Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Plant of the Month

Plant of the Month – Marigold

In honor of the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, we bring you the  Aztec marigold (Tagetes erecta) as our plant of the month! Mesoamerican culture, dating to pre-Columbian time, has always revered the marigold or the Cempasuchil for its use in celebrating the Aztec goddess of death along with the Day of the Dead holiday. Due to its strong scent, this flower was thought to have the power to awaken the souls of the deceased. Not only was this flower used in ceremonies, it was also used as traditional medicine for its now known ability to kill gram positive and gram negative bacteria. If you’re interested in growing and harvesting this wonderful flower, you have come to the right place!

The Aztec or Mexican marigold can grow to be 3 – 5ft tall. The plant thrives in warm, moderately fertile, well-drained soil. It is best to space the marigold 2-3 feet apart. If you are interested in the blooms, do not fertilize. Fertilizing will encourage the growth of foliage, not the actual flowers!

Marigolds are perfect as a companion plant because its strong scent repels most pests, particularly nematodes.  If you are looking for natural pesticides, having marigold in you garden can help you get started.