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Sowing marigolds: outdoors and on the balcony

14.06.2021  /  Reading time: 5 minutes

Marigolds not only enrich your garden with their beautiful flowers, they are also a healthy addition to the kitchen. Marigolds have been used as a medicinal plant for a long time. Their petals can be used fresh in salads or dried as tea. It is also a good neighbor for many plants in a mixed culture. You can find out more about marigolds and how to sow them in this article.

This article contains:

  1. Planting marigolds in the garden: An overview
  2. Marigold: The right location
  3. Prefer marigold
  4. Sowing marigolds in the open field
  5. Planting marigolds: Good neighbors, bad neighbors
  6. Mixed cultivation planting plans with marigolds: garden, raised bed & balcony
  7. Obtaining marigold seeds
  8. Frequently asked questions about marigold sowing

Quick Overview

Marigold: tips for sowing


  • Sowing depth: maximum 1 cm, as marigold is a light germinator
  • Planting distance: 15 cm
  • Row spacing: 20 cm
  • Direct sowing: April to August
  • Pre-cultivation: from mid-March
  • Germination temperature: from 15°C
  • Germination time: 10 to 20 days
  • Location: sunny to semi-shady
  • Soil: sandy to slightly loamy
  • is well suited as a neighbor in a mixed culture, except for Jerusalem artichoke and lovage

Planting marigolds in the garden: An overview

Marigolds(Calendula officinalis) are part of theAsteraceae family. The annual flowers grow upright but bushy and reach a height of up to 60 cm, depending on the location. You can recognize a marigold by its beautiful bright yellow or orange flower. The flowering period runs from June to October.

Marigold: The right location

Choose a sunny location so that the flowers develop a bright, intense color. Marigolds also thrive in a semi-shady spot, but are then more susceptible to mildew. Marigolds prefer sandy to slightly loamy soils with not too much nitrogen. If there is an excess of nitrogen, it develops less stably.

Marigold in bloom in the garden
Beautiful yellow basket flowers appear during the flowering period. Image by Светлана on Pixabay.

Prefer marigold

You don't necessarily have to preplant marigolds, as they grow quite robustly when direct sown. However, marigolds do not flower until June when direct sown outdoors. If you want to enjoy the beautiful marigold flowers for longer, you can propagate them on the windowsill. The seeds are sown from mid-March and kept evenly moist. Marigold seeds germinate at temperatures as low as 15 °C and the seedlings usually appear after 10 to 20 days. Three weeks after germination, the young plants are separated and each is given its own pot. The plants can then be planted out in the garden in mid-May.

Sowing marigolds in the open field

Generally speaking, marigold seeds germinate very reliably, provided they have been stored correctly and are not too old. The seeds can be sown in the garden or on the balcony between April and August. To do this, loosen the soil and remove weeds that could compete with the seedlings. Scatter the seeds over the area and lightly rake them in. Alternatively, you can also plant the seeds individually. Marigolds are light germinators, so they are not sown deeply and are only placed about 0.5 to 1 cm deep in the soil. To ensure that the plants have enough space later on, you should keep a planting distance of 15 cm and a row spacing of 20 cm .

Planting marigolds: Good neighbors, bad neighbors

Marigold in mixed cultivation with fennel
Marigolds are a useful crop in mixed cultivation! Image by Mareefe on Pixabay.

In a mixed culture, marigolds are very pleasant neighbors and many gardeners like to plant them together with vegetable plants. Their roots release a substance that nematodes don't like at all and keep away. They are a good neighbor for almost any plant. Only invasive plants such as Jerusalem artichokes and the solitary lovage should not be planted next to marigolds. Marigolds complement a vegetable patch very well, as they have been used as a medicinal plant for a long time. Their petals can be eaten fresh in a salad or dried and used as a tea. Don't worry, if you cut off the flowers, new ones will form. The more you harvest, the more it blooms. The bright yellow flowers also attract pollinators and provide food with their blossoms. This encourages beneficial insects in the garden, which contributes to plant health.

Mixed cultivation planting plans with marigolds: garden, raised bed & balcony

Marigolds are good fillers and grow well with all flowers, herbs and vegetables. You can also plant marigolds in balcony gardens or raised beds. To see what your mixed garden with marigolds can look like, check out our digital garden plans.

Obtaining marigold seeds

Marigold seeds
This is what marigold seeds look like. Image by Klaus Beyer on Pixabay.

To obtain your own seeds, leave the flowers on the plant. The fruits ripen in the flowers: the marigold seeds. You can simply leave the plant as it will self-seed and bloom in its former glory the following year. If you want to sow the marigold in a different place, you can cut off the ripe, dried seed heads in the fall and sow them the following year.


I hope this has whetted your appetite for sowing your own marigolds in your garden or on your balcony. If you have any questions or comments, please write to us at [email protected].

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Cover picture by Hans on Pixabay.

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Author

Marie

Marie studied agricultural science at the University of Hohenheim. Her main focus is on ecological agriculture and permaculture. She writes articles for Fryd to educate people about ecological interrelationships and alternatives to current land use. Our current economic systems, especially in agriculture, have numerous negative effects on nature and destabilize our ecosystems. We need a great diversity in our gardens and beds again to counteract the extinction of species. Every gardener can contribute to creating and maintaining habitats and food for a wide variety of creatures. With her articles, she would like to pass on her experience in dealing with natural systems and give people the opportunity to contribute to a stable ecosystem and thus also to securing our livelihood.

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FAQ

Marigolds are light germinators and must therefore only be lightly covered with soil in order to germinate. Sow them a maximum of 1 cm deep in the soil.

The seeds can be sown in the garden or on the balcony between April and August.

Marigolds can be grown in advance if you want to give them a head start. You can sow them from March and plant them out from May.

Marigolds take between 10 and 20 days to germinate, depending on the weather and location. They need temperatures from 15 degrees.

Marigolds grow as annuals. After flowering, they produce seeds and then sow themselves. In spring, the marigold seeds germinate again and the cycle starts all over again.

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