Marigold is one of my favorite herbs in the garden. The bright, cheerful flowers add a splash of color in the autumn months and make even the bleakest of cool days shine.
On clear autumn mornings I like to stroll through my little piece of golden flowers and am pleasantly surprised by fresh blossoms every day.
Calendula, also known as marigold, is a flowering herb in the Asteraceae family with showy orange and yellow flowers. It thrives in the cool temperatures of spring and fall.
The flowers are short-lived, but with a hard-working skull they bloom profusely. And don't throw away the traditional flowers Medicinal herb makes a wonderful tea or infused oil.
Although marigold plants can tolerate a light frost, they do not survive the harsh winters in the north.
However, those in warmer climates can expect it to bloom all winter!
Read on to learn how to keep marigold plants strong, even in winter.
It depends on your climate
Technically, the marigold is a short-lived perennial and is usually grown as an annual. It prefers cool temperatures, and in warmer regions, plants can stop blooming at temperatures above 85 ° F.
In cold climates, the plants die in hard frost and the seeds have to be sown again the following year.
Fortunately, this plant is very easy to seed. Just leave a few flowers on the plant towards the end of the season to plant seeds and new plants will appear the following spring.
In zone 8 and above, seeds can be sown in the fall and the plants will continue to bloom through the winter, bringing light and joy to the shorter days.
For an even supply of marigolds, in mild climates (zones 8 and above), you can sow seeds in late summer to early autumn for winter blooms on the spot or in apartments.
For full instructions on how to grow, see our Guide to growing marigolds, but here is a quick summary:
To sow outdoors, simply send the seeds out in full sun and cover them with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil, gently pushing them in. You can also start seeds in pots and do transplants six to eight weeks before the first frost.
Deadhead spent blooms to lengthen the bloom. The show should last through winter through spring, and the plants die during the summer heat and when nighttime temperatures rise above 60 ° F.
The shorter winter days mean less direct sunlight and less water evaporation, so plants typically need much less water during the winter months.
In most regions, additional watering is generally not required between mid-November and February. You just need to provide additional water if the soil feels up to an inch dry to the touch.
ONE Layer of mulch also helps the soil hold back water in the cooler months. A few inches of wood chips crushed leavesor straw helps the soil maintain an even level of moisture and provides some protection from unexpected frosts.
Lengthen flowers in cold climates
In colder growth areas, where plants will ultimately be killed by a hard frost, you can extend the flowering period later in the fall by taking measures to protect them from early hard frosts.
If frost is forecast, you can protect your plants by covering them with a blanket of frost overnight. If possible, use tires or stakes to keep the fabric from touching the foliage. Remove the blanket the next morning.
And don't forget to mulch! Three to four inches of mulch around the plants isolates the soil and better protects the flowers from cold spells.
Bring containers into the house
Growing your marigold in containers allows you to bring it indoors for the winter months.
You need to find a bright spot with a constant daytime temperature of 70-75 ° F for the best results. Ensure even moisture with regular watering.
For more information on growing marigolds in containers, see our guide (soon!).
Brighten up those bleak days
When those cold, dark days are tumbling you, you can count on warm and sunny marigolds to lighten the mood.
And if you're lucky enough to live in a place where the winters are mild, consider planting some marigolds this fall for color throughout the winter.
Have you ever grown marigolds during the winter months? Share your experience in the comments below!
More information about winter Flowers for your gardenNext, take a look at these guides:
About Heather Buckner
Originally from the sparkling lakes of Minnesota, Heather Buckner now lives with her family on a beautiful homestead in the Vermont Mountains. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science from Tufts University and has served in many nature conservation and environmental protection roles including creating and managing programs based on resource conservation, organic horticulture, food security and leadership building. Heather is a certified permaculture designer and student herbalist. She is also a fanatical gardener and loves to spend as much time with dirt as possible!