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Marigold Cultivation Guide for Farmers

Dr. H. L. Shirsath, & Prof. A.V. Bhosale


1. Marigold is one of the most commonly grown flowers for garden decoration and extensively used as loose flowers for making garlands for religious and social functions.

2. It has gained popularity amongst the gardeners on account of its easy culture and wide adaptability.

3. Its habit of free flowering, short duration to produce marketable flowers, wide spectrum of attractive colours, shape, size and good keeping quality has attracted the attention of flower growers.

4. Marigolds are ideal for cut flowers, especially for making garlands.

5. They can be planted in the beds for mass display or grown in pots. The French Marigolds are suitable for hanging basket and edging.

6. The demand for Marigold flowers during Dashara and Diwali is very high.


1. Marigold requires mild climate for luxuriant growth and flowering.

2. The optimum temperature range for its profuse growth is 18-20°C.

3. Temperatures above 35°C restrict the growth of the plants, which leads to reduction in flower size and number.

4. In severe winter, plants and flowers are damaged by frost.


1. Marigold can be grown in a wide range of soils, as it is adapted in different soil types.

2. French (Dwarf) marigolds are best cultivated in light soil whereas a rich well drained, moist soils are best suited for African (Tall) marigolds.

3. Sandy loam soil with pH 5.6 to 6.5 is ideal for its cultivation.

Species and cultivar

Among 50 species of marigold only for are cultivated. These are

1. Tagetes erecta (African marigold): cultivating it for medicinal, ceremonial and decorative purposes. This plant reaches heights of between 50–100 cm (20–39 in). The colour range is from white and cream to primose, yellow, gold and orange.

2. Tagetes patula (French marigold): The flower is an annual, occasionally reaching 0.5 m by 0.3 m.. stem is reddish in colour and the foliage is darker than African marigold. The colour of flower varies from yellow to red, either single or double and borne on proportionately long peduncle.

3. Tagetes tenufolia( Syn. T. signata); it is a dwarf and bushy plant. Flowers have 5 rays, roundish and obovate with spicy tarragon flavor.

4. Tagetes lucida (sweet scented marigold): The plants are tender, perennial, leaves are sessile, small and lanceolated. Flowers are usually 2-3 rayed.

Indigenous varieties of African Marigold:

1. Pusa Narangi Gainda: The plant of this variety is medium strature, grows a heit of 8085 cm. the plant remain vegetative for 100 days and flowers in 125-135 days. The flowering duration ranges from 45-60 days. The colour of flower is orange with big ruffled florets. The yield of variety 25-30 tonnesw/ ha. This is an open pollinated variety and seed can be multiplied in farmers field.

2. Pusa Basanti Gainda: The plant of this variety are medium strature, which grows a height of 60-65 cm. the plant remain vegetative for 135 days and takes 140-145 days to flowers.the plant need to pinch 45-50 days. The variety sown in October and transplanted during November. It is an open pollinated variety and yield up to 75-100 kg of seeds/ha.

3. Pusa Arpita: It is summer growing marigold. The plant have dense foliage. It is also an open pollinated variety.

4. Serakal: this variety was identified in Eastern India. The specialty of this variety is uniform and bushy growth of the foliage and uniform size of flowers as well. The plant is generally grown by cutting. This plant can be propagated throughout the year.

Land preparation:

For the main-field, the land should be ploughed well followed by 2-3 harrowing and mixing of FYM @ 20-25 t/ha should be incorporated to the soil. Make the ridges and furrow properly.


1. There are two common methods of propagation of marigold i.e. by seeds and by cuttings.

2. Plants raised from seeds are tall, vigorous and heavy yielder and hence, seed propagation is preferred to cuttings.

Nursery rising:

1. The marigold seeds are black in color and remain viable for about 1-2 years for rising of seedlings,

2. Seed germinate in 5-7 days. Before sowing the seeds should be treated with captan 2g/kg of seed to prevent damping off.

3. Seeds should be sowed in pots, seed boxes or raised nursery beds.

4. Nursery beds are prepared by digging area and incorporating well rotten FYM.

5. Before sowing the seeds, the soils should be drenched with Captan to avoid the ants, which carry away the seeds.

6. Seeds should be sown thinly (6-8 cm row to row) and 2cm deep and covered with sieved leaf mold.

7. The nursery beds should be remained moist during entire period.

8. The quantity of seed required depends upon the level of its purity and germination rate.

9. Generally 200-300g seed/acre is required for raising the nursery in summer and rainy season, and 150-200g/acre for winter season.

