Waddesdon Manor Gardens, Buckinghamshire, England | Red salvias and African marigolds in a brillant floral display (16 of 30)

13 Facts About Marigold (Tagetes, Flowers)

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The marigold is a classic, vibrant flower that has captivated gardeners for generations with its beauty and versatility. Often called the “herb of the sun”, marigolds symbolize passion and creativity.

Marigolds belong to the daisy and aster family, with blooms that resemble little suns with their golden petals and dark centers. They include around 56 species, mostly native to the Americas. Some species are cultivated as ornamental plants while others have culinary, medicinal, or dye-related uses.

Let’s explore some intriguing facts about these sunny flowers:

African Marigold
African Marigold by Swami Stream is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .

1. Marigolds Are Not True Flowers

What appears as cheerful petals on marigolds are floral leaves called “ray florets”. The tiny flowers are carefully tucked inside the center of the bloom, where fertilization and seed production occur. This unique and specialized structure makes them especially suited to attract pollinators.

2. They Come in Various Colors and Sizes

Marigolds showcase diversity, with blooms in shades of yellow, orange, red and brown. Sizes range from petite 6-inch African marigolds to giant 4-foot tall tree marigolds. Popular varieties include the Signet marigold with edible petals and French marigolds with large, double blooms.

French12-18 inchesLarge, puffyYellow, orange, mahogany
African12-14 inchesCarnation-likeYellow, orange
Signet8-12 inchesSingle, daisy-likeYellow, orange, red
Tree48-52 inchesSmall, clusteredYellow

3. They Are Easy To Grow

Marigolds thrive in warm, sunny spots with well-drained soil. They sprout quickly from seeds and reach their full size within a couple months. These hardy annuals withstand heat, drought and humidity that defeat other flowers. Just be sure they get plenty of sun!

4. Deer, Rabbits and Squirrels Avoid Them

These critters tend to leave marigolds alone thanks to natural chemical compounds produced by the plants. Marigolds make excellent companion plants to protect vegetables and herbs from animal pests without using insecticides.

5. Marigolds Repel Unwanted Insects

The pungent scent of marigold leaves, stems and flowers drives away aphids, beetles, whiteflies, nematodes and other garden pests. Plant them around your vegetable garden and throughout your yard to protect plants without toxic pesticides.

6. They Have Antifungal Abilities

Marigolds contain antioxidants and antifungal properties in their leaves, petals and roots. Plant them around plants prone to mildews and fungi to prevent outbreaks and strengthen the plants. The roots also suppress growth of weeds.

7. Some Varieties Are Edible

Certain marigold flowers and leaves, especially the signet and gem types, make a colorful, peppery addition to salads. They can also be brewed into a vitamin C-rich tea. But be sure to confirm the variety is edible before consuming as some have bitter taste.

8. The Aztecs Used Them Medicinally

The Aztecs brewed marigold tea to treat hiccups and prepared a poultice from leaves to soothe skin issues. They also used marigold extracts during childbirth to induce labor. Modern studies confirm the plant’s medicinal value as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and more.

9. Marigolds Are Used To Dye Fabrics and Cosmetics

The bright yellow-orange marigold blooms produce a dye used to color fabrics, cosmetics and foods. Dried petals can also add color to potpourri crafts. Extracts from marigold flowers provide the familiar yellow hue to cheeses like cheddar.

10. They Have Cultural and Spiritual Symbolism

Marigolds take center stage in India’s autumn Diwali festival celebrating the triumph of light over darkness. They also represent creativity for Dia de Los Muertos altars. In general, marigolds symbolize positive attributes like passion, creativity, devotion and strength.

11. Marigolds Are the Birth Flower for October

Marigolds are the traditional birth flower for the month of October. Their vibrant autumn hues match the changing fall foliage. Giving marigolds shows that you find the recipient captivating and want to bring passion into their life.

12. Some Countries Use Them for Pest Control

Marigold roots release a chemical compound called alpha-terthienyl that is absorbed by crops like rice and sugar cane. This natural pesticide protects the large-scale agricultural crops from destructive nematodes.

13. There Are Over 10,000 Varieties Worldwide!

New marigold hybrids continue to emerge with varied colors, bloom shapes, plant sizes, and enhanced hardiness or disease resistance. They adapt to a wide range of climates – from Africa to Asia to Europe and the Americas. Their popularity endures for good reason!


With their bright golden blossoms and spicy aroma, marigolds infuse any garden with warmth and vibrancy. These hardy, pest-fighting flowers have also earned an esteemed reputation across cultures for their medicinal and spiritual symbolism. Hopefully these intriguing facts give you inspiration to plant marigolds and enjoy their magic.scinating facts about this versatile herb that you may not know. From its botanical name to its many health benefits, marjoram has an interesting history and background.

Read on below to learn 19 captivating bits of information covering marjoram’s origins, taxonomy, cultivation, culinary usage, and health properties. You’ll gain insight into this aromatic herb that will give you an even greater appreciation for its role in the kitchen and natural medicine.

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