May 21, 2013
If you want to create an easy color splash, then you want to plant flowering annuals. There are lots new selections with really bright colors in the garden centers ready to liven up your landscape. Today I’m at Rivers Greenhouse and Garden Center and can you believe all of this color. I’d like to share one of my long time favorites, marigolds. For the hot summer weather, marigolds are a sure bet for great color. The African marigold, known botanically as Tagetes erecta, has beautiful pompom-like flowers. Yellow, like the flowers of these Inca II, and orange, like these Moonsong Deep Orange, are popular choices. But believe it or not, there are even white flowers. The variety French Vanilla has creamy white flowers that will remind you of ice cream on a hot summer afternoon. The other marigold I always have in my garden are Tagetes patula, the French marigold. French marigolds have a broader color palette that includes reds and browns to go along with yellow and orange. These Bonanza hybrids will grow to ten inches tall and eight inches wide. Bonanza has some of the largest flowers with diameters approaching two inches or greater. Marigolds are easy to grow. They don’t need much fertilizer, but they do need consistent watering during dry spells. They love a lot of sunshine, but you will need to dead-head spent flowers to encourage additional blooming. A little known fact is that marigold flowers are edible, well at least the petals are edible. Imagine using as colorful confetti on your favorite recipe. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.