The dozens of marigold varieties are very versatile and colorful Mediterranean flowers that have managed to adapt to a huge range of growing conditions as they’ve traveled the world. This adaptability factor has made marigolds one of the most popular and common plants with beginner and veteran gardeners alike.
Marigolds are very easy to grow and they blossom all year round if you don’t get harsh winters or freezes in your climate zone. They require to be in a space with soil that drains well and full sun, but they are otherwise content. Marigold varieties are a nice way to add fun pops of color to your landscape as they come in bold hues like red, yellow, and orange. You can also find bi-color and striped variants.
Another advantage of adding marigold varieties to your garden or yard is that they draw in pollinators like butterflies and bees to your vegetable garden. Very few insects will negatively affect them, nor do diseases. So, this makes it a very low-maintenance garden plant.
Marigolds are very pretty and low-maintenance plants that are great for novice gardeners who want to add pops of color to the landscape. Marigold by december_snowdrift / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
24 Bold and Brilliant Types of Marigolds
If you’re interested in adding this flashy little plant to your garden, let’s break down 24 fun options that will survive even harsh conditions below.
1. Baileya Multiradiata
This is a very tender marigold variety that looks brilliant during the spring months. It’s native to the desert region of Mexico and the Southern US. It does very well in sandy and infertile soil. The flower is very delicate, and this means that it can’t stand any frost without damage. In grows very rapidly during the spring months when the new plants sprout from seed. This long lasting flower is very showy as it has a brilliant yellow coloring and it rises from a leafless stem with greenish-gray foliage. As the flower ages, it will turn papery.
2. Bonanza Marigold
This is a very bushy dwarf marigold variety that belongs to the French marigold family. You propagate them from seeds during the spring months after the frost recedes. You can grow them outside in garden beds or in containers on your porch or patio. They feature rust red flowers with bright yellow edges. They start to flower during the late spring months, and they’ll produce blooms through the summer months until fall. They love being in full sun, and they will tolerate a lot of soils but they do best in soil that is sandy, loamy, or clay-based.
3. Bounty Marigold
This is another French marigold variety that can get a little bigger at 10 to 12-inches tall at full maturity. However, it’s actually a dwarf variety that has a compact growth habit. It loves growing in humid and hot summer weather, and you’ll see flowers only at the top of each plant. The flowers get up to two inches across, and they come in shades or orange, flame, or gold.
4. Calendula Officinalis
This marigold variety is a cheerful, fun pot marigold that hails from the Mediterranean and European region. It’s one marigold that is very easy to grow, but it does excellently in temperate climates. It’s a very hardy choice that resists drought, and it’ll give you semi-double flowers in shades of yellow, bronze, cream, and orange with medium green leaves. The flower is very attractive to butterflies and bees. The petals have a very spicy, strong flavor, and you’ll find them used for culinary and medicinal purposes. It can’t tolerate intense heat, and it’ll die during humid and hot weather.
5. Caltha Palustris
This perennial marigold variety is native to several areas in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a succulent plant that offers heart-shaped, glossy leaves with clusters or sunny yellow flowers that are shaped like buttercups. The blossom comes with five petals and a rounded tuft of anthers that carry pollen and are golden yellow. Thick stems mound it, and the leaves are popular for use as potherbs. You’ll need to boil them for several hours and change the water during the boiling process. Never eat them raw. It loves full sun with slightly moist or wet acidic soil.
6. Red Marigold
Cottage red marigold varieties are bright red, single, five-petaled flowers with yellow borders and a golden center. It’s a hybrid plant from Mexico, and the petals have a spade shape with square tips. It starts blooming in summer until fall, and it’ll get up to five feet tall at full maturity. The flower has dark green, compact and ferny foliage that will stay vibrant throughout the flowering period. It does best in well-drained soil in full sun. Since the flower is so long-lasting, it works wonderfully as a cut flower. You can lengthen how long it flowers by trimming it regularly.
