Marigolds

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Marigolds

Marigolds are a gardener's dream because they're easy to care for and have a lengthy blooming period.

iStockphoto.com/felinda

­If there is one flower you can expect to see in a garden in Georgia, you can bet it will be a marigold. Considering the name of this annual, you might be under the impression that it's always yellow or gold. This is not the case, though, as marigolds come in a variety of warm colors including yellow, gold, orange and deep red. There are two major species of marigolds, the African Marigold (Tagetes erecta), which is also known as the American marigold, and the French Marigold (T. patula). African Marigolds have the largest, tallest and fullest flowers. Of course, as with most plants, there are hybrid species­ such as the Triploid Marigolds that are a cross between the French and African Marigolds. The size of marigolds range from 6 to 36 inches (15.2 cm to 91.4 cm) tall [source: Thomas].

Marigolds are considerably easy to maintain indoors and out. Your best results for growing marigolds will come if you put them in full sun. The Southeast yields great marigolds because of the heat. Marigolds traditionally bloom in the summer and autumn, but in warm regions like the Southeast they can bloom into winter. To protect against frost dangers, some gardeners may first plant their marigold seeds in a pot indoors. Before you transplant the plants to the outdoors, you want to make sure there is no longer a chance of frost. You also want to take care to space the plants out properly, which means 8 to 16 inches (20.3 cm to 40.6 cm) depending on the variety of marigolds you have.

Some things to keep in mind about marigolds when planning your garden is that they have a long flowering period and they have a potent and often unpleasant smell. Marigolds do need a healthy amount of water in the Southeast, where summers tend to get dry and hot. A good method of containing moisture within the soil is to cover the soil with mulch so it is not directly exposed to the sun. The water needs to get deep into the soil, so regular watering will help you fulfill this need [source: Garden Guides].

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