Marigolds are plants known for having some of the most widely recognized benefits in the world, besides being extremely versatile in religious ceremonies and decorative purposes. Be it in shades of yellow, orange, or red, marigold flowers can beautify any dull or drab garden space, the marigold farming makes it look aesthetically pleasing.
There exist over 50 species of marigolds and some of the popular ones include Mexican marigolds, French marigolds, and signet marigolds.
Marigold flowers hold a special cultural significance in India since they form a staple in the ‘puja’ rituals of many temples as well as in garlands for any auspicious occasion or festive celebration.
We may not know of all the useful benefits and qualities that marigolds actually provide, in the areas of gardening and farming. Here are some of the key benefits and uses of cultivating marigolds:
Easy to grow:
Marigolds have a clear distinction of belonging to the group of plants that rank high on low-effort charts, yet show commendable results.
They are highly adaptable and adjust very well with almost any soil type with the only requisite being an abundance of sunlight and adequate water supply.
Another reason why marigolds are easy to grow is the fact that they proliferate via seeds and the seeds germinate within 1-2 weeks of sowing.
Marigolds perform the job of a natural pesticide:
Many varieties of marigolds have a chemical substance in the roots which when secreted, kill off nematodes. Nematodes, also known as roundworms and are also called soil pests.
Planting marigolds is helpful because it provides a natural defense against the ill-effects of such notorious farming pests. It has been noted that French marigolds, especially the Tangerine kind are most effective for this type of work.
Attracts bees and other pollinating species:
It is common knowledge that pollination involves the reproductive functions in flowers and that bees act as crucial agents of pollen transfer.
Marigolds have a long blooming season and hence, it attracts bees and other pollinators across the length of the growing season and adds value to marigold farming.
The single-flower varieties of marigolds are especially potent in luring more bees. Hence, these flowers are a part of an experienced gardener’s toothpick.
Attracts certain useful insects:
Marigolds also lure in important predatory insects like hoverflies, parasitic mini-wasps, and ladybugs, that eat aphids and other pests, which prevents them from damaging the plant/crop in any way.
Thus marigolds can be seen playing another important role in maintaining a conducive environment for gardening and/or farming.
Suitable companion plant:
Companion plants are those plants that support the growth of other plants by keeping certain pests away, luring certain insects, etc.
Marigolds are frequently used as companion plants in vegetable gardens and they work well with cabbage, eggplants, basil, gourds, and tomatoes.
Functions as an excellent trap crop:
A trap crop is a crop that gets used as a trap to lure pests, by which the more viable or profitable crops remain safe from any infestation.
In many cases, marigolds get planted along the edges or boundaries of the main bed as a lure which hosts many pests and sacrifices itself for the overall health of the garden and/or farm.