Marigolds are stunning plants that need lots of sunlight to thrive, and most people keep them for their beautiful bright orange, yellow, or red flowers. They’re perfect houseplants and tend to improve the aesthetics of whatever space you put them—whether it’s a study, a garden, or your porch. Unfortunately, it’s possible to have indoor or outdoor marigolds that might take too long to bloom.
Some of the reasons that your marigolds are taking a long time to bloom include diseases, pest infestations, weeds, and a lack of deadheading. Luckily, these problems are relatively easy to fix.
If left untreated, these problems can be pretty severe and even affect your marigold’s physical development by slowing growth. But let’s dive into why your marigold might take so long to bloom.
It typically takes six to eight weeks for healthy marigold plants to break through the soil, produce their first leaves, and flower. However, like every living thing, plants are susceptible to diseases that can interfere with their normal biological processes. A common symptom of a sick plant is usually a noticeable issue with its shoot and root development.
For marigolds, their primary enemy is powdery mildew. This disease typically causes their leaves to turn yellow or brown, but some other symptoms include mold and faded leaves.
Extreme cases of powdery mildew will lead to stunted growth and affect the plant’s ability to produce flowers. So, while you can deal with regularly occurring mildew infections, a particularly severe case will delay blooming in your marigolds.
Fortunately, you can get rid of this fungus by spraying a mix of baking soda, dishwashing soap, and water on your marigolds. Just add a teaspoon of baking soda and a drop of water to a spray bottle, and you’re ready to go. You’ll need to use this remedy often and thoroughly, but your marigolds should recover in a few weeks.
2. Pest Infestation
It’s almost impossible to have pests if you keep a healthy and clean garden, but it’s not uncommon to have infestations in even the most sterile spaces. However, these pests can harm plant roots, leaves, and stems—resulting in delayed flowering. Additionally, extreme pest infestations can strip your marigolds of the ability to flower since they’ll be unable to optimize their biological processes.
These pests are rarely rabbits and deer, so you’ll most likely have to deal with smaller insects like ants, aphids, and spider mites. Unfortunately, insect pests can be difficult to spot until you notice the damage they’ve caused to your marigold plants.
Pest-infested marigolds won’t bloom on time or at all, and their flowers are usually sickly or small. However, the best way to confirm if your marigolds are affected by pests is to check for signs like webbing. Alternatively, you can inspect your plants to see if you can find the insects.
It’s easy to deal with pest infestations, and you’ll only have to work more if you let the infestation get out of control. All you need is some neem oil or insecticide, and your marigolds should be fine.
Every gardener knows there’s nothing quite as dangerous to the success of your garden as weeds. Keeping healthy plants in good soil is almost impossible without dealing with weeds. And while it’s relatively easy to get rid of weeds in more minor situations like planters, they can become a serious problem in outdoor gardens and pots that aren’t tended to.
Weeds affect plants by competing for resources like nutrients, water, and even sunlight, thus interfering with their development and causing numerous problems. And while weeds can affect the aesthetics of your garden or indoor planter, they can also cause your marigolds to take longer to bloom.
You can get rid of weeds by picking them out by hand, but you risk damaging your plant’s roots in the process. Your best bet is to use mulch on your soil after planting the marigolds.
Mulching is the practice of applying a layer of organic material to the top soil to protect plants from extreme environmental conditions and prevent weeds. However, mulching also helps keep your plant’s stems, leaves, and flowers clean. It’s also a great way to improve soil water retention; mulched soils don’t need as much water to thrive.
I recommend you use cedar mulch when planting your marigolds, but you can also use it for mature plants.
4. Lack Of Deadheading
Deadheading is the process of removing dead or damaged flowers from your marigold plants. It’s a beneficial process that improves plant aesthetics and helps marigolds and other flowering plants produce fuller and more beautiful flowers. It enables the marigolds to grow other crucial vegetative parts and spend their energy on more advantageous biological activities.
Although many amateur gardeners and plant owners might not realize it, your marigolds could have trouble blooming if there are old or damaged flowers on the plants. These spent blooms could interfere with new flower formation or take the space that fresh blooms could occupy.
Deadheading is similar to pruning, but you target spent blooms when deadheading plants. And while the name may make deadheading seem tricky, the process is pretty straightforward. In fact, anyone can do it if they have the right tools.
Here’s how to deadhead marigolds:
- Get all the tools you’ll need to deadhead the plant. As with pruning, you’ll need gardening gloves, pruning shears, and a garden bag. I recommend using high-quality products to cut the spent blooms efficiently.
- Use a piece of alcohol-soaked cloth to clean the pruning shears. Cleaning the shears will prevent infection and guarantee that you don’t damage the marigolds when deadheading. However, ensure you keep the rag close by throughout the process.
- Move the plant outside or to a place with lots of light. You’ll need a lot of visibility to deadhead the marigolds correctly, so use a flashlight if necessary. However, be careful not to hurt the plant if you move it around.
- Use the pruning shears to cut the spent flowers at the stems just below the blooms. Cutting the spent blooms one stem at a time is necessary for this crucial step. When pruning, don’t forget to clean your shears as frequently as possible.
Alternatively, you can use your fingers to pinch off the spent flowers. However, this process might not always be as glamorous as using a pair of pruning shears, and there’s the risk of accidentally hurting the plants. Therefore, I recommend following the abovementioned steps for the best results.
You can also use regular scissors to deadhead the marigolds, but it might not be quite as efficient as using pruning shears. However, household scissors will help get the job done, especially if you have some experience with deadheading.
I previously wrote an article about deadheading. And while it focuses on hydrangeas, you can learn a few things about how the process can impact your marigold plants. Here’s a link to the article: Should You Cut Off Brown Hydrangea Blooms?
The reasons I discussed in this article are only some factors that might interfere with marigold blooms. Watering inconsistencies, lack of sunlight, inefficient and unsuitable soil, suboptimal humidity levels, and extreme temperatures can cause marigolds to bloom far longer than they should.
You should also confirm you’re not using too much fertilizer if you notice your marigold plant takes too long to flower. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix these problems if you follow my advice in this article.