• Best Fall bloomers: Mexican marigold

    by  • November 22, 2010 • Fall, Plant Profiles

    Introducing you to

    Mexican marigold or Tagetes lemmonii…

    Mexican Marigold Tagetes lemmonii closeup

    Mexican Bush Marigold or Copper Canyon Daisy, Tagetes lemmonii

    Lemmon’s Marigold, Copper Canyon Daisy or Mexican Bush Daisy, you can call this flower any of those, but I like to say “Tagetes lemmonii”. I like the sound of it. I say TA-je-tees  lem-MO-ni-I.

    I found this little gem at our local native and Mediterranean plant nursery, Intermountain, in a 3″ pot. I was surely surprised when it grew into a four foot tall bushy bush with just loads of yellow gold flowers just when you need some color in the middle of November.

    Mexican Marigold Tagetes lemmoniiI cut a bunch of it to bring in the house, and was again surprised at the incredibly pungent, (you could say stinky) fragrance. Best to keep these flowers on the bush, ideally placing them where they will combine with Autumn sage, Asters and Pineapple sage.

    Tagetes lemmonii in pot

    Tagetes lemmonii sulked in a in pot all summer

    I easily divided the first plant into two pots on the patio.  I found that they would droop when not watered every day in August when in a container!  Also I brushed by them more releasing the smell more often. Always startling…  Snow covered these pots yesterday, but they popped right back on their sturdy stems.


    Tagetes lemmonii

    Tagetes lemmonii reach for the mid-November sun

    The one planted in the salvia bed, with little water available did just fine and blooms at the same time in November. This Spring, I guess I will choose good spots for the potted ones in the ground.

    Nonetheless, this is a bright sunny plant for when you really need a bit of sun under overcast Autumn skies.

    Plant in sun or part shade in a well-drained soil like our slopes. Drought tolerant but looks best with a little irrigation – too much water or too little light produces leggy plants that don’t bloom well. Frost tender to a hard frost but rebounds quickly and overall hardy to at least 18° F like our usual at 3000′

    Although they don’t have a listing for Tagetes lemmonii, (so I can use my own way), Fine Gardening does have a Latin name pronunciation guide here for many varieties!            (They say Ta-JEE-tees)


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.