Growing Marigold – A Beginners Guide

Growing Marigold for Beginners:

Introduction to Growing Marigold:- Marigold plant is an annual or perennial, mostly herbaceous plant in the sunflower family. Marigolds are a set of perennial herbs of varying habits. Having cylindrical, thread-like elongated and branched roots coated by the spongy water-absorbing structures called velamen. The morphology depends according to the species. Marigold plants vary in size from 0.1 to 2.2 meters tall. Most species have pinnate leaves that are green. Blooms naturally occur in golden, orange, yellow, and white colors, often with maroon highlights. Floral heads are typically 1 to 4 cm diameter, generally with both ray florets and disc florets. In horticulture, they tend to be planted as annuals, although the perennial species have been gaining popularity.

Depending on the species, the marigold foliage has a musky, pungent odor, although some varieties are bred to be scentless. It is said to deter some frequent insect pests, in addition to nematodes. Marigolds are listed as a food plant for a few Lepidoptera caterpillars including the scatter moth, and a nectar source for some other butterflies. They tend to be part of butterfly gardening plantings. In the wild, most species are pollinated by beetles. In India, Marigold flowers have exceptional demand, especially in the festive period. Commercial Marigold cultivation is an excellent flower business to acquire profits in a short period of time. Marigold is not only grown for ornamental or decorative purposes but also for medicinal use. Marigold can be grown under protected environments like Polyhouse, greenhouse, containers on the terrace, Pots, backyards, even balconies having minimum sunlight.

Scientific Name / Botanical Name of Marigold:- Calendula officinalis.

Family Name of Marigold:- Calenduleae.

Genus of  Marigold:- Calendula.

Other Names of Marigold:- Gold bloom, Holligold, Marybud, Caltha, Ganda, Gols bloom, Garden Marigold, and Pot Marigold.

Indian Names of Marigold:- Marigold is called with different names in India.

Hindi: Genda.

Bengali: Gaenda.

Gujarati: Guljhara, Makhanala.

Kannada: Seemeshamantige.

Marathi: Zendu.

Sanskrit: Sthulapuspha.

Tamil: Thuruksaamanthi, Tulukkasamandi.

Malayalam: Jamanthipoo / Chendumalli.

Telugu: Bantichettu.

Varieties / Types (Cultivars) of Marigold:- There are mainly 2 categories of marigold that exist. These varieties have different growth rates, shapes, seasons,s, and yields.

African Type Varieties: Atlantis Mixed F1, Crackerjack, Discovery Mixed F1, Gold Coin Mixed, Jubilee Mixed F1, Orange Galore F1, Papaya Crush, Pusa Basanti, and Vanilla F1.

French Type Varieties: Disco Mix Large, Red Brocade, Hero Mix, and Safari Mix.

Climate Requirement for Growing Marigold:- Marigold requires a mild climate for luxuriant growth and flowering. The optimum temperature range for its profuse expansion is 18 °C to 20°C. Temperatures above 36°C restrict the growth of the crops, which contributes to a reduction in flower size and quantity.  Marigold crop is very sensitive to frost conditions and in severe winter, plants and flowers are damaged by frost.

Soil Requirement for Growing Marigold:- Soil plays a major role in any crop cultivation. Selecting suitable soil is one of the most important factors in growing Marigold plants. Marigold plants can be grown in a wide range of soils, as it is adapted to different soil types. French (Dwarf) marigolds are best cultivated in light soil whereas rich well-drained, moist soils are best suited for African (Tall) marigolds. But, sandy loam soil having pH values of 7.0 to 7.5 with good aeration and good drainage is considered ideal for the cultivation of the marigold crop. Commercial flower growers should opt for the soil test to fill the gap of any nutrients and micro-nutrients in the soil.

Land Preparation for Growing Marigold:- Land should be given 3 to 4 ploughings to make the soil weed-free and bring it to fine tilth stage.

