Marigolds are beautiful to see as they dance in the grass beside highways and backroads. They also frequent garden beds around the world, adding splashes of color amongst the greenery. There are many benefits of marigold flowers when added to your garden, so let’s chat about why you should include them in your garden plans this spring!
Are marigolds the same as calendula?
Marigolds come from the same plant family as calendula and sunflowers. According to National Geographic’s Guide to Medicinal Herbs, calendula’s scientific name is calendula officinalis while marigold’s scientific name is tagetes. “Pot marigold” is calendula’s common nickname, which makes it easy to confuse these two very different flowers. Calendula petals are straight & narrow and the flower has a flat bowl shape. Marigold petals are short and wavy, and the flower has a half-dome shape.
Calendula is known known for its wonderful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and skin healing properties. On the other hand, marigolds are best known for their benefits in the garden. Herbalists use marigold petals in small quantities for teas, salves, and food toppings, but they can become toxic when ingested in large quantities (or for those with a sensitivity). For this reason, most experts recommend avoiding the ingestion of marigolds. Even so, many people have used the petals to add color and vibrancy to their dishes, and are careful to only consume marigolds in very small amounts. Always check with your doctor to ensure they’re compatible with your health conditions, medications, and supplements!
Benefits of Marigold Flowers
1. Marigolds are Easy to Grow
These flowers love sun and are tolerant to most climates and soil conditions. They still need well-draining soil like most plants, but they require very little maintenance in order to stay alive.
How to Grow Marigolds
Plant marigolds in your garden during spring after the last frost date. Plant the seeds 1 inch apart and 1 inch deep in well draining soil. Alternatively, you can plant the seeds in seed-starting trays in a greenhouse or indoors, about 2 months prior to the last frost date.
Once the seeds sprout, the marigold plant will usually take off on it’s own! Pluck the first few flowers off of the plant to encourage bushier growth (as opposed to lengthy growth). The flowers love full sun exposure, and will grow in moderately fertilized soil. Droughts and rainy weeks don’t affect marigolds as much as other flowers, but be sure they’re planted in well-draining soil to maximize blooms.
New to gardening? Read this post on How to Start a Vegetable Garden From Scratch!
2. Marigold Benefits: Attracting Bees and Other Pollinators
Have you ever wondered why you have so many floral blooms on your fruit and vegetable plants, but no production of actual fruit or vegetables? One possible reason is that the female flowers aren’t getting pollinated by the male flowers. This is where marigolds come in.
Marigolds are often seen in garden beds because they attract bees, butterflies, and other helpful pollinators. As a result, your plants will be pollinated and produce more food. One of the greatest marigold benefits is that they bloom throughout most of the year, so they’re a great resource for these pollinating insects when other flowers have died off!
3. Attracts Predatory Insects
Another marigold benefit is attracting predatory insects such as wasps and ladybugs. Predatory insects eat other insects that feed off of the fruits and veggies you worked so hard to grow! Planting marigolds is one of the greatest methods to naturally control the pests in your garden.
4. Trapping Spider Mites, Snails and Slugs
Marigolds attract snails, slugs, and spider mites. Attracting these pests to your garden may seem like a bad idea. However, since they love marigolds so much, you’ll be able to lure them to your marigold plants instead of allowing them to disperse throughout the garden to your fruits and veggies. Pluck the pests off your marigold plants and place them into a bucket of soapy water to keep them out of your garden for good.
5. Deter Unwanted Pests with Companion Planting
Not only do marigolds attract good bugs and act as traps for pests, they also deter unwanted pests all together! They make great companion plants to tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplants, and many more fruits and vegetables.
6. Benefits of Marigold Flowers: Color & Variety
Among veggies and leaves of green, marigolds will add color and variety to any vegetable garden. They usually come in shades of yellow, orange, red, and burgundy. Add marigolds with other flowers such as zinnias, butterfly weed, and milkweed to attract a variety of pollinators to your plants.
7. Used as Chicken Feed
The colorful flowers are not poisonous to chickens, so they can be added to your chicken’s diets for supplementation. The bright colors of the flowers may even make the egg yolks more vibrant and nutritious! You can serve the petals to your birds fresh, or you can dry them out, crush them into a powder, and then mix it in with their feed.
8. Used as a DIY Pest Spray
Since the natural chemicals and the strong scent of marigolds ward off pests, you can use these flowers to make homemade pest spray. You’ll need marigolds, water, Castile soap, and then you can follow along with this DIY Pest Spray recipe from Feathers in the Woods.
9. Benefits of Marigold Flowers – They’re Edible!
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, many people use small amounts of marigold flower petals in their food. They add great color and hints of citrusy spice flavors to dishes. Use caution when eating them, as they can be toxic when eaten in larger amounts, and be sure to do your research to confirm that the specific flower you’re eating is indeed edible.
Here are some recipes you can use to add marigold flowers to your dishes!
- Hawaiian Fried Rice with Flowers
- Floral Shortbread Cookies
- Summer Rolls with Marigolds and Nasturtiums
- Tortellini in Marigold Broth
10. Marigold Benefits as Crafts, Medicine, and Skincare
Additional marigold benefits include their use as crafts, medicine, and skincare. These flowers are used in Day of the Dead decorations, from marigold garlands to lining altars. While calendula is more popular in the herbalism world, marigolds are thought to have similar antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Swirlster shares several marigold recipes on Ayurvedic skincare remedies you’ll love.
Pin It For Later!
All in all, Marigold flowers have proven to have many benefits in both the garden and the home. If you love to use marigolds in creative ways, be sure to share them in the comments below!
I love marigolds! Thank you for sharing this- there were some things here that I didn’t know- like the fact that they’re edible! Super cool! Great post 🙂
I e never been a fan of marigolds but if they help with hornworms, I think I need to relook at them. Thanks
Marigolds are so versatile. Thanks for sharing all you know about them. I picked up a few little tidbits of knowledge I didn’t have before 😉
I have a tower garden and my french marigold plant is totally warding off the white flies that tormented my peppers last year. Marigolds for the win!