Cape marigold, also known as African daisy, is a pretty annual that can be grown in most zones in the U.S. Where you live and what your climate is like will determine whether you grow it as a summer or winter annual. Planting cape marigold seeds is an inexpensive way to get started with this pretty flower.
Growing Cape Marigold from Seed
Cape marigold is a pretty, daisy-like annual flower that is native to South Africa. It thrives in warm but not too hot temperatures. In hotter zones, in areas like southern California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida, you can grow this flower from seed starting in early fall for blooms in the winter. In colder regions, start seeds in late winter or early spring, outdoors after the last frost or indoors earlier.
Whether you start indoors or out, be sure you have the right conditions for the final location. Cape marigold likes full sun and soil that drains well and leans toward dry. These flowers tolerate drought well. In overly-moist conditions or wet soil, the plants get leggy and limp.
How to Sow Cape Marigold Seeds
If sowing directly outdoors, prepare the soil first by turning it and removing any other plants or debris. Sow by scattering the seeds over the turned soil. Lightly press them down, but do not let the seeds get buried. Use the same technique indoors with seed trays.
Cape marigold seed germination takes about ten days to two weeks, so plan to be ready to transplant indoor seedlings six to seven weeks after sowing.
Let your indoor seedlings grow to about 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) tall before transplanting. You can thin seedlings outdoors, but you can also let them grow naturally. Once they are this tall, they should be fine without regular watering unless you have especially dry conditions.
If you let your cape marigold reseed, you will get vibrant and more extensive coverage in the next growing season. To promote reseeding, let the soil dry out after your plants have finished flowering. African daisy makes a great groundcover, so let it spread to fill out an area with colorful flowers and greenery.