10. About 1.0-1.5 kg seeds is required for planting in one hectare whereas 250 g/ha is sufficient in case of F1 hybrid. Seed germinate in 5-7 days.

11. The seed germinate 4-5 days after sowing and seedlings become ready for transplanting after 3-4 weeks for sowing.

Sowing time and season:

Depending on environment, planting of marigold can be done in three seasons i.e. rainy, winter and summer and seeds are sown accordingly. Hence, flowers of marigold can be obtained throughout the year. The seasons of sowing and transplanting of seedling for obtaining flowers at different seasons of a year are as under:-

Flowering seasons Sowing time Transplanting time
Late rains Mid-June Mid-July
Winter Mid-September Mid-October
Summer Jan-February February- March

Transplanting of seedlings:

1. Marigold seedlings are easily transplanted and established in the field without much mortality.

2. At the time of transplanting, they should be stocky and bear 3-5 true leaves.

3. Thin and long seedlings do not make a good plant.

4. Very old seedlings are also not desirable.

5. Transplanting should be done in well prepared land and soil is pressed around root zone to avoid air pocket.

6. After transplanting, a light irrigation or watering with rose cane should be done.

7. Plant density depends largely upon the growth habit, cultivar and the soil type.

8. In general, spacing should be 30 cm x 30 cm for French marigold and 40 cm x 40 cm for African marigold.

9. Proper spacing between plants is required for better development of plant and higher flower yield.

Manure and fertilizers

1. Well decomposed FYM @ 24 t/ha should be mixed before ploughing.

2. In addition recommended N:P:K fertilizer dose would be 100:75:75.

3. Half quantity of nitrogen should be and full of potash and phosphorus should be applied as basal dose, preferably one week after transplanting.

4. The remaining quantity of nitrogen should be 30-40 days after transplanting.

5. Marigold also requires zinc and boron for flower quality and yield.


1. Weeds are a major problem in marigold especially in rainy season crop. If the weeds are not removed in time, a great loss would occur in terms of growth and productivity of marigold.

2. During the entire growth 3-4 manual weeding are required.

3. Weeding should be done as and when necessary.


1. Irrigation is done once in a week or as and when necessary.

2. Water stagnation should be avoided.

3. Irrigate the crop in 7-8 days interval, but the frequency and quantity of water also depend upon soil and season. In lighter soil, more frequent irrigation is required than that in heavy soil.

4. In hot summer it requires irrigation after 405 days interval while at 10-12 days interval in winter months.

5. Rainy season crops are irrigated according to the climate.

6. Constant moisture supply be maintained from bud formation to harvesting of flowers.

Pinching/ nipping and earthling up:

1. Three weeks after transplanting earthling up is done and then one week after earthling up or 1 month after transplanting the seedlings.

2. Pinching is followed for bushy growth of the plant and development of lateral branches.

3. Pinching is generally done for the 40 days after transplanting, late pinching at 50-60 days proved less effective for branching.

4. Pinching results into production of more number of flowers.

Diseases management:

Diseases Symptoms Managements
Damping off (Rhizoctonia solani) Brown necrotic spots on young seedlings Proper drainage and ventilation, avoid over watering
Drenching with copper oxychloride @3g/l
Collar rot (   , Pythium sp., Phytophthora sp. And Sclerotium rolfsii. Black lesions on main stem. Rotting at the collar region. Crop rotation for 3-4 years.
Carbendazim @ 1g/l reduces the incidence of disease.
Alternaria leaf spot (Alternaria tagetica, A. zinnia and A. alternate) Minute brown spot near the lower leaves and then progress upward. Avoid overhead watering.
Spraying of Dithane  M-45 2 0.2% at fortnightly intervals from the first appearance of disese
Botrytis flower Blight (Botrytis cinerea) Ashy grey spot on bud scales and stems.
Dying of blooms.
Adequate spaceing
Spraying of mancozeb at 0.2%
Fusarium Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) Pale green leaves, wilting of plant. Crop rotation
Carbendazim (0.2%) is effective
Powdery mildew (Oidium sp. And Leveillula taurica) It appears as grey or white powder. Leaves turn yellow and fall prematurely. Kerathane (40 E.C) @ 0.5% or dusting sulphar powder at 15 days interval.
 Viral disease (cucumber mosaic)  Streaking or motling of leaves Dimethoate at 2 ml/l

Pest management:

