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Marigold mishaps...(UPDATE!)

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by JeffBrownThumb on April 21, 2004 02:09 AM
Okay everyone,

With my second post to these forums, I figured I would bring up a topic that has haunted me in years past. Good old marigolds! Now, I have heard from every Tom, Dick AND Harry that these are supposed to be the easiest plants in the world to grow and maintain, but you know what?? Every year I manage to do a really bad job at keeping them, and then usually look really ragged and die before their time. Of course, when I first get them, they look gorgeous, mind you. Big, healthy plants with huge flower heads blooming on them. I just need to find out how to keep them that way.

I think what I will do first, is share with the class what I have done in the past, and maybe some of you can tell me what I have been doing wrong and perhaps suggest some changes in my routine. Okay, here goes....

Typically I plant them in small-medium flower boxes outdoors, and usually 2 plants per box. If I had to guess I would say that the boxes are about 8"H x 8"W x 18"L or something close to that. Any idea if these boxes are too small, even for two plants at a time?

I usually use simple potting soil for them, but I am thinking that I might need some sort of special soil for them to be able to thrive. Perhaps this has been a major mistake of mine in the past. Any specific suggestions as to exactly what type of soil I should be using to grow these in?

In the past, the sunlight seems to fry my marigolds rather quickly. I really need to prevent this from happening, so does anyone think I might be having some "watering issues"? [Big Grin] I typically water them well every day, especially in very hot weather but it doesn't seem to keep them from looking really ragged and half dead at times. Do you think I could be running into a dual soil/water problem here? If so, what is the recommended amount that I should water the plants and at what frequency? Is it better to water in the morning or the evening?

Another big question in my mind... should I fertilize my plants?? In the past, I really haven't and again, this might be a problem. If I should be fertilizing, what exact fertilizer should I use and how often do the plants need it?

That's about all I can think of for the moment. If anyone has any other suggestions beyond the topics I have brought up that would help me succeed in growing these plants, I would greatly appreciate it! I just want them to look as awesome for several months as they do the day I bring them home from the greenhouse.

Thanks a lot!

--Jeff H.
by Jiffymouse on April 21, 2004 02:34 AM
okay jeff, you aren't alone in the marigold murdering department. took me forever to figure them out. so here is what i do...
[teacher] [critic]

first, i do not plant them on the south side of the house. yes, they will take full sun, but in s.e. ga, it is just too hot for most things except pine trees and mosquitoes!

second, i don't think you are putting too many in a box, if anything, maybe too few? i usually cram mine in with about an inch or so of soil around the plants. here of late, i mix miracle gro potting soil with the cheap stuff and it is working fine.

i water in the evenings. not usually every day, although, as it gets hotter, i will. i soak all my plants well, until the water runs out the bottom of the pot.

and i "dead head" them. this seems to make the biggest difference. what that means is that when a bloom is dying and droopy, i cut or pinch it off. that way the plant will put its energy into making new flowers, not trying to support the dying ones and making seeds.

so... class is now at recess... we expect a full report! [Big Grin] [Big Grin]
by Chrissy on April 21, 2004 02:38 AM
Hi Jeff,
Ok, marigolds are pretty easy to maintain as long as you follow some simple steps...first off, I wouldn't suggest watering when the sun is blazing...that will fry the plants. Wait until it is a bit cooler in the early evening. Also fertilizer & compost is important to any plant, they need to be fed to bloom well. I would suggest just before planting marigolds in soil, mix in a plant food containing timed-release fertilizer and extra phosphorous, such as 11-40-6. The extra phosphorous will help the plants develop extensive roots. Do not use a high nitrogen fertilizer, as it will make them big & leafy but with little blooming. When growing marigolds in containers, fertilize them monthly by sprinkling a teaspoon of fertilizer per plant on top of the soil in the pots and watering well. Also, pinch off faded blooms before they have a chance to form seeds. This will help plants stay fresh and continue blooming.

