Mag­nif­i­cent marigolds

Ontario Gardener Magazine - - LOCAL DIRT - By Ger­ald Filip­ski

Some­times gar­den­ers get a lit­tle snooty about the plants they grow. If the plants are read­ily avail­able, eas­ily grown from seed, com­monly found as bed­ding plants or just too pop­u­lar; we some­times shun them.

The marigold is one such plant. While these plants have been around since their first recorded use in the 1500s, they really did not be­gin their North Amer­i­can pop­u­lar­ity un­til the turn of the cen­tury. From the 1920s to the present plant breed­ers have de­vel­oped hun­dreds of new va­ri­eties, but it has been the last 30 years that have shown the most ad­vance­ments in breed­ing.

Cana­di­ans love the marigold be­cause of their abil­ity to thrive in our hot and of­ten hu­mid sum­mers. How­ever, for some rea­son marigolds have fallen out of favour over the last decade. Per­haps it was be­cause they had be­come too pop­u­lar, or per­haps it was the in­tro­duc­tion of the myr­iad of new flow­er­ing an­nu­als that were tol­er­ant of our grow­ing con­di­tions. Re­gard­less, it is time to re­visit our old friends and find a spot in the gar­den for them.

Marigolds fall in the genus Tagetes, which con­tains 40 species. The main species of fo­cus are:

• African marigold ( Tagetes erecta)

• French marigold ( Tagetes pat­ula)

• Signet marigold ( Tagetes tenuifo­lia)

Tall beau­ties

African marigolds are char­ac­ter­ized by a larger leaf size and larger flow­ers than most of the other marigold species. Flow­ers can be three inches across on smaller va­ri­eties, while the larger types can sport blooms 3.5 to five inches across. African marigolds ap­pear in solid colours only, no bi-colours, and are taller than most other va­ri­eties. Plants in this group can reach be­tween nine inches in height for dwarf hy­brids and 28 inches or more for taller va­ri­eties.

‘Gold Coin’ is a great choice for the back of gar­den beds. These marigolds can grow up to 36 inches in height. The orange, yel­low or gold flow­ers can reach an im­pres­sive five inches in width. The newly in­tro­duced va­ri­ety, ‘Inca II’, is an early bloom­ing, dou­ble flow­ered va­ri­ety that blooms on com­pact plants 12 inches high. The blooms reach three inches across in colours of gold, orange, primrose or yel­low. This va­ri­ety of­fers an ex­tra week of bloom time, which is per­fect for our short sea­son cli­mate, and they are con­tin­u­ous bloomers adding colour all sum­mer long.

Range of colour

French marigolds con­tain the widest colour range. The flow­ers can ap­pear in solid colours of orange, yel­low, gold or ma­hogany red. Bi-coloured flow­ers in com­bi­na­tions of orange and gold, ma­hogany red and yel­low are also avail­able. This species also blooms in a va­ri­ety of forms such as sin­gle flow­ered, car­na­tion flow­ered, full, dou­ble flow­ered or crested with a cen­tre of tight clus­tered petals sur­rounded by broader ray petals. The plants them­selves grow in a bushy form mak­ing won­der­ful ac­cents for flower beds.

Ex­am­ples in­clude the heavy bloomers in the Janie se­ries

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.