How To Grow Marigolds From Seed To Bloom

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Marigolds are low maintenance, drought-tolerant, and easy to grow. Learn how to grow Marigolds from seed to bloom. 

Orange and Yellow Marigolds blooming

Planting annual flowers each year is an excellent way to keep your yard looking great and create curb appeal. Marigolds are one of my all-time favorite annual flowers so I plant them in my front yard every year.

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Table of Contents

Why Plant Flowers from Seed?

If you are dressing up your flower beds with annual flowers each Spring, you will need a lot of flowers. You can either buy them in flats or plant your own from seed. The price of a flat of annual flowers is a real budget stretcher which is why I grow my own.

I always enjoy growing marigolds from seed.  There is a certain pleasure derived from growing plants from seed and knowing you did all the work to make those flowers grace your yard.

An elderly neighbor taught me how to grow flowers from seed more years ago than I care to admit. Her favorites were petunias. She taught me to love the beauty and variety of planting annual flowers. Remembering her and our shared love for flowers makes my heart smile.

Growing Flowers from Seed

I use the milk jug method to grow my flower seeds early so they will be ready to go into the ground in early Spring. You don’t need extra indoor space or special heat lamps or lighting to use the milk jug method.

Read How To Use Milk Jugs For Winter Seed Sowing for the tutorial or watch the video below.

A bed of deep orange Marigold annual flowers

Why Plant Marigolds

Marigolds are easy to grow, drought-tolerant, and very low maintenance. Seeds sprout in days and can be started indoors for a winter head start or directly into the ground in the spring.

The bold vibrant colors create fabulous curb appeal in deep orange and yellow with maroon shades. I like to plant Red Salvia with Dwarf Marigolds in front for flower bed borders. 

How to grow marigolds from seed to bloom. How to grow marigolds. Marigold flowers blooming in the yard. Photo of a rack and hoe in freshly prepared dirt for flower planting

Prepare The Soil

This is where you get some exercise! I use a good old-fashioned hoe and a garden rake to prepare the soil. If you happen to own a tiller then Yay! You know what to do!

The garden rake has wide enough tines to remove big lumps of anything you don’t want in your flower bed. The hoe of course is so you can loosen the soil nice and deep which will allow the roots to grow more healthy. Using a hoe burns lots of calories!

Butterflies are attracted to Marigolds

If flower roots have to fight their way through rocks, roots, or hard soil, they will stay shallow which will make the plants need water more often and be more susceptible to wilting.

Marigold seeds in a persons hand

How To Sew Seeds Into The Soil

Marigold seeds look like tiny little sticks. They are long and two-toned in color, dark and light. You can harvest your own seeds for next year’s flower beds from this year’s Marigolds. 

Gently sprinkle the seeds across the area you have prepared. You are sprinkling the seeds on top of the soil, not planting them into holes.

When sowing seeds on top of the soil, it is okay to have them close together. Once they sprout and have good structure, you can space them out at that time if you desire.

After you have sprinkled your desired amount of seeds across the prepared soil, gently cover with dirt by sprinkling a light layer of dirt on top of the seeds.

Flower seeds are planted so near the surface of the dirt that they are almost not even covered with dirt. (It’s like sprinkling flour onto a surface that you are kneading raw dough on.) Just barely cover the seeds with dirt. Now, gently pat down the dirt on top of the seeds.

Water carefully so as not to dislodge the seeds. Use the sprayer nozzle with light water so as not to dislodge the seeds until they sprout. They will generally sprout in 5-7 days or whatever time the package directions state. 

How to grow marigolds from seed to bloom. How to grow marigolds. Marigold flowers blooming in the yard
Lay out the seedlings on the ground the way you want them to

How To Plant Marigold Seedlings

If you have grown your seeds in containers in later winter or early Spring, you will be planting seedlings! Plan the pattern in which you want your flowers to grow.

I lay mine out in offset rows so they will create a more full flower bed when grown. They will look like they are not going to make it during this process because they are like fish out of water but once the seedlings are in the ground and water, they will perk back up.

Water them immediately when finished with the planting. They are delicate at this stage so be gentle with the watering.

