Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Shrub Marigold, Mexican Bush Marigold, Mount Lemmon Marigold, Copper Canyon Daisy
Tagetes lemmonii

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tagetes (TAG-e-teez) (Info)
Species: lemmonii (lem-mon-ee-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Tagetes alamensis
Synonym:Tagetes palmeri

27 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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There are a total of 22 photos.
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17 positives
6 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative cedillamuerta On Nov 8, 2012, cedillamuerta from Picayune, MS (Zone 8a) wrote:

I personally despise this plant, but only because it is one of the few things I am allergic to. I am not sure if it is an individual response or if it was how I came into contact with it but if you have scratches or cuts, LEAVE THIS PLANT ALONE. It contains oils that are phototoxic. A couple of hours after exposure I was sitting on the floor of the greenhouse spraying my hands with water to no avail. The oils induce a harsh sunburn and generate a rash that spreads rapidly if scratched. They may also make you dehydrated or it could have just been my case. Benadryl didn't work for me. I had to go home and hold my hands in ice water for 45 minutes before the agony stopped. Be careful around this plant. You won't know if you're allergic until you're exposed so I'd avoid it altogether.

Positive magpie38 On Oct 20, 2012, magpie38 from Houston, TX wrote:

Nice yellow blooms appear in late October-early November and continue throughout the winter. Needs very little water. Small when purchased, I was told to 'give it room'. Good advice, as it has spread to 6 ft wide and 4 ft tall. Foliage is nice, and fragrant. Not a formal shrub by any means.

Positive hoodat On Jun 30, 2012, hoodat from San Diego, CA wrote:

Here in San Diego this is a year round bloomer. I use it as a flowering hedge. Excellent water saving plant. It survives here with no watering but will thrive with a once a month soaking. It needs no fertilizer. It can be cut back to hard growth and will start to break out in new shoots in a matter of a few days. Cuttings from any part of the plant will root and grow in just a few weeks.
Bees like the pollen but it repels most harmful insects and will protect any other plants close to it.

Positive XemaSab On Nov 5, 2011, XemaSab from Redding, CA wrote:

Mine gets to about 6 feet tall and has occasional individual flowers throughout the summer, then it puts on a massive display at Thanksgiving when everything else is starting to look terrible. Our 15 degree cold spells knock it back to the ground in January, then it starts budding all over again and repeats the show. I suggest clipping it back by about a foot in mid-July so that it has a nice form in early winter when the flowers are blooming.

Neutral tejascarol On Dec 29, 2010, tejascarol from Bastrop, TX wrote:

I started out with 2 of these in 4" pots & planted in 2 different places in my front yard--one in full sun; the other in mostly sun/some afternoon shade. I had a problem when they were about 12" tall. The one I planted in full sun started dying & finally figured out that the strong south wind had broken it near the base--the trunk was split. The other had some broken stems, but survived to make a large plant that bloomed profusely in the fall. The branches & stems are very easily broken by wind, but as it got larger, it didn't seem to break as easily.

Positive ThomPotempa On Dec 10, 2010, ThomPotempa from Houston, TX wrote:

In an area of the garden that gets no water other than rain.

Fantastic blooms right now (early December) despite the fact we have drought conditions.

Neutral turektaylor On Dec 3, 2010, turektaylor from Elizabeth City, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

yes, it's beautiful but it's not fond of NC. i too tried everything but in the end, it went to the big flowerbed in the sky....

Positive tulpen On Jan 25, 2010, tulpen from Los Angeles, CA wrote:

Love it and so do the bees! I bought this in a one gallon pot last spring and it now is 2" x 3" and bloomed profusely from late fall to winter. I was concerned it would not thrive because at this location it only gets full sun from spring to late fall (Zone 11.) Would recommend pruning to shape. Personally love the aroma and luckily am not allergic either. Low maintenance and so cheerful.

Neutral bhinsb On Dec 20, 2009, bhinsb from Santa Barbara, CA wrote:

Question: I have about 50 feet of 4' high fence I need to cover...some in sun and some in shade. Would this be a good plant to do that with??