Propagation in Growing Marigold:- Marigold is propagated by seeds since it germinates easily and creates vigorous plants. Usually, 1 gram of seeds counts about 300 to 350. The seeds remain viable for about 1 to 2 years. The germination of fresh seeds is roughly 90%. The Marigold seeds germinate very well at a temperature range of 18°C to 32°C. You can also plant seedlings in the field-grown on nursery beds.

Marigold Seeds.
Marigold Seeds.

How to Raise Marigold Seedlings in Nursery:- Nursery beds are prepared by digging up to a depth of 30 cm. The beds should be cleaned well, levelled and the soil is enriched by applying well rotten farmyard manure (FMY) like cattle dung. To protect the seeds from the infestation of rodents, BHC powder is dusted on the raised beds. 3kg of Marigold seeds is sufficient to plant a 1-hectare area. Seeds should be sown thinly and are covered with light soil. The beds are immediately watered with fine rose water can in order to avoid displacement of seeds.

The following are different seasons of planting and their yield.

  • Planting Season: Summer (Month of Feb).
    • Transplanting: in the month of March.
    • Flowering Season: April to July.
    • The yield of the crop: The size of Marigolds is smaller due to high temperature. Good returns can be obtained due to higher market demand.
  • Planting Season: Rainy Season/ Monsoon Summer (Month of May).
    • Transplanting: in the month of June.
    • Flowering Season: July to October.
    • The yield of the crop: This season crop fetches a good price due to higher market demands.
  • Planting Season: Winter (August).
    • Transplanting: in the month of September.
    • Flowering Season: Nov to Jan.
    • The yield of the crop: The best quality of flowers can be obtained and higher yield per unit area but expect low market rates.
  • Planting Season: Spring (November month).
    • Transplanting: in the month of December.
    • Flowering Season: February to April.
    • The yield of the crop: Higher yield per unit area but
    • moderate market demand and prices.

The Season for Growing Marigold:- Marigold can be grown throughout the year under ideal irrigated conditions.

Planting and Spacing for Growing Marigold:- Marigold seedlings become ready for transplanting after one month of sowing or when they develop 4 to 5 leaves. Healthy seedlings are selected for transplanting in the field. Overgrown seedlings should be discarded, as they tend to blossom and exhibit a bad display. Transplanting should be done in the evening when the temperature is relatively low. The spacing for planting for African marigold is about 45 cm x 45 cm while for French type is about  25 cm x 25 cm. On the other hand, the spacing is to be adjusted depending upon the growth habit of the particular variety chosen for planting. Maximum Marigold flower yield of 22 tonnes /ha of African marigold was recorded at a closer spacing of 30 cm x 30 cm. Make sure to provide light irrigation Immediately after transplanting for better root establishment.

Marigold Plantation.
Marigold Plantation.

Irrigation for Growing Marigold:- During the vegetative development of marigold plants, there should not be any water stress as it hampers growth and consequently flowering. The frequency of irrigation depends mainly on the season and soil type. In winter, irrigation is given in an interval of eight to ten days while in summer regular irrigation at intervals of four or five days is required.

Intercultural Operations in Growing Marigold:- Timely Intercultural operations in the flower garden are essential for healthy plants.

  • Weed control: For healthy growth of plants, In order to get profuse flowering and more yields, you must ensure that the whole field is weed-free. You must carry out at least 4 to 5 weeding depending on the intensity of weeds.
  • Staking: It means providing support to the tall plants. The African-type marigold plants grow tall and have to be staked with the help of bamboo sticks. Otherwise, lodging and bent stem may affect the appropriate display of the plant.
  • Pinching: Elimination of apical buds is called pinching. In the case of tall cultivars of African marigold, the plant first grows to its entire height and afterward generates axillary branches. If apical buds have been removed from an early stage of formation, a large number of lateral shoots arise resulting in a well-shaped bushy plant bearing more uniform flowers. Sometimes there is an early formation of flower buds due to late transplanting. In such scenarios, blossom buds are disbudded initially for allowing the plants to complete vegetative growth. In both African and French marigolds, pinching is advocated after 40 days of transplanting.

