7 Ways to Use Marigold Flowers

 Learn why you should grow marigold flowers.

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The humble marigold flower is one of those garden plants that’s loved or hated—there’s little middle ground with this common annual. The gardeners who shun it typically cite the strong scent. Greenthumbs who favor marigold flowers overlook the odor to celebrate this bloomer’s multifaceted personality. Learn seven ways to use marigold flowers in your garden.

Taishan Gold African Marigold

African Marigold Flower

African marigolds unfurl large, traditional ball shape flowers.

Photo by: Ball Horticultural Company

Ball Horticultural Company

1. Japanese Beetle Trap

By midsummer, Japanese beetles mob the large flowers of African marigolds (above). Use the flowers to catch the beetles, then grab a bucket of soapy water and knock beetles into it for a sudsy death. Or, if you raise chickens, toss beetle-laden blooms into the chicken pen, and watch the birds devour both bug and blossom.

2. Edible Flowers*

Pull flowers apart to consume the colorful petals (remove any green or white parts). Add petals to salads, stir fries or quiche. Marigold petals look festive frozen in ice cubes or crumbled onto homemade ice cream, strawberry shortcake or smoothies. All marigold flowers are edible (including calendula, also known as pot marigold)—but not all marigold flowers are tasty. For best flavor, grow Tagetes patula (French marigold), Tagetes tenuifolia (Gem marigolds) or Tagetes lucida (Mexican mint marigold).

3. Nematode Control

Marigolds are famous for their ability to suppress nematode outbreaks in soil. Plant them as a cover crop to help suppress nematodes. Or use them as a companion planting with nematode-susceptible veggies, like tomato, pepper, beans and okra.

Bonanza Marigolds

French Marigold Flowers

French marigold flowers feature colors of orange, burgundy, yellow and bicolor blends.

Photo by: Julie Martens Forney

Julie Martens Forney

4. Colorful Tea*

Steep 2 teaspoons of marigold petals in 8 ounces of boiling water to yield a brightly-hued brew. Taste is rather bland, but the tea has been said to alleviate cramps, fever and sore throat. Enhance the flavor by adding a few leaves of lemon balm or your favorite mint, like Kentucky spearmint or sweet lemon mint.

5. Chicken Feed

Bright yellow and orange blooms of marigolds enhance egg yolk color when you feed flowers to chickens. Dried marigold petal meal is frequently used as a feed additive in the poultry industry to improve egg yolk color. At season’s end, many gardeners toss frosted marigold flowers to their chickens.

6. Saffron Substitute

Dry marigold flowers whole and use petals as needed for a poor man’s saffron. Marigold petals add a strong yellow color to dishes.

7. Rabbit Repellent

Many gardeners plant a border of marigold flowers around their gardens to help repel rabbits. Apparently bunnies also find that classic marigold smell displeasing.

*Note: The content of this article is provided for general informational purposes only. Be cautioned that some wild plants can be poisonous, and poisonous plants sometimes resemble edible plants which often grow side by side. It is the responsibility of the reader, or the reader’s parent or guardian, to correctly identify and use the edible plants described. DIY Network does not guarantee the accuracy of the content provided in this article and is not liable for any injury resulting from use of any information provided.

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