Scientific: Tagetes erecta
Common: African Marigold, American marigold, Aztec Marigold, Big Marigold, Crackerjack Marigold
Family: Asteraceae
Origin: Native to the highlands of central Mexico

Pronounciation: Ta-GE-tes e-REC-ta

Hardiness zones
All zones as a bedding plant annual
USDA All zones as a bedding plant annual

Landscape Use: Spring and fall flowering accent bedding plant in central Arizona, container pot plant. Marigolds are tough and dependable and make an excellent flowering bedding plant many garden settings where it's warm festive influence is desired.

Form & Character: Herbaceous annual (can be a perennial in coastal southern california), upright, dense to open, informal, festive, warm, inviting.

Growth Habit: Strongly upright to a height of 24 to 48 inches. Succuluent stems will produce adventitious roots.

Foliage/Texture: Leaves medium green, pinntified, and strongly aromatic with prominent mid-vein, arranged oppositely on the stem and almost sessile with tinges of reddish bronze; medium coarse texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Large, terminal "pom-pom" like flowers in vivid hot hues of yellow to orange, most cultivated selctions are double flowers; fruits inconspicuous, brown.

Seasonal Color: African marigolds bloom heavily in fall and spring in Phoenix.

Temperature: In Phoenix, summers are too hot and winters are too cold for best vigor. Best temperature range for Arfican marigold vigor is between 40o and 100oF.

Light: marigolds perform best if given partial shade best during the summer months to prevent heat stress. During fall and spring they need full sun for best growth.

Soil: African marigolds need copious organic matter added to desert soils for best growth along with a moist, well-drained soil.

Watering: Regularly and frequently as needed.

Pruning: Dead head (remove) spent flowers to extend bloom period.

Propagation: Most all commercial marigold propagation is by seed (requires about 40 to 50 days from seeding to flower). Marigold's can be propagated also by softwood cuttings as they readily form adventitious roots on stems.

Disease and pests: None

Additional comments: African marigolds are a great spring and fall flowering annual for flower beds in Phoenix if planted closely (spacing at 12 to 15 inches on center) to form a colorful mass effect. Like other marigolds, most cultivars exude a slight malodorous (some like it, others don't) scent from the characteristically pungent foliage and flowers. The roots of marigolds are reported to produce a chemical that kills soil nematodes. Most cultivated marigolds that are purchased from local garden centers are hybrid selections.

African marigold is part of a wonderful story about an amazing group of new world plants in the genus Tagetes.