plants over time.

In addition, French marigold has pungent scents and is often used as a companion plant in vegetable gardens.

Its roots secrete poisons that deter nematodes from attacking other plants, and the scent of its leaves and flowers deter insects that might otherwise damage tomato plants.

In contrast, one study found that French marigolds actively attracted pests when planted next to potato plants.

French marigold, despite the name, is native to Mexico and Guatemala.

Tagetes Erecta “Aztec Or African Marigold”

Aztec or African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) can grow up to 3″ feet tall.

Although it is sometimes referred to as African marigold, it is native to Mexico and Central America, like the other genus Tagetes.

It was occasionally used by the Aztecs for ceremonies related to the dead and is still sometimes seen in modern Day of the Dead ceremonies in Mexico.

It was also used by the Aztecs and other Native American tribes for yellow dye and medicinal purposes.

Additional Tips

Both French and Aztec marigolds are annuals. However, they reseed themselves easily and can grow from seed for many years after initial planting.

  • Both annual and perennial marigolds bloom prolifically from summer to frost.
  • Deadheading or removing spent flowers will prolong their blooming period and encourage more blooms.
  • Marigolds can tolerate heat and dry conditions reasonably well
  • They prefer full sun to shade and produce fewer blooms if they lack full sun.

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