Pest Symptoms Managements
Red spider mite (Tetranychus sp.) They suck the plant sap, Spraying of Kelthane (2 ml/l)
Hairy cater piller (Diacrisia oblique) Eat away the foliage. Spray Carbaryl @ 2 ml/l
Aphid Black or brown spot Spraying of malathion or dimethoate at 2 ml/l
Leaf Hopper (Empoasca fabae) Cupped leaves, rolled leaveswilting of leaves. Spraying of Dimethoate at 2 ml/l

Harvesting of Flowers:

1. After transplanting plans take 40-50 days to flower.

2. Loose flowers are plucked when attain full size depending upon the variety.

3. Flowers should be harvested in the morning hours.

4. Irrigation before plucking gives better flower quality.

5. Plucking of flowers regularly and removal of dried flowers enhance the yield.

6. French Mangold starts flowering 1 to 1 Vz months after transplanting while African Marigold I 14 to 2 months after transplanting of seedlings.

7. For Garland stalk less fully opened flowers (loose flowers) are picked, white for vase decoration also fully opened flowers with stalk are plucked.

8. Loose flowers are packed in a bamboo basket, while flowers with stalk are bunched in bundles and transported to market.

9. From one plant near about 100 to 150 flowers are obtained. Blooming duration is near about 3 months.


1. After harvesting, it is better to keep flowers in cool place.

2. The marigold is packed in gunny bags for local market and for distance market bamboo basket are used.


African marigolds yield about 15-28 t/ha whereas the French marigold yields 10-12 t/ha.

Marigold Cultivation: Guidelines for Marigold Cultivation by ICAR-CIARI

Marigold Sowing Time: Mid-June, Mid Sept. Jan- Feb.
Marigold Transplanting Time: Mid July, Mid October, Feb - March
Marigold Flowering Season: Late rain, Winter, Summer
Marigold Harvesting Time: Picked once in 3 days; 60 days after planting

Because of easy culture, wide adaptability, attractive colour, shape, size and good keeping quality, the Marigold gained popularity amongst farmer and flower dealers.

Marigold is used to attract insects attacking the main crop as trap crop in the borders. Three weeks old seedlings are planted which at maturity, grows up to a height of 75-90 cm with deep orange or lemon yellow flowers.

Marigold is propagated through seeds and cuttings. For better growth and improvement of Marigold, application of NPK @80:40:80kg/ha is recommended.

When flower have attained the full size then it plucked and it should be done in cool hours of the day either in the evening or morning. One more thing is that the field should be irrigated before plucking, so that flowers keep well for long period after harvest.

Farmers have opted the technology for growing marigold in large scale. 15 varieties were evaluated of which Co-1 marigold (30kg/sqm) performed best followed by Namdhari marigold, First Lady and Pusa Narangi. Pinching of terminal leaves was found to significantly increase growth and yield in Pusa Basanti and Pusa Narangi gaindha. Due to higher flower production Pusa Narangi is mostly preferred.

Input required nursery to raise seedlings, manures and fertilizers, Good quality seedlings, manpower, water supply for proper irrigation.


Marigold Cultivation: Disease Management of Marigold by ICAR-CCARI

Disease: Damping off (Pythium sp.):
The disease is most prevalent at the seedling stage. Necrotic spots and rings develop on the young seedlings causing collapse of the seedlings. Considerable loss is sustained if seedlings are not properly looked after.
Solution for this disease: spraying of Dithane Z-78 @ 2g/ litre of water are effective in controlling the disease.

Disease: Leaf Spot and Blight (Alternaria, Cercospora and Septoria sp.):
Brown necrotic spots develop on leaves, which get enlarged at the later stage of infection. The entire foliage gets damaged and results in poor vegetative growth.
Solution for this disease: Spraying of fungicides is helpful in controlling the disease.

Disease: Wilt and Stem Rot (Phytophthora cryptogea):
The fungus affects the collar portions of the plants. In nursery the infection results in damping-off and is aggravated by soil moisture. In the field the infected plants show wilting. French marigold and dwarf varieties are less susceptible whereas the African types are highly susceptible to the disease.
Solution for this disease: The disease may be controlled by soil treatment with Captan, Mancozeb, Metalaxyl and Fosetyl-Al.

Disease: Powdery Mildew (Oidium sp.; Leveillula taurica):
The symptoms are in the form of whitish powdery growth on the aerial parts of the plant.
Solution for this disease: Spraying Sulfex (3g/litre of water) can effectively control the disease.

Disease: Flower Bud Rot (Alternaria dianthi):
The fungus infects the young flower buds. The infected buds shrivel and become dark brown in colour. The pathogen also infects leaves causing blight. The infection is visible in the form of brown necrotic spots on margins and tips of older leaves.
Solution for this disease: Spraying of Mancozeb (2g/litre of water) effectively controls the flower bud and leaf infections.