7. Hero Orange Marigold
Also called the French Marigold Hero Orange, this marigold variety is a dwarf French plant. It stands just shy of 10 inches at full maturity, and the feature that makes this plant stand out is that it offers a double-layered orange flower that can get a few inches across when it’s in full bloom. This is on the larger side for most marigold varieties. It produces flowers in autumn and summer, and it does well in full sun. It likes moist but well-draining soil, and it can adapt to virtually any soil type, including clay, sand, and loam.
Orange marigolds come in a huge range of shades from dark orange up to very light, and you can even get bi-colored varieties. Marigold by fui 🙂 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
8. Irish Lace Marigold
This marigold variety is a very short plant that has pretty lacy leaves. It has scented darker green leaves with tiny white flowers. Unlike a lot of marigold varieties on the list that have bold and brilliant looks, this plant has a very dreamy and delicate look. It’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for a perennial plant that isn’t too bold.
9. Lemon Gem Marigold
This is a signet marigold variety, and it is characterized by lemon-yellow, daisy-like flowers that start blooming later in the spring months until the fall. This marigold type does very well in virtually every weather condition except extreme cold. They like to be in full sun in a type of well-draining soil, no matter if it’s loamy, chalky, sandy, or clay-based. Pests like slugs, snails, and glasshouse red spider mites can all affect them.
10. Little Hero Marigold
This marigold variety is another slight variation of the compact French marigold that will get eight inches high at the tallest point. It will tolerate hot and humid planting zones very well. They are characterized by double-layered, two-inch flowers that come in a range of colors, like red, flame, gold, orange, and yellow.
11. Mexican Marigold
Better known as the Aztec or African marigold, this marigold variety is native to Mexico, and you’ll find it growing all over the wilds of Mexico. The flowers are very widely available, and they’re commonly used to decorate tombs or altars during the Day of the Dead celebrations throughout Mexico. This practice earned this marigold the nickname of the “flower of the dead”. The Aztecs used this flower for medicinal and ceremonial purposes, so this is where the name Aztec marigold came from.
This marigold variety gets propagated through seeds, and you’ll get orange, yellow, or white flowers. They flower during the summer and fall months, and both the flowers and leaves are aromatic. The florets on this plant get used to make natural yellow dye for textiles. They’re also popular for use in culinary preparations for added flavor and color. You should inspect them first as they’re prone to issues with powdery mildew.
12. Mr. Majestic Double
This is one of the showiest French marigold varieties available, and you get bushy and robust plants that get smothered in double blooms with mahogany and gold striping that gives it a very striking look. It is very close to the Mr. Majestic heirloom, but this one has more petals than the heirloom variety. However, it’ll make a very strong statement when you plant it in borders and beds.
13. Pot Marigold
Pot marigold varieties are also called the Scotch marigold, common marigold, or riddles. They’ll flower in virtually any soil type, but the one thing they are picky about is the weather. They can’t survive in freezing conditions, and they need to be in a full sun location. They’ll bloom from seeds in under 60 days, and this is a fairly rapid growth cycle. The florets are also edible, and they’re popular as a garnish and in salads. People use them in place of saffron to add a pop of color. The leaves are also edible, but they don’t taste very good. They’re popular to dye fabrics due to the bold coloring.
Pot marigolds are one of the most popular options for people to purchase, and they do very well planted straight in the garden or in containers. Calendula officinalis by Carl Lewis / CC BY 2.0
14. Queen Sophia Marigold
This is another French dwarf marigold variety, and it’s a deciduous plant that will shed leaves each season. So, you’ll want to cut it back after it flowers and starts to die back. You’ll get carnation-like flowers that have a semi-double growth habit. The flowers are orangish-red with yellow borders. As a bonus it repels ticks!
15. Safari Mixture Marigold
Tagetes patula is a marigold variety that has a very strong scent when it flowers, and it falls into the French marigold family. You get semi-double flowers in carnation yellow. The plant will also produce flowers in shades of orange and mahogany-red. You can get a range of colors with plants that all require the same maintenance, and this makes your flower bed a lot easier to deal with.
