French Marigolds are annuals sown in a heated propagator from February to March, undercover from March to May, or directly outside in May. Sow seeds in modules or on the surface, press onto soil, and water with a fine spray. Germination takes around 5-14 days.
Ensure a weed-free seed bed. Best in sheltered sunny sites. Grow at bed edges to attract beneficial insects. Prefers moist, free-draining soil. Harden off, then transplant at 30 x 30 cm spacing.
Keep weed-free and watered in hot spells. Mulch for moisture retention and weed prevention. Deadhead for prolonged flowering. Pinch out for bushy growth.
Pest and disease-free but protect seedlings from slugs. Dislikes cold weather; sow later in colder areas.
Pick flower heads often to encourage continuous flowering into autumn. Pluck petals for fresh use or dry for later.
Culinary Ideas And Uses
French Marigold adds a complex flavor and golden color to rice; great as a garnish. Dried petals in herbal teas treat digestive problems. Use for an orange dye, known as poor man’s saffron.
Collect brown seed heads, dry indoors, or pluck seeds from flower heads. Separate seeds before storing in a cool, dry place for up to 5 years.