Monday, August 15, 2011

Flower cultivation - marigold

Marigolds are beautifully bright coloured flowers that have many medicinal uses and have different types like African, French, Signet and Pot Marigolds.

Marigolds, also known as Ganda, Holligold, Caltha, Marybud etc., belongs to the sunflower family and are easy to grow, blossom reliably all summer and have few insect and disease problems. They have understandably been the favourite perennial plant for many years. Marigolds enhance the look of gardens due to their bold and bright colours and resiliency. Marigolds comprises of two broad genuses, namely Celandula and Tagetes. Pot Marigolds are included in Celandula where as French Marigolds and African Marigolds are included in Tagetes.

Colour of Marigolds 

 The colour of Marigold flowers ranges from yellow and gold to orange, red and mahogany. Several striped, bi-colour and creamy white cultivars are available.

 In African marigolds, the fragrance is not pleasant, but some other types are grown for their aromatic fragrance. Marigolds are used for colour massing, edging, borders, cut flowers and container plantings. Most varieties bloom from early summer until hard coolness. Marigolds require full sun and grow best in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. In order to plant marigolds, the flowerbeds should be prepared by mixing in pine bark or leaf mold to 6 to 10 inches deep. Most marigolds are hybrids.

Types of Marigolds 

 1.African Marigolds 

These marigolds have large, double flowers from midsummer to frost. Flowers may measure up to 5 inches

across. African marigolds are excellent bedding plants. African marigolds are often called American marigolds.

2.French Marigolds 

French marigolds are small, bushy plants with flowers up to 2 inches across. Flowers may be single or double,

yellow, orange, mahogany-red or multi-coloured. Plant height ranges from 6 to 18 inches. French marigolds

bloom from spring until frost. They hold up better in rainy weather than the larger African marigolds.

3.Signet Marigolds 

These are small and bushy flowers with lacy, lemon-scented coolness. Small, yellow, orange, or rust red
                            african marigold - lahore(tagetes-erecta)
single flowers cover the plants in summer. Many people who do not like other marigolds admire the delicacy of signets. The flowers of signet marigolds are edible. If blooms slow during midsummer, shear back the plants by one-third to encourage additional blossoms when cool weather returns.

4.Pot Marigold 

Pot marigold is not a true marigold. This cool-season annual is grown for its bright yellow and orange flowers.
                        african marigold - orange
Pot marigolds are often grown as herbs.

5.Mule Marigolds 

Mule marigolds are fusion of French marigolds, which are small in size and African marigolds that are rather


large. These sterile hybrids generally grow between 12 to 18 inches in height.

Medicinal Uses of Marigolds 

Marigolds contain several medicinal properties and are widely used in Ayurveda and Homeopathy. Marigolds are considered as an age old remedy for curing headaches, swelling, tooth-aches and also prevent wounds from getting infected. In homeopathy, this flower is used in treating bruises and minor injuries. This flower is also used for healing warts, calluses and corn. Moreover it is also used in treatment of stomach and mouth ulcers, viral infections, skin disorders, eczema etc.

Marigolds are also used in aromatherapy and also as eyewash. Moreover, Marigolds are also used in cooking several dishes like soups etc. In India, Hindus use marigold for religious purposes also and devote the flower to gods and goddesses in worship.


Cultivation

Keep seedlings warm, and move onto larger pots when they have four to six true leaves. Harden off and plant out in a sunny position when the weather is warm enough, at about 8cm apart. Tagetes minuta will need a stake to support it. Water well until established.

Remove spent flowers as they die off, water in dry weather and feed with a high potash fertilizer occasionally to prolong the flowering period.

In India African marigolds are often grown as standards. To do this, rub the side shoots off a marigold plant and tie the bare stem to a stick so it keeps growing upwards.

When it is about 45cm tall, allow the top to bush out, and develop normally but keep rubbing off any side shoots from the stem.

Pests
Slugs and snails like young plants, otherwise trouble-free.

Marigold seedlings keep disappearing because of slugs and snails.They  eat  the marigold seedlings in the night . Apparently slugs and snails consider marigold seedlings and plants to be as tasty as humans consider lettuce. If you’ve got lots of snails and slugs around, you probably won’t be able to grow marigolds. Or cantaloupe vines either. The snails and slugs mowed down my row of cantaloupe seedlings.

Marigolds  are a beautiful plant and have lots of flowers that practically glow.Hence,marigold saplings are to be protected  from  snails and slugs .
slug eating marigold plants

Pesticides

To control slugs  and  snails it is  better to use good pellet / bait  products  which are  based iron phosphate
(slug killer) instead of the traditional and highly toxic metaldehyde .

One can also use a natural biological control consisting of nematodes which parasitise slugs .This is to be mixed with  water and  then applied to  the garden soil .                                                                                                                 
mari gold - hybrid

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