16. Safari Scarlet Marigold
This is a dwarf French marigold variety, and it gives you semi-double flowers with bright yellow tips and a deep mahogany-red coloring. The plants shed seasonally, so you’ll need the correct tools to cut them back after they flower.
17. Safari Tangerine Marigold
As part of the French dwarf marigold varieties, this plant has carnation-like flowers with aromatic leaves. The flower are a pretty tangerine orange, and you’ll see flowers in the spring, summer, and fall months until the first frost comes around. They do very well in full sun and soil that drains well but stays moist. You will need to deadhead them frequently to encourage repeat flowering.
18. Signet Marigold
This marigold variety is a very bushy but small plant that has lemon-scented, lacy foliage. You’ll get very small and single flowers that are delicate, and they come in hues of orange, yellow, or a rusty red. They have edible flowers that taste like tarragon. You can eat them fresh or dry them to preserve them and use them later.
19. Spanish Tarragon Marigold
This is an anise-flavored marigold variety that will bloom later in the season during the fall months. It can get up to three feet high, and you’ll see small and simple flowers. You may hear it called the Mexican Mint Marigold. Unlike some species that don’t grow well in humid or hot weather, this plant is highly adaptive and versatile. They are flavorful and aromatic, and you can use them as a tarragon substitute.
20. Sweet Cream Marigold
Sweet cream marigold varieties have creamy-colored flowers with medium, sturdy, and compact stems that can get up to 16 inches tall. This is a white hybrid that produces big, three-inch flowers that will bloom early in the summer and continue until the frost. It will attract bees, butterflies, and birds. This plant is an excellent garden and pot specimen that works wonderfully in flower bed plantings and borders. It requires you to water it regularly without over-watering it.
21. Tiger-Eyes Marigold
This French marigold variety gets characterized by double-layered flowers that come with an anemone-like inner area. The outer layer or flower on this plant is a deeper mahogany red, and the inner layer is a very deep yellow for gorgeous contrast. You’ll see flowers from the late spring months until the early fall.
22. Yellow Jacket Marigold
This is a bushy and compact French marigold variety that has a longer flowering season that starts in the spring and goes to the autumn months. They have very aromatic foliage in a greenish-gray coloring, and they offer double-crested, tight, bright yellow flowers. They work well when it comes to repelling spiders, and they survive very well indoors in pots.
Yellow jacket marigolds bring bright yellow coloring to your garden offset by pretty darker green foliage. Five yellow marigolds by wintersoul1 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
23. Zenith Lemon Yellow Marigold
This bushy dwarf marigold variety can stand out from other types as it has a pretty lemon-yellow coloring with a daisy-like flower head. The leaves are also strongly aromatic. You can grow this plant from seeds relatively easily, and it likes places that have full sun with a well-draining soil. This marigold variety is usually disease and pest-free, and they can repel mosquitoes if you put them by your patio or deck.
24. Zenith Red Marigold
The final marigold variety of the list is a very bushy and compact plant that loves soil that drains well and sunny locations. It’ll start flowering in the later spring months and go into the fall season. You’ll see pretty double-layered flowers that feature a bold, deep red coloring with pretty yellow shading or edging to help them stand out.
The Best Time to Plant Marigold Varieties
Generally speaking, you want to plant these fast-growing flowers outside after the last frost of the season recedes. They usually start blooming 45 days after you plant them, and they usually come in shades of orange, yellow, red, and dozens of shades in between. They work well to fill in borders or landscaping gaps very quickly.
Most varieties are also self seeding, and they can spread throughout your garden or flower bed year in and year out. The fastest growing plant you can get in this family is the French marigold, but the African marigold is a lot bigger.
Why You Should Consider Growing Marigolds
Marigold flowers can look like carnations or daisies, and the blooms will be in clusters or single. If you have a sunny area that is too hot for most annuals to thrive, your marigolds will probably do very well there. If there is too much shade, you may want another plant. In moist, cool areas, marigolds have issues with powdery mildew. To plant them, you should:
- Sow your seeds as soon as the soil warms up in the spring months and the frost danger passes. You can use plants, but the seeds will germinate so quickly that you’ll have plants within eight weeks.
