Tagetes erecta

Marigold in the garden

Marigold harvesting

Marigold drying in dehydrator

Dried Marigold

Marigold is native to the Americas and is commonly used in South America as a medicinal tea. In Mexico, Marigolds symbolize the flower of the dead, and are widely used as decorations during the Day of the Dead and other significant holidays. In parts of South Asia, Marigolds are also used during religious holidays as offerings and decorations.

Sow seeds into ground after the last frost, or indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. They will germinate in 7 days and bloom around 8 weeks after sowing. Sow seeds 1 inch apart and thin seedlings 10-12 inches apart. Pinching the tip of the plant will encourage them to grow bushier as opposed to taller. Thin out plant by trimming foliage without flower buds. Marigolds prefer full sun and are draught-tolerant; over-watering can cause mold and soil should dry between watering. To prevent mold in the flowers, water marigolds at the base of the plant instead of overhead.

Marigold is a highly productive plant that can be continuously harvested throughout the summer and well into the fall, and frequent harvesting ensures an abundant yield. Wait to harvest Marigolds until they have attained full size and have fully opened. When harvesting, make sure to grab them from the base of the flower; the flower should come off easy and shouldn’t require additional tools.

Once harvested make sure to either completely dry in a dehydrator to preserve the flower, or hang in a non-humid cool place to dry. This will prevent the flowers from molding.

Whole marigold flowers can be dehydrated for stored yield and be used to create a concentrate. The color yielded ranges from light yellow, greenish yellow, and deep ochre.

Fabric should be mordanted before dyeing with marigold.

The fresh or dried plants work well with bundle dyeing as well.

Dye concentrate recipe:

62 grams dried marigold

80 ounces water

Simmer mordanted fabric in dyestuff for 1 hour at 140° Fahrenheit.

Let fabric soak in dye bath for 24 hours at room temperature, then strain and rinse.