Positive GuerrillaGurl On Oct 23, 2009, GuerrillaGurl from Watsonville, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I did a couple experiments with T. lemmonii, when I took a propagation class, and found that leaf cuttings actually rooted faster and more fully than stem cuttings taken at the same time. I still have the plant, it's been ~11 years now. Great plant!

Positive johannasofia On Oct 10, 2009, johannasofia from Sebastopol, CA wrote:

We live in the Redwoods in Northern California and there are many deer, which we like. However, they are incompatible with a flower garden. None of the "deer resistant" plants have survived. However, Mexican Marigold has allowed me to grow a small flowerbed around the house. Deer will not go near it, or the plants that are close to it. When I have pruned the Marigold bushes, I placed the branches on top of other plants I am trying to protect from the deer. I wear a face mask when I prune, because the scent of the plant is very strong; I can see why deer stay away from it. The scent is not very apparent, unless you touch the plant. I have added Mexican Sage and Autumn Sage to the flower beds. The yellow, blue and red blooms look nice.

Positive SLMC On Jul 13, 2009, SLMC from Austin, TX wrote:

Planted too close together by my home builder... Give it enough room or prepare to prune. It does respond well to pruning. It needs very little water. Too much can make it leggy & reduce blooming. Very lush & full plant for xeriscaping.

I've never had an allergic problem w/ this plant until last week. I got carried away doing some hand pruning & didn't notice the light scratches on my arms & legs. Until I went to swim laps the next morning. Pool water + sunlight = intense pain. It lasted several days. Wear pants & long sleeves if you're hard pruning, just in case.

Positive vossner On Nov 19, 2008, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

What a great performer this has been in my garden. Mine is planted inground, 4-5 hrs of sunshine and bright shade the rest of the time. I was concerned this would make it bloom less or make it leggy, nope--very showy at this location. I guess it remains to be seen whether it will decline over time due to less than full sun, but so far, wonderful.

UPDATE Dec 2014: Six years later, the plant continues to thrive and since we lost a nearby tree that provided the shade, it is truly happy in full sun.

Negative SteveTXMD On May 24, 2008, SteveTXMD from Houston, TX wrote:

So far, negative. Looking for answers. Bought this plant at Buchanan's in Houston about a month ago where it looked very healthy and smelled wonderful (no blooms yet) but it has never thrived. Now it's starting to die off underneath. We transplanted it into a 14" container and placed it on our rooftop deck where it gets tons of sun. We water it a little daily. Tried to not water it for a few days, but it won't thrive. Not sure what's gone wrong.

Positive JaxFlaGardener On Dec 26, 2007, JaxFlaGardener from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is spectacular in the late Fall/Winter in NE Florida (Zone 8b/9a). It blooms sporadically at other times throughout the year. I also happen to love the aroma, which stirs up easily with a slight waft of the hand.

One of my coworkers at the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens has the same allergic reaction that is described above, but I haven't had a problem when handling the plant (though I am allergic to lantana).


Positive donnaahchi On Nov 27, 2007, donnaahchi from Lutz, FL wrote:

I just purchased a Mexican Marigold. I have been looking for several months just to find out what the name was. In my neighborhood there is one that looks 10' tall and blooms all year. I have walked by the persons house to ask what it was but they were never home...I just happen to stop at a nursery not too far from my house and described it to the owner. The owner of the nursery stated he had several that were in a one gal. pot for three dollars, he said one of their customers wanted it taken out of their yard. So they chopped it down and made a lot of cuttings, it is only six inches high but very rootbound and growing fast. I think it is a very beautiful and colorful plant. I went to Home Depot last month describing it to the Garden Mgr. he stated if a plant is invasive they do not sell them. Seek and ye shall find. =)

Neutral mizar5 On Oct 17, 2007, mizar5 from Merritt Island, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Panner, I had the itching thing after getting it on me while cutting it back, so I'd say yes.

I've given up on mine. They were getting HUGE and sprawling and looked good overall but I could never get them to bloom. They were in bloom when I bought them quite a while back.

