Marigold: Uses, Varieties, Cultivation, Pinching & Harvesting Technique

Author: Sagar Bhattarai

Agriculture and Forestry University

Second Semester


Marigold is the most cultivated flower in Nepal followed by Rose and Gladiolus. Marigold are most used flowers both as cut and loose flowers during the cultural, religious and other functions in Nepal like weeding, party, Bartabandha, opening ceremony and many more.

Lets learn about scientific cultivation of Marigold in Nepal.

Common name: Marigold

Botanical name: Tagetes sps.

Family: Asteraceae

There are 33 species of genus Tagetes. The characters of important species are as follows.

  1. Tagetes erecta (African marigold)

The plant is hardy, annual about 90 cm tall, erect and branched. Flower colour varies from lemon yellow to yellow, golden yellow or orange. They have large flowers. e.g. giant double African orange, yellow supreme, Hawai.


  1. Tagetes petula (French marigold)

They are hardy, annual about 30 cm forming on bushy plant. They are reddish stem and flower colour varies from yellow to red. Flowers are small in size .e.g. rusty red ,butter scotch

  1. Tagetes tenuifolia

It is an annual flowering variety with branching habit. Flowers are yellow in colour .e.g Golden gem ,lulu


  1. It is widely used as loose flower and for making garlands which are used mainly in religious events.
  2. It is also used for decorative purpose in ornamental gardening.
  3. It is used for the extraction of perfumes and essential oils.
  4. Oils extracted from marigold can be used as insect repellents.

      5.It has several health benefits such as:

  • Reduce diaper rash and protect sensitive skin,
  • Decrease the appearance of discoloration due to scarring.
  • Reduce unsightly varicose veins.
  • Treat swollen bug bites.
  • Treat burns.
  • Reduce dermatitis and eczema.
  • Reduce bruises.
  • Heal infected cuts.

Cultivation practices


Marigold grows in wide range of soils however, deep, friable and fertile sandy loam soil with good drainage is best suitable for marigold cultivation. Acidic and saline soils are not suitable for its cultivation .The pH should be in range of 5.5 -6.5 .


Marigold need plenty of sunshine, so it should be in grown in open sunny condition. They are susceptible frost. Marigold is quantitatively short day plant so flowering accelerated by short days.



The ideal temperature for optimum growth of marigold is 15 to 25 degree Celsius.


Marigold can be propagated both sexually and asexually.

  1. By seed

Commercially marigold is propagated by seeds. Seeds are taken from the dried flower and sown in the field. The seedling become ready to transplant after 25 to 30 days.

  1. By cutting

About 6 to 10 cm long cuttings are made from the apical portion of the shoot and treated with root promoting chemicals. Cutting planted in sand are vermiculite rooted easily and the rooted cuttings are transferred into beds or pots or flowering


Marigold are susceptible to water logging. As they are rainy season crop, irrigation is not required but for the first few days after transplantation, regular irrigation is essential.

For all stages of vegetative growth and flowering, sufficient moisture is essential. Moisture at any of the vegetative and flowering stage markedly influence the growth and flowering. During summer, frequent irrigation is required. However, in winter irrigation is done after a long interval.

Staking is essential for the tall varieties during the flowering stage as they are very prone to lodging.


Marigold can be calculated year-round. For winter cultivation, seed are sown in October (Kartik) and seedlings are transplanted in November (Mangsir). For summer cultivation, seed are sown in January (Magh) and transplanting is done in February (Falgun) and for rainy season cultivation, seed are sown in June (Asar) and transplanted in July (Shrawan).


Planting distance

A spacing of 45 x 45 cm for African Marigold and 30 x 30 cm for French marigold has been optimum for commercial cultivation. The seedlings at the time of planting should be disease free and should have 3-4 true leaves.

Manure and Fertilizer

Well rotten FYM 30 tons per hectare should be incorporated well in the soil at the time of land preparation. In addition to FYM, 200 kg/ha of nitrogen, 80 kg/ha each of phosphorous and potash should be applied for getting good vegetative growth and flowering. Nitrogen is to be applied in two split doses after 30 and 60 days.



Pinching is done to break apical dominance and to encourage lateral branching and thereby increasing the flower production. It is done 30 days after planting and if the soil condition is good it is also done twice i.e. 30 and 40 days after planting in African marigold. French marigold does not require pinching as they are short.


Flowers are harvested when they are fully opened and attained full size. Field should be irrigated before plucking as flower will remain fresh for longer period after harvest. Flowers harvested during morning have better keeping quality.

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