Disease: Collar Rot (Phytophthora sp.; Pythium sp.):
The symptoms are in the form of black lesions developed on the main stem. Rotting at the collar regions causes death of the plant.
Solution for this disease: Soil sterilization and controlled watering help in reducing the disease incidence.


Marigold : Due to Less Availability, Prices of Marigold Flowers may Double

Prices of popular flowers such as marigold rose, navranga and sevanti (chrysanthemum) are likely to almost double. Due to wedding season, demand for flowers, especially rose and seasonal flowers,has increased.

Demand from Simhastha has increased where huge quantities of flowers will be used for decoration and religious rituals. Marigold's demand is also high in the market, but availability is less because of lean season.

In the Indore region marigold is sown in April and flowering starts from June end. In the absence of local production, dealers are fetching marigold from Pune and Nashik.

Traders are getting marigold from other places on order while roses are available in the region. At Ujjain flower market, roses are quoted at Rs 40-50 per kg, marigold at Rs 50-60 per kg and navranga at Rs 30 per kg, according to dealers. They expect prices of most of the flowers to nearly double by May.

Anticipating increase in demand and better remuneration, farmers of the region have increased cultivation of flowers. Floriculture cultivation is rising by around 8 per cent every year. Acreage under flowers in Indore district is expected to rise by over 20 per cent.
Source: Times of India

97L Kg Marigold Flowers for Simhasth Kumbh Targeted by MP

Ujjain: For making available adequate quantities of fruit, vegetables and flowers for the Simhasth Kumbh pilgrimage, including a targeted supply of 97 lakh kg of marigold flowers, The Madhya Pradesh government has made special arrangements.

The Simhasth Kumbh pilgrimage is to be held from April 22 to May 21 in Ujjain district of the state. It is expected to attract about five crore (50 million) people from across the country and abroad.

The horticultural department said, farmers in the state have, over a month ago, been given seeds of vegetable, flower and fruit crops to be cultivated over 2056 hectares of land and three varieties of marigold seeds have been distributed to be sown in 556 hectares of land with a targeted supply of 97 lakh kg of the flowers.

It said, Seeds have also been distributed for cultivating vegetables over 1300 hectares and chilli peppers over 200 hectares.
Source: Times of India/

'Heat Resistant' Marigold Variety

Punjab Agricultural University's (PAU) department of floriculture is researching on how to develop 'heat resistant' marigold varieties to boost the marigold production in the state. The university wants to release new marigold variety in future.

Marigold is mainly cultivated in the winter season and as it cannot tolerate heat. Due to which its production declines in the summer season.

However, the experts are confident that with the new 'heat resistant' varieties, more farmers will do marigold cultivation and thus make Punjab will no more be dependent on Haryana and UP for fulfilling the demand for the plant in the state.

Marigold is cheapest and easiest variety for cultivation and its give assured income to the farmers. To begin with on one acre land for Marigold, Rs.1.50 lakh is required and there are not much irrigation is needed.


Marigold Cultivation


In India marigold is one of the most commonly grown flowers and used extensively on religious and social functions in different forms. Because of their ease in cultivation, wide adaptability to varying soil and climatic conditions, long duration of flowering and attractively coloured flowers of excellent keeping quality, the marigolds have become one of the most popular flowers in our country. Flowers are sold in the market as loose or as garlands. Due to its variable height and colour marigold is especially use for decoration and included in landscape plans.


There are 33 species of marigold and numerous varieties. There are two common types of marigold:

I) The African Marigold (Tagetes erecta)

II) The French Marigold (Tagetes patula).

Origin: African marigold: Mexico, French Marigold: Mexico and South America

Both have deeply cut foliage with a characteristic odour.

I) The African Marigold (Tagetes erecta)

The African Marigolds are generally tall (up to 90 cm) with large sized double globular flowers of lemon, yellow, golden yellow, primrose, orange or bright yellow colours. There are also dwarf varieties (20 to 30 cm) having large double flowers. The important varieties are: Giant Double African Orange, Giant Double African Yellow, Cracker Jack, Climax, Dubloon, Golden Age, Chrysanthemum Charm, Crown of Gold, Spun Gold.

II) French Marigold(Tagetes patula)

The French Marigolds are mostly dwarf, early- flowering and compact with dainty single or double blooms, borne freely and almost covering the entire plant. The colour flowers may be yellow, orange, golden yellow, primrose, mahogany, rusty red, tangerine or deep scarlet or a combination of these colours. The important varieties are: Red Borcade, Rusty Red, Butter Scotch, Valencia, Sussana. However, in the market mostly orange colour varieties are preferred and the variety which is dominating is African Giant Double Orange.

