Planting Marigold Seeds: Learn When And How To Plant Marigold Seeds

Hand Holding Marigold Seeds
marigold seeds
(Image credit: Autofabwelding)

Marigolds are some of the most rewarding annuals you can grow. They’re low maintenance, they’re fast-growing, they repel pests, and they’ll provide you with bright, continuous color until the fall frost. Since they’re so popular, live plants are available at just about any garden center. However, it’s a lot cheaper and more fun growing marigolds by seed. Keep reading to learn more about how to plant marigold seeds.

When to Sow Marigolds

When to sow marigold seeds really depends upon your climate. Planting marigold seeds at the right time is important. Marigolds are very frost sensitive, so they should not be sown outdoors until all chance of frost has passed. If your final frost date is late, you’ll really benefit from planting marigold seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last frost.

How to Plant Marigold Seeds

If you’re starting indoors, sow the seeds in a well-draining, rich, soilless growing medium in a warm place. Scatter the seeds on top of the mix, then cover them with a very fine layer, less than ¼ inch (6 mm.), of more medium. Marigold seed germination usually takes five to seven days. Separate your seedlings when they’re 2 inches (5 cm.) tall. 

When all chance of frost has passed, you can transplant your marigolds outside. If you’re planting marigold seeds outdoors, pick a location that receives full sun. Marigolds can grow in a variety of soils, but they prefer rich, well-draining soil if they can get it. Scatter your seeds on the ground and cover them with a thin layer of very fine soil. 

Water gently and regularly over the next week to keep the soil from drying out. Thin your marigolds when they’re a few inches (8 cm.) high. Short varieties should be spaced a foot (31 cm.) apart, and tall varieties should be 2 to 3 feet (61-91 cm.) apart.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.