Cultivating Marigold flowers

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Marigolds are originally from Mexico, where they are known as Celandulas. Apparently they were first discovered by the Portuguese in Central America in the 16th century and they became popular in Europe and elsewhere. But according to Hindu mythology Marigolds existed in India even during the period of Ramayana (400BC) and Mahabharata( 8 BC ), there are many references made about the beauty of the flower and its medicinal qualities in these scriptures…Marigolds are members of the Composite Family, the blossoms sometimes are actually clusters of many flowers. Marigold grows well and in abundance in tropical countries since it needs a lot of sunlight and water..

According to a news report “A team of scientists associated with the European Space Agency (ESA) has claimed that they are convinced that marigolds can grow in crushed rock similar to the lunar surface, with no need for plant food ”

Marigold flowers are a very popular garden flower, a beautiful yellow flower that add cheer and brightness to any garden and they are among some of the easiest flowers to grow.. They are Robust and non fussy plants that are fairly simple to start from the seed. The plants need a lot of sunshine and regular watering. So while planning to grow Marigolds one has to make sure to choose a spot in your garden where they will receive the highest amount of sun light ..

There are many varieties of marigolds , the more common ones are the globe shaped large flowers called the American Marigolds, the small red orange yellow variety called the French Marigolds and the Single layered finely divided, lacy foliage and clusters of small, single flowers in a range of yellow to orange colors called Signet Marigolds.

Marigolds can be propagated by seeds and the plants need about 45 days to flower after seeding. Marigold seeds should be sown at least 2cm apart. Cover the seeds with 1/4 inch of potting soil. Water sufficiently. Plants will appear within a few days. When true leaves have formed, transplant into individual containers or outdoors. The plants take one to two months to grow and start flowering. Once the buds are formed we need to fertilize them once every four weeks. Fertilization will promote healthy growth and large blooms. Potash is recommended for Marigold plants since this fertiliser prolongs the flowering period. A healthy well nourished Marigold plant will have plenty of bright green leaves and lots of branches and blooms.

While the plants are known as easy to grow and fairly hardy, they need to be adequately watered .The pungent odor that the plant has keeps the pests and insects away so not much care is required . I am told that many farmers grow them amidst vegetables to keep the insects away !

Marigold has some medicinal value , it is used for making skin ointments in treating skin burns and inflammations.

When I look at Marigold flowers I automatically think about my childhood, the happy days I spent with my grand parents at their village home surrounded by coconut trees and vast stretches of flowers of every variety possible. There were fragrant Jasmine bushes, Chrisanthamums, Hibiscus flowers in every color possible and masses of Marigolds. I remember the pleasure these flowers brought to us as we wandered through the garden plucking and making garlands out of them. I have always connected cheer, brightness, happiness and positivity to Marigolds. I have a couple of variety of Marigolds growing in pots and when they are in bloom, they never fail to bring back those happy child hood days..

Marigolds look lovely clustered together in low vases and brighten up the interior, literally bringing sunshine in and making the room look cheerful with their Golden yeloow glow. Just looking at the flower lifts up your spirits and lightens your mood.

Marigold flowers are extensively used in all religious festivities among Hindus . We decorate the entrance door to our houses with branches of mango leaves and Marigold garlands on Ugadi, which is the Hindu New Years day which falls on the 14th of April and during other festivals like Diwali and Holi. Chariot and temple decorations can never be complete without Marigold flowers and garlands made with them..

Summary: Easy to grow in your garden..

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