* * * *
by JeffBrownThumb on April 21, 2004 04:12 AM
Thanks for the great replies so far!!

I am about 2-3 weeks away from getting my plants for this season, as the weather here in Michigan is still on the cool side at times. Plus, the city where I live has a great flower/plant show every year in May and there are a couple of greenhouses that sell at the show, and their stuff is simply amazing.

I live in an upper flat with a pretty nice deck/balcony but unfortunately I am facing the south. SO, whatever I put out on my deck for the spring/summer is going to get full sunlight all day long, and sometimes in Michigan, it gets hotter than it does in places down south! Figure that one out...

From both of your suggestions, it looks like I better start fertilizing those plants! Chrissy... do you have any specific brands or types of fertilizer that I should look out for? Since I don't fertilize, I'm not too familiar with what is available for purchase.

I'll definitely keep everyone informed when I get my marigolds and how things are going with my new "tips" on how to take care of them.

Thanks again for the help...

--Jeff H.
by Chrissy on April 21, 2004 05:19 AM
Hi again Jeff [wayey] I use Colorburst flowering plant food 11-40-6. You can pick it up at most farm supply stores, Lowe's, Home Depot, or many other stores & nurseries. I get a 3.5 lb bag for about $5.00. Can't wait to hear how your marigolds do [flower]

* * * *
by loz on April 21, 2004 07:24 AM
Using any kind of plant food works wonders.....I use Miracle Grow Liquid that I mix in my watering can.......Oh my gosh, the difference it made last year was astounding. So much so that even my husband noticed how big and healthy they got and if he notices then that's saying

I don't care how much I have to spend, it's worth it.....I usually water in the evening, but my mom prefers watering at the crack of long as the sun isn't out it's okay......I get so mad at wallyworld when I see them watering everything in the blazing afternoon sun..... [Frown]
by JeffBrownThumb on May 09, 2004 11:05 PM

First of all... Happy Mother's Day to all the moms on here! Secondly, I thought I would go ahead and update my thread on marigolds since I finally purchased some today. Today was the big flower show in the city where I live and I purchased a flat of large, yellow African marigolds. Then, taking the advice of some other posters on this thread, I went to my local Home Depot and purchased some Miracle Gro potting soil that is enriched with Miracle Gro plant food. Then I looked over the various plant food/fertilizers that they have and I decided on Miracle Gro Bloom Booster Flower Food.

Now, my question... did I choose the correct food/fertilizer in this case? I figured since these type of marigolds have such huge blooms that I would try out this Bloom Booster and see if that worked well. Now, I understand that I am supposed to wait about 3 weeks or so before I start using the Bloom Booster, as the soil I purchased is supposed to be sufficient until that time. Any recommendations here?

Other than that, I just need to plant them in my flower boxes and hopefully this season things will go a little better for me overall. Now, I just need to remember not to water them during the afternoon in the blazing sun. [tongue]

--Jeff H.
by Jiffymouse on May 09, 2004 11:58 PM
[thumb] you got it!! (and thanks for the mother's day wish... so far, so good, only 5 more hours till bed time, hope it stays this good [Big Grin] [Big Grin] )
by MitchAndRachael on May 28, 2004 03:53 AM
I am having some marigold woes of my own. The plants are doing exceptionally well. I started them from seeds back in April and they are at about 1 1/2 feet in height. This is the crackerjack type that can get pretty big. But, I have yet to see a single bloom!
I did try to thin them out today and found that despite the spacing there were roots everywhere. I had about 8-10 plants in a 3 foot wide planter box and have thinned it to about 5 in that space. I did notice some wilting recently but I have increased watering and they have picked up nicely.
So, after that long winded comment [nutz] my question is this:
Am I just not waiting long enough for blooms or should I provide more space or a plant food to encourage them? If so, which food would be optimum?

Thanks in advance!

* * * *
1st year gardeners :-D

Mitch and Rachael

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