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Hardiness Zone: 5b
Ronald from Crystal Lake, IL
You never know, you may have a greener thumb than you think! Marigolds are easy to start from seed. They sprout readily in pots or you can sow them directly into the soil. Here is all you need to know about growing them:
If you are growing them in pots, start them indoors about six to eight weeks before your last frost date, otherwise plant them directly in the ground in a sunny location. They prefer to grow in rich, well-drained soil, but they are also quite tolerant of less-than-ideal soil conditions. When you go to sow your seeds, the seeds are not fussy about how they lay in the soil, but they do appreciate being covered with _ inch of soil. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, especially until the seeds have sprouted. "Moist but not wet" is a good rule to follow no matter what type of flower or vegetable seeds you are sprouting. For seeds sown indoors, misting the soil with a hand-held spray bottle can be helpful for keeping the soil moist without worrying about washing away the seeds.
Once your marigolds emerge, thin them to 8-18 inches apart. Once established, adults marigolds generally continue to grow quite well even if neglected. Deadhead spent blooms to extend the flowering season. Toward the end of the season, let some of the blooms dry out on the stem and cut them off to save seeds for next year.
Insect pests are generally not a problem with marigolds (they don't like them), but slugs do find them rather tasty and can decimate whole rows of them overnight.