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Gardening From Southern California

...single dwarf marigold
by Gerald Burke
by Gerald Burke


Gerald Burke is a freelance travel and horticultural writer. He spent 35 years in the seed business, 30 of them with Burpee, and is a member of the Garden Writers Association and the North American Travel Journalists Association

July 16, 2006

Dwarf marigolds make the best borders and edgings, as well as being brilliant in a massed bed, and they do well in containers. We see mostly the double flower forms of dwarf marigolds in the nursery as started plants, but gardeners shouldn’t overlook the single dwarf marigolds. Names such as the Disco series, Jaguar, Mr. Majestic and an oldie, Naughty Marietta, are just as interesting in the garden, and offer flower forms and colors that we don’t usually see.

Single dwarf marigolds are as easy to start as doubles, grow every bit as quickly, and bloom just as profusely. And often, they outpace the doubles in number of flowers per plant. They have the same range of colors, orange, yellow, gold, but also have some very good reds you won’t find in the doubles. Mr. Majestic has striped flowers, gold or yellow petals with mahogany stripes, and Burpee lists Jaguar, about a foot tall, with yellow petals and maroon throats.

Disco Mix is about ten inches tall, and has flowers almost two inches across in yellow, gold and red, and is one you’ll usually find as a started plant in the nursery. The older variety, Naughty Marietta is ten inches tall, and has flowers golden yellow with a maroon blotch.

Another, and very different kind of single marigold, is the kind called tenuifolia. These have tiny blooms in gold, yellow, lemon and white, make dome-shaped plants, completely covered with blooms and a different kind of fragrance to the foliage. They get about eight to ten inches tall and make a striking border in the garden.

You can still start dwarf single marigolds from seed this month, but you’ll have a quicker display of color with started plants and they’ll continue to bloom well into late fall. Plant marigolds in full sun everywhere. Marigolds are annuals so they last just one season, but you’ll find that many of them will re-seed, and you might get seedlings coming up next spring.

Not many bugs bother marigolds, but snails love them, particularly when they first emerge, or when just transplanted, so you need to use snail bait. Keep marigolds well watered, don’t fertilize after they start to bloom, and it does help to keep faded blooms picked off.

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