The marigold is probably one of the most versatile flowers you can grow in your garden. All parts of the plant were used as far back as medieval times for a variety of culinary, medicinal, and cosmetic purposes.
Through the centuries, marigolds have been planted as natural repellants to garden pests. In addition, African marigolds and French marigolds have recently been used in controlling root-knot nematodes when rotated or inter planted with other garden grown vegetables.
My mother-in-law always planted marigolds and petunias around her vegetable garden, saying that their strong smell kept rabbits, squirrels, cats, dogs, and other small animals away from her produce. Today's experts put the kibosh on that idea, but the practice of planting marigolds as a pest deterrent is a tradition that I have always followed as well. The only time I ever had a problem with rabbits and other critters was the year I planted marigolds only on entrance to my garden (a fence borders the backside) and left both ends open.
Does it work? I don't know, but it's a practice I intend to continue for the bright bursts of yellows and oranges that marigold transplants lend to the borders of my just-planted garden plot.
The most common types of marigold are the pot marigold, the tall African marigold, and the robust French marigold. Although originating in different parts of the world, these true marigolds are all members of the large aster family. One marigold, the marsh marigold, isn't really a marigold at all!Marsh Marigold →