Manures and Fertilizers for Growing Marigold:- For improving the fertility of the soil, farmyard manure FYM of  25 tonnes/ha should be applied 15 days prior to transplanting during land preparation.

A fertilizer dose of 90 kg N, 90 kg P2O5, and 75 kg K2O per hectare is optimum for great growth and yield of the crop, Of which 45 kg N and also the entire amount of P & K are applied as basal dose. While the equilibrium Nitrogen is applied as top dressing 45 days after transplanting.

Pests Diseases in Growing Marigold:- The following are diseases found in growing marigold.

Pests in Growing Marigold: Aphids, Beetles and Weevils, Leaf Hoppers, Red Spider Mites are common pests found in growing marigold. Appropriate measures should be taken to control these pests.

Diseases in Growing Marigold:

Damping Off:

  • Causes and Symptoms: The disease is most prevalent in the seedling phase. Necrotic spots and rings develop on the young seedlings causing a collapse of the seedlings. A considerable loss is sustained if seedlings are not properly cared for.
  • Control Measures: Soil sterilization by Formalin @ 2% before sowing the seeds and spraying of Dithane Z-78 @ 2 grams/liter of water are effective in controlling this disease.

Flower Bud Rot:

  • Causes and Symptoms: The fungus infects the blossom buds. The infected buds shrivel and become dark brown in colour. The pathogen also infects leaves causing blight. The infection is visible in the kind of brown necrotic spots on margins and tips of older leaves.
  • Control Measures: Should spray of Mancozebog @ 2 grams/liter of water to control effectively this disease.

Powdery Mildew:

  • Causes and Symptoms: The symptoms of this disease are in the form of whitish powdery growth on the aerial parts of the plant.
  • Control Measures: Should spraying Sulfex of 3grams/liter of water to control this effect.

Leaf Spot and Blight:

  • Causes and Symptoms: The symptoms of this disease include brown necrotic spots develop on leaves, which have enlarged in the next stage of infection. The entire Foliage becomes damaged and results in poor vegetative growth.
  • Control Measures: Should spray fungicides for controlling this disease.

Collar Rot:

  • Causes and Symptoms: The symptoms are in the form of black lesions developed on the main stem. Rotting in the collar regions causes the death of the plant.
  • Control Measures: You can control this disease by soil sterilization and controlled release of watering.

Wilt and Stem Rot:

  • Causes and Symptoms: The fungus affects the collar portions of their plants. In the nursery, the infection results in damping-off and is characterized by soil moisture. In the field, the infected plants show wilting. French marigold and dwarf varieties are less susceptible whereas the African Kinds are highly susceptible to the disease
  • Control Measures: Go for soil treatment with Captan, Mancozeb, Metalaxyl, and Fosetyl-Al to control this disease.

Note: Your local horticulture department is a good source for finding information about pests and diseases in Growing Marigold. Don’t experiment on your own without knowing the symptoms and causes.

Harvesting in Growing Marigold:- Marigold flowers should be plucked when they’ve attained the complete size. Harvesting of flowers is done in the evening, just before the flowers are fully opened. The field should be irrigated before plucking so many blossoms keep well for a more extended period after harvest. Routine picking improves the yield. Fresh flowers are packed in gunny bags for transport to the regional markets.

Yield in Growing Marigold:- Yield of Marigold flowers depends on variety, season, soil type, irrigation, climate, and other cultivation practices. One can obtain the yield of African marigold varieties of 8 to 12 tonnes/ha whereas 10 to 17 tonnes/ha in the case of  French marigold varieties

Marketing of Marigold:- Bulk quantities of Marigolds can be sold to flower agents or can be transported to local flower markets. Growing Marigold is an excellent flower business that has demand all around the year especially in India.

In case if you miss this: Organic Vegetable Farming In Greenhouse.


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