20 November 2016

Midget Marigold Mystery Solved

I often grow the dwarf French marigolds as infill border plants never growing more than 8 inches tall (20 cm). One of my favorites is "Tiger Eyes" with the red bottom petals and orange-yellow pom poms. But near the end of each growing season, the red color and the orange tint goes away. The blooms become uniformly yellow.

I thought it might be the cooler weather affecting the coloring as it does some plants. Or, it might be the shorter day length that was causing the change, much like a poinsettia depends on longer nights for its red blooms. I discovered the reason my marigold change color this year by accident.

It is neither the day length nor the temperature that causes the loss of red. The plant simply gets tired. This marigold seed blooms true to its parent. As summer progresses I deadhead the spent blooms, leaving them around the ground near the plant. Some of the seed heads sprouted and grew new plants. Since we had a long growing season this year, getting our first killing frost only last week, these volunteer spouts had enough time to bloom.

The blooms were as colorful as a day in spring, despite the cooler fall temperatures and the shorter days. While the older plants nearby were haggard and blooming uniformly yellow, the new plants were red, robust, and orange-yellow as they were planted in spring. This tells me that as the plant gets old, its bloom colors simply change, like we do.

There is nothing I can do other than to sow successive plantings throughout the summer, something that is not going to happen. We will accept the change as a natural pattern.


Janet QueenofSeaford said...
Hi Ray, long time not connecting. Just checking in with you as to whether you are going to come to the Garden Bloggers Fling this year. It is in your neck of the woods. Check out http://gardenbloggersfling.blogspot.com/
Let me know!! It is such fun.
Swimray said...
Planning on it.
Janet QueenofSeaford said...
Oh good!! Have you sent in your registration stuff yet? I will tell Tammy you are planning on coming.
Swimray said...
Just wanting to be sure the schedule is clear at that time.
Janet QueenofSeaford said...
Sounds reasonable.