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Can Marigolds Grow in the Shade? Conditions, Requirements & FAQs


Marigolds are annual flowers that bloom in a wide range of colors including yellow, orange, red, and burgundy. They are heat and drought-tolerant, making them ideal for growing in hot and dry conditions. However, they can also tolerate light shade, although they will bloom best in full sun.

This means you can have some Marigolds in a spot with partial shade in your garden, but this area must get at least 6 hours of full sun every day.

In this article, you can learn all about the light or sun requirements of Marigolds and get to know other requirements for growing them both indoors and outside.

garden flower divider

Ideal Shade Conditions for Growing Marigolds

Marigolds can tolerate light shade, although they will bloom best in full sun. If you live in an area with very hot summers, growing marigolds in partial shade will help them to stay cooler and prevent the flowers from wilting.

While other plants tolerate full shade, Marigolds can only withstand about 20% shade, and only for a short duration. Note that even with partial shade, the flower will still not thrive unless there’s plenty of bright light for several hours.

So, how does shade affect marigolds? Full shade will negatively affect how bright and lovely your Marigolds look. You may end up with a weak plant, thinner leaves, and poor blooms. Another issue that affects Marigolds when growing in partial or full shade is powdery mildew.

In essence, Marigolds are best left in the sun. But if you cannot avoid the shade, then sufficient sunlight conditions have to be met.

yellow marigold up close
Image Credit: matthiasboeckel, Pixabay

Where Do Marigolds Grow Best?

Marigolds will grow and thrive in areas that receive full sunshine for at least six hours a day. So, you can plant them in an outdoor garden even if you experience very hot summers.

One reason Marigolds do well in full sunshine is the fact that these are drought-tolerant plants. Some plants prefer growing under shade to conserve water, but Marigold can tolerate dry conditions and still thrive with minimal watering.

Can Marigolds Grow Indoors?

Marigolds can grow and bloom indoors, and you get to enjoy these blooms all year. This is ideal since different weather conditions outside, such as frost and other harsh elements, won’t affect the flowers.

Consider setting these plants in areas of the house where they can receive lots of sunshine. If this isn’t possible, you can use grow lights. Ensure that you rotate the plant so that it gets even exposure to light.

red marigold
Image Credit: Aliya_99, Pixabay

Other Requirements of Growing Marigolds

Growing Marigolds successfully means you have to meet specific requirements. Among the most important is lots of bright light, as already established. Other requirements include:

Other Requirements
  • Fertile Growing Soil: Marigold flowers prefer loam soil rich in nutrients. However, with ample watering, it’s still possible to grow them in sandy soil or any type of soil provided there is good drainage and moderate fertility. Start by aerating the soil and removing all debris and stones that might impede proper growth. For indoor growth, you need some pots and the right potting mix. Marigold will need perlite, sand, and vermiculite soils for proper drainage. The plant thrives in neutral soil pH, from 6.0–7.5.
  • Fertilizer Application: Fertilizer is an essential addition to boost the soil’s nutrients. Start by adding organic compost to the soil. Follow this with a light application of NPK 5-10-5 fertilizer, but only if you notice signs of poor nutrients.
  • Planting: Marigolds can be started from seeds or transplants. If you are starting with seeds, sow them indoors 6–8 weeks before the last frost date. Transplant the seedlings into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. When planting, dig a hole that is twice as wide as the plant’s root ball and deep enough so that the top of the soil is at the same level it was in the pot. Gently loosen the roots before planting them and water them thoroughly. Keep the soil moist until the plants are established. Marigolds bloom best when they are not crowded. Space them 8-–2 inches apart in the garden. If you are growing them in containers, use a pot that is at least 12 inches wide and has plenty of drainage holes.
  • Watering: Marigolds prefer the area around the roots to remain moist, especially during the hot summer months. However, avoid overwatering since this can lead to root rot. Once you have some well-established Marigolds in your flower beds, you can give them a good soak every 7 days. If growing them in sandy soil that drains fast, you can increase the watering frequency to twice per week. Ensure the soil remains moist to about an 8-inch depth. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage continued blooming. You can also cut back the plants by one-half after the first flush of blooms to encourage bushier growth and more flowers.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Like most plants, Marigolds are affected by pests and diseases. Have a management strategy in place when this happens. Among the pests that attack Marigold are aphids, earwig, slugs, spider mites, thrips, and cabbage moth Also, be on the lookout for diseases such as powdery mildew, aster yellows, collar rot, root rot, and wilt. Proper pest and disease control are essential if you want to harvest healthy blooms. Usually, there are organic solutions that you can use, especially when growing the flowers for personal use.

When Is the Right Time to Plant Marigolds? Can they Tolerate the Cold?

No, marigolds are not tolerant of cold temperatures. They are annual flowers, which means they will only last one growing season. If the temperature dips below freezing, the plants will die. So, you will need to replant them every year.

The best time to grow Marigold outside is in spring and summer. This is because these seasons have favorable weather to support their blooms. However, if you’re growing them indoors, you can plant them at any time.

With a little care, marigolds will provide you with months of colorful blooms. These flowers are a great addition to any garden, both for their beauty and for their pest-control properties. They release a chemical that repels many common garden pests, making them an ideal companion plant for other flowers and vegetables.

garden flower divider


So, you want to have some marigolds in your home but your yard is mostly shady? Well, it’s a relief that they can grow in partial shade, provided they get at least a few hours of direct sunlight. However, Marigolds grow, bloom, and thrive in ample sunshine.

Consider the location of the garden or where to place the growing pots. If the plant remains in the shade for too long, it’s at risk of getting powdery mildew. Apart from full sunshine, Marigolds also need good well-draining soil, ample water, some fertilizer, and pest and disease control.

Featured Image Credit: Marjonhorn, Pixabay


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