Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tagetes patula, Himalayan Marigold

Tagetes patula 
 Himalayan Marigold
This is no ordinary dwarf well behaved bedding Marigold but a giant of the group growing quite tall under favourable growing conditions . I planted seed of this variety many years ago and it has been with me ever since.
Much has been written about the use of marigolds as companion plants in the garden to deter nematodes or eelworm in the soil and repel insects from vegetable plants, and this would be the species to use as it is certainly more decorative than the other recommended species Tagetes minuta ,Stinking Roger
If you keep chickens, the Himalayan Marigold is also a useful as a 'strewing herb' to deter flies, lice and mites in the yard. Chickens also find the foliage an acceptable green pick and it may have some benefit in controlling intestinal parasites if added to their diet on a regular basis.
If you are not deterred by the strong smell of the flowers they can be picked for indoor decoration as the stems are long and the flower colour is an interesting mix of russet shades.
2017 update: I normally have seed grown plants ready for sale in late winter / early spring. I am taking cuttings from a mature plant to see how they go in this mid summer.

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