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Thursday, December 10, 2015

African marigold

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Every year I get tired of waiting for the flowering of the African Marigold, the tall marigold plant with dried underside leaves and a thick crown of upside leaves with profuse branching pattern and numerous heads emerging up in haste to spread bright colours of their petals competing with their other counterparts that have already started blooming in the rainy season.

The African marigold is called as Tagetes erecta belonging to the family Asteraceae. As compared to the French marigold or the American Marigold, it is taller and more upright. Malnourished plants may fall and creep on the ground producing numerous adventitious roots.

Genda Phool or African Marigold
Photography: Dr. M. P. Mishra

The African marigold can be propagated by seeds in a temperature range of 70 to 75 degrees F. However these plants can also be propagated by cuttings. Plants if grown by seeds take more time to bloom. When blooming starts, the lower leaves start getting dry but remain attached like bearded saint. To protect the plant from infection, these leaves are needed to be pruned from time to time.

Japanese beetle, red spider, slugs, snails and parasitic nematodes are some of the main pests of this plant. However, the plant is rarely troubled by diseases.

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