The 2012 Burpee Seed Catalog – Part II

Queen Sophia French marigold closeup by OrganicNation

In the last post, TheGardenLady discussed  some of the flower part of the Burpee Seed Catalog.   In this post, TheGardenLady will talk a little more about Burpee’s flowers, but more about their vegetables.

In the vegetable part of the catalog you will find sweet corn that is red, tiny golden colored peppers, bright orange tomatoes, white tomatoes and swiss chard that is rainbow colored – all Burpee Exclusives. Together with the regular colored vegetables and such vegetables as the purple carrots or blue potatoes, your harvest can decorate your house as fancifully as any bouquet of flowers. You have to see this catalog to believe what is being offered for this year’s garden.

Continue reading “The 2012 Burpee Seed Catalog – Part II”

Letting Go of Dying Marigolds

Lifeless by Rodrigo Neves

On Monday, TheGardenLady wrote a post that answered a question from a Cassie about getting marigolds to bloom.  Here’s a follow-up question from Cassie.

So should I just throw away the pathetic looking stems and the root ball?

Cassie, I would not waste any more of your precious time on the pathetic looking stems and root ball of your dying or dead marigold. TheGardenLady would let your marigold plant go to plant heaven where all beloved plants, I hope, some day end up. Don’t just throw away the pathetic looking plant but add it to your compost pile so that it can become rich compost material that will help in creating great new soil to help grow the new beautiful plants you will now plant. Go to a local garden store where they sell marigold plants or buy a seed packet of marigold seeds and start anew. It will be much more of a rewarding experience starting over with new plants or seeds. It is relatively cheap to buy marigold plants. You will be much more assured of success with the new plantings whereas trying to nurse a pathetic looking plant back to health can be very frustrating. With rarer or more expensive plants it might be more of a worthwhile challenge to doctor them. But even the best gardeners would not work so hard to rescue a marigold unless it was a very, very rare marigold.

Getting Marigolds to Bloom Again

Slowly… by Dialed-in!

TheGardenLady received this question from Cassie.

I recieved some  marigolds from a friend. They were orange and did not seem to be as big or sturdy as usual marigolds are. They bloomed well until it got too cold out.  I kept saving the flowers for the seed pods, and they grew very well, but they did not do too well during the Fall and Winter; so now I just have what looks like 3 long, thin sticks coming out of the ground.  Is there anything I can do so they will bloom again?

Marigolds are a hot weather flowering plant. They only do well in the Fall and Winter if you live in a zone like Mexico. If you live in an area that has cold or freezing Falls and Winters, your marigold plants will die. Then you will have to replant marigold seeds or the plants in your garden when the weather is warm enough next late spring. If you had taken the plants into your house to try to overwinter them, you would need a warm house with loads of sunshine shining on the marigolds. Without the ideal conditions indoors your marigold plants will look long and leggy and not very nice if they live. Most houses are not sunny enough to grow marigolds well indoors. You really need a warm greenhouse to grow them properly.

On a cold morning in October by joeke pieters

When the weather is warm enough – which means no more frost in your area – you should buy more seeds or marigold plants. If you buy a packet of seeds, you can start them indoors about six to eight weeks before the frost is estimated to be out of the ground in your area and then plant the seedlings outdoors after the last frost. Frost will kill marigolds. Or you can wait and plant Marigold seeds directly in the soil when the ground is warm enough. Generally the seed packet will tell you the best time to sow the seeds outdoors in your area. If you want to buy marigold plants, they are sold in plastic containers.  Your local nursery will sell them when it is time to plant them outdoors in the late spring or early summer.

TheGardenLady thinks you should toss the pathetic looking stems that remain of your friend’s marigolds. Of course, if you have some reason to want to save them- because your friend gave them to you- you can always try to salvage them. Provided the stems are not dead, when the weather is really warm you can stick what is left of your Marigold plant in the soil in your garden in a sunny location. If those pathetic plants live, you will be lucky, and if they die, you can tell your friend you tried. But it seems like a waste of time when marigolds are really one of the least expensive flowering plants to buy.

Transplanting a Marigold Plant in Brooklyn

Marigolds To Boot by bestfor / richard
Marigolds To Boot by bestfor / richard

TheGardenLady received this question from Courtney.

I have a marigold plant outstide in a large planter that is still flowering (I live in Brooklyn, NY and it’s been in the high 50s-60s degrees lately). But I would like to transplant this plant to a pot so I can keep in inside during the winter…will this work? How deep of a pot would I need? I don’t have a ton of sunlight in my apartment. Please advise.

If you want to save the marigold plant you should bring in your marigold before it freezes. Not knowing how many plants you want to save, when you dig the plants out of the planter,  get a pot large enough. Put them into soil that is at least twice as deep as the root mass but don’t plant the flowers lower than they were in the planter. The extra soil will be for both for the roots to grow down and the plant’s need of nutrition from the new soil. Give the plants some soil around the sides. Tamp the soil around the marigolds so that they are firmly in the soil and water them. Marigolds really do need a lot of sunlight- so find your sunniest location, a south window is best, or get grow lights. But don’t be discouraged if the marigolds die.

TheGardenLady thinks you might have more success by planting the seeds of the marigold plants in pots and bringing the pots indoors. The seeds will send up plants. Hopefully you will give the plants lots of sun to flower. Originally marigolds come from very sunny areas like Mexico and you want to try to duplicate the environment where the plants came from.

My recommendation would be to collect the seed and save the seeds in ziplock bags or envelopes labeled Marigold seeds. Then sow the seeds outdoors next spring when the soil is very warm. Let your marigolds be your summer flowers in the planters and for the winter get flowering plants that really thrive indoors. Plants like African violets are pretty.

