French Marigolds are the most popular source of yellows and oranges in bedding schemes. These much-loved plants are easy to raise from seed and reliable under all sorts of conditions. They are long flowering from June until the first frosts arrive and cheap to buy as seedlings for planting out in spring.
Love them or hate them they are a basic feature of summer flowering pots and containers. The favourite one is T. patula (French Marigold) with lots of single, semi-double or double blooms on bushy plants about nine inches high. T. erecta is the African Marigold taller (one to three feet) and more upright with fewer but larger flowers. Between the two are the hybrids of the French and African Marigold, the triploid hybrids known as Afro-French Marigolds. These introductions have larger blooms than the French ones but are more free flowering and compact than the African sorts. There is one other species of Tagetes, the small T. signata listed in catalogues as Tagetes. These ferny-leaved plants are six to nine inches high with masses of small single flowers.
A few points about French and African Marigolds plant out before the flowers open and don't buy plants in full flower. Remove opened buds for the first couple of weeks after planting. Water when the weather is dry and keep watch for slugs as they can destroy young plants. Stake tall-growing varieties. Deadhead to prolong the display. They will grow in any reasonable garden soil but thrive best in full sun. When planting space six to eighteen inches apart.