Caring for Marigolds

Marigolds in need of dead

How To Deadhead Marigolds

Remove the spent blooms all throughout the blooming season. This process is known as deadheading. You can use your garden shears or just pinch them off with your fingers. Deadheading the spent blooms will allow the flowers to keep blooming throughout the summer. 

Because Marigolds are drought tolerant they may not need watering every single day. However, that doesn’t mean you should never water them. Here in the deep south where the heat and humidity keep us indoors, I water my flower beds about every other day or every three days if we have had rain.

Watch my Facebook video below for how to deadhead marigolds.


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Marigold seeds being planted in milk jugs so the seedlings can be transplanted into the ground in the spring. Step by step process of growing Marigold flowers from planting the seed to transplanting into the ground and seeing the beautiful blooming flowers in the summer. #flowerbed #marigoldflowers #intellid

If you love the gorgeous colors of God’s paintbrush gracing your yards in flower beds as much as I do, then you know the value annual flowers can add to your curb appeal. Perennials are fabulous too and we love those as well but you get so much color from planting annual flowers for the summer.

Marigolds are one of the easiest annual flowers you can grow from seed to bloom and enjoy them all summer long.

Updated 6/28/22

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  1. Novice gardener here… first year growing anything, and did it all with seeds. I’m about 3 weeks into planting African Marigold mix and they are about 2 to 3 inches tall, look healthy, and most of them have their first set of true leaves. (I’ve done some research!) But I was wondering if there was anything I needed to do at this point, like pinch off leaves or transplant them deeper. I also planted cosmos, and they are very leggy and leaning over, I read on another blog that I should start hardening them off and plant them deeper, almost up your their leaves, so I was making sure this wasn’t something I should be doing with my marigolds as well. Thank you for your blog! Very helpful and encouraging!

  2. Marigolds are indeed one of the easiest flowers to grow. You can even save the seed pods in the fall, so you don’t have to buy seeds again in the spring. Thank you for sharing this on the #HomeMattersParty

  3. We love marigolds for keeping away bees and bugs. Starting them from seeds is a great skill and craft project for my kids. We love using upcycled item like used kcups to plant the seeds. Thanks for sharing on small victories sunday linkup

  4. Stopping by from Sunday’s Best. I love marigolds in my kitchen garden. I also plant sunflowers, cosmos, geraniums, and petunias. Thanks for sharing and I’m looking forward to seeing more of your posts.

    1. I believe you must have a beautiful garden with all of those different flowers. That is a lot of different colors too! I hope you will share pictures when they are all in full bloom. I’d love for you to share them on my FB page!

  5. Marigolds are lovely and easy grown flowers attractive to many insects. I think they are worthy a place in every garden. Perfect to put in the vegetable patch since the flowers are edible. I am about to sow Marigold seeds indoors to put in pots on our balcony when the risk of frost is over.
    Thank you for sharing this great post!

  6. Wow, this has totally inspired us to get our green fingers on and get out into the garden! Very informative – and your marigolds are so bright and cheerful! We are also fans of the mighty oak (o;


  7. I love marigolds! And I love how easy they are to grow from seed year after year. Although I have read it should work, I’ve never had much success planting them with tomatoes and getting bug repellant help from them (I’m in zone 8 too). Have you tried this?
    Thanks for a beautiful post. Pinned and already following on Instagram! 🙂

    1. Thank you Tammy. Yes, marigolds are also good for warding off pests in the garden. I’ve heard that some people plant them on all four corners of the garden for that purpose.

  8. I love all flowers and it’s so hard to pick a favorite. Your marigolds are beautiful and thanks for the tutorial on growing them from seeds. I normally just buy them and plant um. I need to do this next year. Great read!

    1. If I forget to plant my seeds early enough, I have been known to go buy flowers in flats. I usually get carried away with flowers which can be costly so planting a $2 pack of seeds is the best way to go for me.

  9. They are beautiful. I love growing plants from seeds. My favorite flowers to plant from seeds are Zinnias’, they are easy for me and I love feeling successful in the garden.

    1. Zinnias are gorgeous. I like the fact that they are in so many different colors! Growing plants from seed is just so satisfying, isn’t it. I’m so glad it is finally spring!

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