Climate and Soil:

The marigolds are hardy and can be successfully grown in different types of soils and climate. Marigold can be successfully cultivated on a wide variety of soil. The French marigold grows best in light soil while the African marigold requires a rich, well-manured and moist soil. However, the soil is deep fertile friable having good water holding capacity well drained and near to neutral in reaction viz.pH 7.0-7.5 is most desirable. They can grow in almost all seasons except in very cold weather, as they are susceptible to frost. Marigolds require mild climate of luxuriant growth and profuse flowering. For seeds germination optimum temperature ranges 18 to 300 C. Soil and planting is carried out during rainy season winter and summer season hence flowers of marigold can be had almost throughout the year.


There are two common methods of propagation of marigold:

  1. By seeds

  2. By cuttings

Seed rate: - 1.5 kg for raising seedlings for 1 hectare. Seeds can be sown in lines or by broadcast method. Seeds need to be covered with light soil or sand or strained leaf mould.

Nursery beds: - 3 x 1m size mixed with 10 kg of well rotten farmyard manure per sq.meter. Nursery bed should be kept moist by watering accordingly.

Sowing Time


Sowing time

Transplanting time


End of June to 1st week of July

First fortnight of August


Mid of September

Mid of October


First week of January
(under glass house or plastic)

First week of February

Manures and Fertilizers

200:100:100 NPK kg/ha should be applied to get highest flower yield.
100:100:100 NPK kg /ha at the time of land preparation and remaining 100 kg N/ha should be applied one month after seedlings are transplanted.


Marigold takes about 55-60 days to complete vegetative growth and to enter into reproductive phase. At vegetative and flowering period sufficient amount of moisture in soil is essential. The frequency and quantity of water mainly depends upon soil and climatic condition. Though plants tolerate dry weather upto 10 days without irrigation but growth and flower production is affected adversely. From April to June, frequent irrigation at the interval of 4-5 days is required.

Pinching of Marigold Plants

The shoot is pinch to make the plants bushy and compact. Pinching the plants 40 days after transplanting enabled the plants to yield more flowers. If the terminal portion of shoot is removed early, emergance of side branches starts earlier and more number of flowers of good quality and uniform size are produced.

Diseases and Insect Pests

In general, the marigolds are hardy and almost free from diseases and insects. However, occasionally the following diseases and insect pests having observed.


  • Damping off (Rhizoctonia solani )

Symptoms: Brown necrotic spots, girdling the radical which later on extend to plumule and cause pre-emergence mortality. Post-emergence symptom appears as water soaked brown necrotic ring, leading to collapse of seedlings.

Control: 1. Proper drainage should be provided in the nursery beds.

2. Soil drenching with brassicol (0.3%) should be followed.

  • Leaf spots and Blight (Alternaria, Cercospora and Septoria)

Symptoms: Minute brown circular spots on lower leaves and enlarge at later stage of infection leading to premature defoliation and ultimate death of the plant.

Control: Spraying of Dithane M-45 fungicide @ 0.2% at fortnightly intervals starting from the first appearance of disease symptoms.

  • Powdery Mildew (Oidium sp and Leveillula taurica)

Symptoms: The whitish tiny superficial spots appeared on leaves which later on result in the coverage of whole aerial parts of plant with whitish powder.

Control: Spraying with Karathane (40 E.C) @ 0.5% or dusting with sulphur powder at fortnightly intervals.


  • Red Spider Mite (Tetranychus sp.)

Mites appear on the plants near flowering giving dusty appearance.

Control: Spraying Metasystox 25 E.C. or Rogor E.C. or Nuvacron 40 E.C. @ 1 ml/lit. of water.

  • Hairy Caterpillar (Diacrizai obliqua)

Polyphagus insect and caterpillar eats away foliage.

Control: Sprays of Nuvon 50 E.C. or Thiodan 35 E.C. @ 1 ml/l of water.


Marigold should be plucked when they attain the full size depending upon the variety. It should be done in cool hours of the day that is either in the morning or evening. Field should be irrigated before plucking productivity of plants is increased considerably by regular plucking flowers.


For the local market marigold flowers are taken into gunny bags whereas from distant market bamboo baskets are used.


Different means of transportation viz. Rickshaws, Buses, Trains are used to carry the flowers to market depending upon the distance.


On an average a fresh flower yield of - 200-225 q per ha during rainy season
150 to 175 q per ha in winter
100-120 q/ha in summer can be obtained.

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