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American Marigold Tagetes erecta

Previously known as:

  • Tagetes elongata
Phonetic Spelling
tah-JEE-tees ee-RECK-tah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Tagetes erecta, or African Marigold, is a frequently cultivated, tender, flowering, herbaceous annual or houseplant known for its large flowerheads. Tall varieties may need staking, and spent flowers should be promptly deadheaded, as flower heads are heavy and can cause stems to snap.  Triploid F1 hybrids (T. erecta x T. patula) combine the large flowers of the African marigold with the more compact size of the French marigold into vigorous plants featuring 2 to 3 inch diameter flowers on stems rising 10 to 18 inches tall. These triploids seem unaffected by high summer heat and generally bloom throughout the summer. The genus, Tagetes, is named for an Etruscan deity, Tages and the specific epithet means erect or upright.

Despite its name, the plant is native to Mexico and uncultivated African Marigolds can be found in pine-oak forests and as escapees from a garden growing along the sides of roads. African Marigold tolerates clay and dry soil but prefers evenly moist, well-drained soil. It does well in full sun, which encourages blooms, but appreciates some light afternoon shade; however, it does not do well in full shade.  Leaves and flowers are fragrant when brushed or crushed. You can pinch back young plants to promote bushy growth. 

It will grow best from seed that you can start indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last frost date and is also available as plants in six packs from local nurseries. Set plants out after last frost date. Plant taller varieties deep is sites protected from strong wind or heavy rain to minimize the need for stem support. Promptly deadhead spent flowers.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: 

This plant is susceptible to powdery mildew, Botrytis, leaf spot, and rots.  Watch for spider mites, slugs, or thrips.  

 

 VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Vegetable Garden- Raised Beds
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Antigua Orange'
  • 'Antigua Primrose'
  • 'Antigua Yellow'
  • 'Atlantis Orange'
  • 'Discovery Yellow'
  • 'Double Eagle'
  • 'Inca Orange'
  • 'Inca Primrose'
  • 'Indian Yellow'
  • 'Maurel Yellow'
  • 'Mesa Gold'
  • 'Safari'
  • 'Safari Tangerine'
  • 'Sweet Cream'
'Antigua Orange', 'Antigua Primrose', 'Antigua Yellow', 'Atlantis Orange', 'Discovery Yellow', 'Double Eagle', 'Inca Orange', 'Inca Primrose', 'Indian Yellow', 'Maurel Yellow', 'Mesa Gold', 'Safari', 'Safari Tangerine', 'Sweet Cream'
Tags:
#gold#poisonous#full sun tolerant#red-brown#fragrant leaves#fall interest#cpp#long-lasting flowers#summer flowers#deer resistant#spring interest#fantz
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Antigua Orange'
  • 'Antigua Primrose'
  • 'Antigua Yellow'
  • 'Atlantis Orange'
  • 'Discovery Yellow'
  • 'Double Eagle'
  • 'Inca Orange'
  • 'Inca Primrose'
  • 'Indian Yellow'
  • 'Maurel Yellow'
  • 'Mesa Gold'
  • 'Safari'
  • 'Safari Tangerine'
  • 'Sweet Cream'
'Antigua Orange', 'Antigua Primrose', 'Antigua Yellow', 'Atlantis Orange', 'Discovery Yellow', 'Double Eagle', 'Inca Orange', 'Inca Primrose', 'Indian Yellow', 'Maurel Yellow', 'Mesa Gold', 'Safari', 'Safari Tangerine', 'Sweet Cream'
Tags:
#gold#poisonous#full sun tolerant#red-brown#fragrant leaves#fall interest#cpp#long-lasting flowers#summer flowers#deer resistant#spring interest#fantz
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tagetes
    Species:
    erecta
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Popular in the cut flower trade, the plant was gathered for ceremonial and decorative uses by the Aztecs.
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico to Guatemala
    Distribution:
    Southern North America
    Wildlife Value:
    attracts butterflies
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Colorful
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is seldom damaged by deer.
    Edibility:
    Sap or juice can cause a rash.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    Yellow, orange, mahogany, bronze, creamy white and bicolor; double solitary 2 to 6 inch flowers blooming on slender heads from early summer to early fall.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Gland-dotted and aromatic; leaves opposite at the bottom and alternate above, pinnately lobed and appearing divided, the lobes narrow and toothed.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    The stem is striated, sometimes ridged, smooth or slightly with villi, cylindrical, oval and herbaceous to slightly woody, with resin channels in the bark, which are aromatic when squeezed.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Children's Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Mass Planting
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Heat
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Skin redness, burning pain, and blisters when broken skin is in contact with cell sap plus sunlight; nose and eye irritation from the aroma of flowers
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Phototoxic thiophene derivatives
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Roots
    Sap/Juice