Although these annuals are native to Mexico, Tagetes erecta, are known as American or African marigolds. These flashy annuals are the biggest and boldest of marigolds.
Description of American marigold: American marigolds can be tall plants, growing up to 36 inches high, although breeding has produced shorter heights. They have large, fully double flowers in yellow, gold, and orange.
How to grow American marigold: American marigolds grow best in full sun with moist, well-drained soil, although they will tolerate drier conditions. Plant them outdoors as soon as all danger of frost has passed. Space seedlings 10 to 18 inches apart.
Propagating American marigold: Seeds may be sown in place. For earlier bloom start indoors 4 to 6 weeks prior to outdoor planting. Seeds germinate in 5 to 7 days at 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uses for American marigold: Grow taller tagetes toward the center or rear of beds and borders, or as planting pockets in full sun. Mass them in front of shrubs or trees for a big splash of color. You also can use them to make a small hedge around a vegetable or herb garden. American marigolds also work in containers if kept uniformly moist.
American marigold related varieties: The Antigua Series have large, 3-inch-wide flowers on compact plants only 12 to 16 inches high. 'Vanilla' produces off-white flowers -- an unusual color for marigolds. The Jubilee Series, with primrose yellow, golden, and orange flowered varieties, are some of the taller American marigolds, reaching to 24 inches high. Even taller hedge types, which grow to 3 feet high, include members of the Gold Coin Series, 'Double Eagle,' 'Doubloon,' and 'Gold Coin Mix.'
Scientific name for American marigold: Tagetes erecta