A native to Mexico and Central America, African marigolds were sacred to Aztecs, who used them as a medicine and as a ceremonial offering to the sun god. Hence, it is also called "herb of the sun".
African marigolds can be planted through any time in summer, but it is suggested that these are planted best in spring as they are slower to mature.
Sow the seeds 1 inch apart.
The seeds germinate in 4-14 days in warmer conditions. Separate the seedlings when they are 2 inches tall and plant them in the garden at least 10-18 inches apart from each other.
Thoroughly water each plant after planting.
If planting in a container, make sure you space them properly, as marigolds grown in containers can become crowded.
When planting or transplanting, plant them slightly deeper than they were originally grown allowing them to stabilize to support their heavy flower tops.
If deadheaded regularly, plants will produce many large blooms.
Marigolds do not need regular watering but require so in the dry climate.
Water the plant to keep the soil moist during first 12-14 days, thereafter water when the soil is almost dry, preferably once in a week.
Do not sprinkle water on the flowers as they have a tendency to become waterlogged and soft. It is preferred that you water these plants at the base.
African marigolds are best watered during early morning hours so that there is sufficient time for the water at the foliage to dry up.
African marigolds can be grown in any type of soil, whether it is clay, loamy or sandy.
Well-drained, moderately-fertile and moist soil is ideal for these marigolds to bloom. Loosen the soil by digging up to 6 inches. Remove all the stones.
African marigolds can bloom in partial to full sun, but it is preferred that you plant them in a sunny location as shading may have an adverse effect on flowering.
Marigolds won't need fertilizer if the soil is rich in organic matter. For poor soil, it is suggested you sprinkle a small amount of dry fertilizer around the plant.
Do not add a large amount of fertilizer as it may encourage the growth of lush green foliage with no bloom.
African marigolds are a tall variety and attain a height of 1-3ft and width of 1-2ft.
These plants have large, globe-shaped flowers which grow up to the diameter of 6 inches
Flowers are usually yellow to orange in colour.
The Africans take a longer time period to reach flowering stage than other varieties.
Remove the blooms from the plant as soon as they start producing seeds as the flowering decreases rapidly.
African marigolds are self-reliant when it comes to diseases.
They have a pungent odour, so they are not troubled by insects but in wet conditions, they can be attacked by slugs. Use slug pellets to keep slugs away.
The roots of these marigolds emit a chemical substance which is toxic to harmful root nematodes.