Marigold Mystery

Dying Marigold by interchangeableparts
Dying Marigold by interchangeableparts

TheGardenLady received this question about marigolds.

My marigolds are planted around the edge of the garden and watered 2x a week with the rest of the garden.  After a month they just started dying with no visible infestation.  Do you have any idea why?  Last year I planted marigolds in the same vicinity under a citrus tree and they survived just fine.  The plants were bought at Lowe’s garden center both times.

Marigolds are one of the easiest plants to raise. But like any living thing, they can have problems.  See here.  You write that you bought plants at the same local store that you bought them last year. Last year they might have been healthy but this year you might have bought home unhealthy plants- for example, the pots may not have been watered property and you might not have noticed that they looked sickly.

We are lucky to have inexpensive garden centers to buy plants, but many times these stores cannot find knowledgeable people to work in the nursery, people who know how to properly maintain the plants they sell. In the tiny pots the plants come in without proper watering, the roots might have dried out. Or the plants might have had a fungal or bacterial problem in the soil.

Marigold by floridapfe
Marigold by floridapfe

You said that you planted the marigolds in the same vicinity as you planted this year. There can be differences in areas that are close by. For example, in my area in my soil we have lots of shale. A part of the ground close by can have larger rocks down below that doesn’t allow for good drainage in one spot but just a few feet away it is fine.

You said that you watered the plants 2 times a week. Not seeing your marigolds, this seems to TheGardenLady to be what caused the death of your marigolds this year. Marigolds may like a little water when the plants are young-if you raised them from seed. But you bought the plants. After the first watering when you planted them, they really don’t want or need to have you water them unless there is a 10 day or 2 week drought. Perhaps the plants in the border that you put the marigolds in need watering twice a week in the area you live, but this was probably too much water for marigolds. Marigolds like to be in dry soil. They don’t like to sit in wet soil and they don’t like overhead watering. When you water them, they prefer it if you use a soaker hose.   See here.

Dig up the dead plants and discard. Replace them with plants that need as much water as the other plants in your border. How will you know which plants are best? Go to a smaller, local nursery where the people who work there are plant lovers themselves. There are many of these small nurseries in every area. Ask questions when you buy the plants. Tell them what other plants are planted near by to see if the new plants you are buying are compatable.

calendula-şamdan çiçeği by NURAY YUZBASI
calendula-şamdan çiçeği by NURAY YUZBASI

TheGardenLady has written other posts about problems with marigolds and caring for marigolds.  Check them out here and here and here and here.   Hope you solve your marigold mystery.

Getting Cracker Jack Marigolds to Bloom for the Hindu Fire Walking Festival

Crackerjack Marigold by miserena
Crackerjack Marigold by miserena

TheGardenLady received this comment from Priven:

Every year I try to grow tons of cracker jack marigolds but they never seem to bloom well and do their best. I need a huge volume of flowers for the Hindu Fire Walking Festival, but still get let down at the last minute. What am I doing wrong? The Festival is on Good Friday towards the end of the South African Summer. Please advise.

It is difficult to determine your problems without seeing your plants. In the United States we have places we can take diseased or problem plants for the problem to be identified and hopefully corrected. These places are often part of the state agricultural extension office.

So let me give you a list of suggestions of things that could prevent the plants from blooming plus a suggestion to add flowers if all else is OK.

Continue reading “Getting Cracker Jack Marigolds to Bloom for the Hindu Fire Walking Festival”

Diagnosing Marigold Problems


                           Photo taken by juggzy_malone

TheGardenLady received this question from Liz on her “Caring for Marigolds” post.

I am growing marigolds in tall (3″) pots in a very sunny location of my backyard. In the pots I have also planted white flowering bacopa, ivy and a browny spikey grass (not sure of the name).  Everything in the pots were growing well for a few weeks until recently when I noticed that the bacopa stopped flowering and the foliage and flowers of  the marigolds had turned into a daily meal for something.  I’ve checked in the soil, and around the marigolds both in the day and in the evening but can ft locate any insects other than the one lonely earwig.  I have read that the only pests that will feast on marigolds are slugs but I can’t find any in/around my pots. Can you offer any information on what may be causing my frustrations???

You write that you created a mixed pot of plants that includes bacopa and marigolds. Was it your idea of putting these plants together? TheGardenLady would not recommend combining marigold and bacopa in one pot. My understanding is that bacopa will stop flowering with severe drying out. Bacopa likes part sun. But marigolds like full sun and don’t need as frequent watering.

Not knowing the kind of ivy you have or what the grass is that you have, I cannot tell you the proper culture for those two plants.

Continue reading “Diagnosing Marigold Problems”

Diseased Marigolds


TheGardenLady received this question from Helen.

I just put in marigolds next to my tomatoes, as companion plants. I think I’ve overwatered them and it’s been rainy in Ithaca this year…White spots are forming on them. I don’t have a digital camera handy, or I’d show you what they look like. My daughter says they have the chicken pox! Do I dig them up and replace them with new ones or do I just try to dry them out? I worry if they stay, that they are diseased and will just get worse-maybe attracting pests… What’s your advice?

Not seeing your marigold plants TheGardenLady thinks you have diseased marigold plants. Heavy rains and winds can carry a disease called alternaria to ornamental plants. See here.

Even though TheGardenLady has not seen the marigold plant and the problem, TheGardenLady would pull out the sick looking marigolds which are cheap to replace. The reason for this suggestion is because you might get a similar fungus, a fungus in the same genus, on your tomato plants and this alternaria or Tomato Early Blight damages the tomato plants and fruits. See here.

Continue reading “Diseased Marigolds”