- Sprinkle organic flower food on the soil.
- Sow the seeds an inch apart and an inch deep before lightly moistening the soil.
- When they sprout, thin them out to 8 or 10 inches apart if you planted French or signet marigold varieties and 10 or 12 inches apart if you bought the bigger African marigolds.
- Add a one to two inch layer of mulch around your plants to keep the soil moist and suppress weeds.
- Perform routine maintenance on the adult plants. Pinch the tops to encourage fuller and bushier growth to help encourage repeat blooming. In dry heat, water the plants well. Allow the soil to dry out between watering sessions.
Uses for Marigolds
There are many uses for the different marigold varieties. If you’re on the fence about adding them, the following may help change your mind. The biggest uses include:
Adding Variety to Your Landscape
Marigolds come in beautiful shades or yellow, orange, mahogany, red, or combinations. The flowers can have a single or double growth, and the sizes of the plants range from a tiny three inches up to an impressive three feet. They add welcome pops of colors and fill in gaps between your boxwood or other shrubs.
Bees and Other Beneficial Pollinators
Marigolds are excellent plants when it comes to attracting parasitic wasps, ladybugs, hoverflies,and a range of beneficial insects that can help protect your plants and flowers from aphids or harmful pests.
Chickens love to eat both dried and fresh marigold varieties. You can toss the petals into your chicken coop and watch them eat them. Adding marigolds to your chicken’s feed will help get rid of mites and darken the yolk colors.
Marigold varieties are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and vitamin C. You can use them in a huge range of dishes from tossing fresh ones into a salad or baking them into a cake. They make a pretty addition to cupcakes or cakes, and you can candy marigold varieties in sugar. They are a very fresh and tasty complement to cheese dip, squash, and several different soups. You can use the flower petals from this plan as a substitute for saffron, and it’ll color your dish while adding a peppery note.
Marigold petals can also get steeped in tea at a rate of one teaspoon of dried marigold petals to eight ounces of water. You only want to use ones that were organically grown to avoid fertilizer sprays as they won’t be suitable for eating.
Dried marigolds can easily last up to a year, and they make a very peppery tea that can help with a range of medical issues. Lego Marigolds by Qwen Wan / CC BY 2.0
If you soak the petals in hot water, you can create a natural dye that works for fabric, eggs, pasta, and more. If you dry the petals, they work as potpourri. The dried flowers can last for up to a year if you store them in a dark, cool place.
Caring for the different marigold varieties is a very easy task. They are very hardy plants that are tolerant of heat, sunshine, drought, and nearly every soil type as long as it drains well. Marigolds are very easy to grow from transplants, or you can easily start them from seeds directly in the garden or inside.
Marigold Companion Planting
When you plant them nearby, marigolds are excellent for protecting cruciferous plants from a cabbage worm attack, and they can ward hornworms from your tomato plants because the scent confuses the pests. Marigolds also work very well as a companion plant when you put them near squash, bush beans, eggplant, and cucumbers.
Marigold varieties have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, and it’s also a mild antiseptic and an antioxidant. You can steep the petals in hot water to make a tea to help treat menstrual cramps, ulcers, and indigestion. You can rub the petals on scrapes and burns to get a little relief, and it helps promote new skin growth. Making a salve out of it will help you treat diaper rash too. Creams and tinctures made out of marigolds are helpful to help reduce the appearance of acne.
The stems and roots of marigold varieties help emit a chemical that can suppress the population of root-knot nematodes. These are very small soil borne worms that feed on your ornamental plant roots and vegetables. French marigolds are the most effective at preventing an infestation of these pests.
We’ve outlined 24 marigold varieties for you to consider adding to your garden or landscape. You can easily mix and match them to get the perfect look to help you fill in space and bring color to the garden.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.