Provide long-lasting color to your annual flower beds and containers with abundantly blooming marigolds. These summer flowers bloom from spring until fall frost, producing red, orange or yellow flowers. Both small and large flowered varieties are available, depending on the needs of your garden design. Plant marigolds from seed or purchase bedding plants at a nursery if you do not want to wait for them to bloom. Marigolds are relatively low-maintenance, with only basic care required.
Plant marigolds in an area that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. Choose beds that are well-drained and not prone to standing water or plant them in pots that have at least one drainage hole in the bottom.
Water bedded marigolds once a week when there is less than 1 inch of natural rainfall, moistening the soil to a 6-inch depth. Water potted marigolds when the top 1 inch of soil begins to feel dry, irrigating from the top of the pot until the excess moisture begins draining from the bottom.
Deadhead marigolds at least once a week when they are actively blooming. Pinch off the spent flower heads just above the nearest leaf or bud beneath the flower. Deadheading improves the appearance of the plant and prevents seed formation, which helps encourage further blooming.
Trim back marigolds at midsummer if they become leggy or overgrown. Cut the stems back to two-thirds their previous height with a pair of shears, encouraging fuller regrowth.
Fertilize potted marigolds once a month with a soluble, balanced fertilizer, following label instructions for application amount. Fertilize bedded marigolds at midsummer with a phosphorus-rich, slow-release fertilizer at the package recommended rate.