Marigolds are a popular home gardening plant. The size of a marigold plant and its blooms vary depending on the type. Marigolds have a strong scent and at one time were thought to be poisonous because of their odour. Many gardeners today use them as a border around a garden to help repel insects that find the scent offensive. Butterflies love the bright scent of a marigold.
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The African marigold is also sometimes called the American marigold or Aztec marigold. African marigolds are the most commonly planted marigold because of their larger blooms. Different varieties include the tall African marigold, which can reach a height of 3 feet tall, and the large flowered variety which produces flowers up to 3 1/2 inches across. Bloom colours are yellow and orange. The African marigold does not have bicolored blooms.
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Growing from 5 to 18 inches, the French marigold comes in colours such as yellow, orange and red. French marigolds also can be bicolored and are often seen as darker orange with yellow edging. Blooms range from 1 to 2 inches across.
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Also known as a triploid marigold, the mule marigold is a hybrid cross of the tall African marigold and the dwarf French marigold. Mule marigolds have qualities of both of their cultivars and do very well in hotter weather. Mule marigolds grow anywhere from 12 to 18 inches tall, have blooms of up to 2 inches across and can be bicolored.
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Easily spotted by their single petalled blooms and lacy foliage. The petals of the Signet marigold are edible and have a spicy flavour. Signet marigolds emit a fresh lemony scent and are most commonly seen in colours of yellow and orange.