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Tagetes patula ‘Queen Sofia’ (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)
Tagetes patula ‘Queen Sofia’ (photo courtesy of Thomas J. Story)

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Zone
Zones A1-A3, 1-45, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Tagetes patula

French Marigold
Asteraceae (Compositae)
Annuals

TAGETES

Native to Mexico and Central America. Robust, free-branching, nearly trouble-free plants ranging from 6 in. to 6 ft. tall, with flowers from pale yellow through gold to orange and brownish maroon.

Finely divided, ferny, usually strongly scented leaves. Annuals will bloom early summer to frost if old flowers are picked off; in the desert, they bloom best from fall until frost.

Handsome, long-lasting cut flowers; strong aroma from leaves, stems, and flowers permeates a room (some odorless varieties are available).

Easy to grow from seed, which sprouts in a few days in warm soil; to get earlier bloom, start seeds in containers indoors or buy nursery plants. Smog will damage tender young plants, but they soon toughen up.

Tagetes patula

Varieties of this annual range from 6 in. to 1 1/2 ft. high and wide, in flower colors from yellow to rich maroon-brown. Blossoms may be fully double or single; many are strongly bicolored. Excellent for edging are dwarf, very double strains such as Janie (8 in.), Bonanza (10 in.), and Little Hero (10–12 in.), with 2-in. flowers in a range of colors from yellow through orange to red and brownish red. Aurora and Sophia strains have flowers that are larger (2 1/2 in. wide) but not as double.

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