Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Germinate Marigold Seeds

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017

Marigolds are annual flowering plants that a gardener may use in sunny flowerbeds, borders or containers. Marigolds, with their bright yellow or orange blossoms, will bloom profusely throughout the entire growing season right up until autumn frosts begin. Plant marigolds directly outside in the spring after all threat of frost is over, or start them indoors for a head start to the growing season. Marigold seeds germinate easily and they will grow quickly into healthy and robust plants.

Prepare the planting area in the spring. If you are planting marigold seeds outdoors, prepare the soil when the ground is dry enough to work. Cultivate the top 4 to 6 inches of soil and add 2 inches of compost to the top of the soil. Work the compost in well and rake the soil surface smooth. If you are planting marigold seeds indoors, fill a planting container with potting soil approximately six weeks prior to the final spring frost.

Plant the marigold seeds approximately 8 inches apart outdoors and cover them with a 1/8-inch layer of soil. Plant marigold seeds approximately 4 inches apart indoors and cover them with the same thin layer of soil. Water the newly planted marigold seeds generously.

Keep the marigold seeds moist during germination. When the soil temperature is between 60 and 75 degrees F, the marigold seeds will germinate within two weeks. When the soil temperature is between 75 and 80 degrees F, the marigold seeds will germinate within one week.

Reduce the amount of water you provide for the new marigold plants after the first shoots emerge from the soil. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering instead of keeping it evenly moist.


Things You Will Need

  • Garden spade
  • Compost
  • Rake
  • Potting soil (optional)
  • Planting container (optional)
  • Marigold seeds
  • Trowel

About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.