Giant marigolds look stunning in the garden and they’re great for attracting bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects to your garden.
In this article I’ll share my tips for growing beautiful large marigold flowers that will really stand out in your flower garden.
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There are many different varieties of marigolds available ranging in height from 6 inches to 4 feet (15 cm to 120 cm) tall, and spreading 6 inches to 2 feet (15 cm to 60 cm) wide.
African marigolds (Tagetes erecta), also known as Giant marigolds, are the largest variety of marigolds, growing 3 to 4 feet (90 to 120 cm) tall.
They also have a 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 cm) spread, so you only need a few plants to make a big impact in the garden.
African marigolds also have large dense flowerheads that can reach up to 5 inches (12 cm) across.
African marigolds are taller and more heat tolerant than French marigolds so they’re ideal for hot and dry climates.
They bloom best in a full sun position, but they’ll also do well in a spot with partial shade during the day.
If you can’t find African marigolds, another good option is Crackerjack (Tagetes erecta).
The plants grow 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) tall with double petaled flowers that can be orange or yellow.
The flowers grow 4 inches (10 cm) across, with tightly packed petals that make the flowers look like big round pom poms.
Many vegetable gardeners plant marigolds in and around their vegie garden to help reduce nematodes, aphids and other plant pests while helping to attract beneficial pollinating insects.
Marigolds are good companion plants for tomatoes, basil, squash, cucumbers, eggplants and potatoes.
How to grow Giant African Marigolds from seed
It’s best to plant African marigold seeds in early spring (after the risk of frost has passed) because they take longer to mature than other marigold varieties.
In warm climates with a long growing season you can plant the seeds directly in the garden or in cooler climates start the seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date of the season.
Plant the seeds about ¼ inch (6 mm) deep.
Marigold seeds usually germinate within a week of planting.
If you’ve started the seeds indoors you can transplant them out to the garden when the risk of frost has passed and the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 cm) tall.
Choose a spot in the garden with full sun and well-draining soil and watch them bloom from late spring until fall.
It usually takes about 8 weeks from planting the seeds to the flowering stage.
Caring for African marigolds
Once the marigold plants are established, pinch the tops off the plants to help them to grow bushier.
This will keep the plants from becoming leggy and will encourage them to produce more flowers.
It’s also a good idea to remove the spent flowers regularly to extend the bloom time.
For large, long lasting marigold flowers, I recommend feeding the plants every 7 to 14 days while the plants are blooming with a liquid fertilizer like Bloom Booster Flower Food.
Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings, then water the plants deeply.
Try to water marigolds at the base of the plant, rather than overhead, to reduce the risk of fungal diseases like powdery mildew.
Marigolds can be affected by a number of pests including aphids, spider mites and caterpillars. 
You can get rid of these pests by spraying the leaves with insecticidal soap or a neem oil spray.
Are African marigolds perennials?
Marigolds are annuals, which means they germinate, mature, bloom and produce seeds in one growing season.
You can collect seeds from the spent flowers at the end of the season and save them in an envelope or paper bag to plant the following spring.
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So there are my tips for growing beautiful, big marigold flowers in your garden.
Large marigolds are a great plant for beginners because they’re easy to take care of and they look stunning in the garden or in large pots.
With the right care you can enjoy these giant marigold flowers in your garden for many months.
Have you tried growing African giant marigolds in your flower garden? Let me know in the comments below.
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