I had them in sun and everything around (sages, pentas, mona lavender, lantana) them was *thriving*. I tried fertilizing. More water, less water. Nothing worked. They just *wouldn't* bloom for me. Started looking a bit ratty, too, finally, so a few days ago I yanked them. Hence the neutral rating ( just my experience).

Neutral panner On Oct 10, 2006, panner from Leander, TX wrote:

Is it possible that the sap or resins from this plant can cause extreme itching of the skin, especially while exposed to direct sunlight? I had this experience which lasted for a couple of days after heavy pruning.

Positive jackieshar On Sep 13, 2005, jackieshar from Texas/Okla central border
United States (Zone 7b) wrote:

I have it planted in a mixed butterfly garden. My planting soils are amended with peat and composted horse manure to the natural sands of my area. I love the smell and the beauty of the foliage even if it never blooms. I understand it blooms later in the fall.
It is growing well here in it's first season. I may be stretching the northern limits. I will mulch it well and hope for the best, try to keep some cuttings and some seed in case it doesn't winter thru. Hope to have a favorable comment this coming spring.

Positive CasieMom On May 7, 2005, CasieMom from Des Moines, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Beautiful airy foliage, extremely fragrant. And the deer leave it alone! Butterflies and hummingbirds love the flowers as much as I do. Blooms in late summer/autumn in central Texas Hill Country. Thrives despite our arid, limestone soil conditions and relentless summer heat. It does tend to sprawl, which I don't mind, but it will crowd its neighbors if you don't allow enough elbow room. I adore this plant!

Positive carol33503 On Nov 11, 2004, carol33503 from Magnolia, TX wrote:

Absolutely love the Copper Canyon Daisy. I don't think you could kill this plant if you tried. My favorite thing about it is the wonderful fragrance. I let it grow out into the yard and when I mow over the edges, the scent in the air makes it a treat to mow. The butterflies love this plant when it starts to bloom in the fall. Very striking.

Positive seedlng On Oct 10, 2004, seedlng from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

I bought this plant form a local garden nuresry.
Instructions wwere not included as with alot of plants at wal mart or alike.

It grew very little the first summer, but in the next summer i found myself hedgiing it back.

I researched and found out what it was and discovered it needed more room.

I love this plant for its ability to grow under the worst of conditions, for its citrus scent and continous blooms.

When I purchased this plant it was maybe 6 inches tall in less than a gallon pot.

I have since transplanted this plant to my 6 patio
( 6ft x 2 ft ) containers. Some friends think , when its not in bloom, its airy foliage is simmilar to bamboo.

It makes a nice informal hedge, cirtus to touch with great blooms., now. i water on a drip system.

The stems are tender and break easily but not so easily that when the wind blows it sways like a nice summer breeze. and when th leaves crush slightly ,the citrus scent carries.

very postiive... experience

my name : seedlng
my location: Fort lauderdale -- South East Florida

Positive fahrenthold On Aug 26, 2003, fahrenthold from Canyon Lake, TX wrote:

The white-tail deer do not eat this plant. We have been growing it for four years in almost pure limestone and it is thriving. Our plants bloom only in the late autumn and provide spectacular spots of color when everything else is dying back.

Positive marguerite On Dec 27, 2002, marguerite wrote:

Ready propagator, usually roots when sticking branch into fertile soil, no starter hormone necessary. Testing water rooting now. If you like the fragrance, plant along garden paths, emits on watering plant. Useful herb. No known toxicity. Older plants become leggy and sprawling similar to native lantana, should be pruned back after blooming and seed collection, many years lived perennial. If not pruned, spring growth will start on old wood. Planted in space to sprawl will mound like chrysanthemums and cover up to 5 or 6 feet in bed. Grows well in full sun. Every flower that profusely blooms November/December will make a seed case, let dry on plant and save like any marigold.

Neutral jkom51 On Nov 18, 2002, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Strong smelling (a blend of marigold, mint and lemon)shrubby perennial; normal range Arizona down to Central America. Heaviest bloom winter-spring adds nice color to Zone 9 coastal Nor.Cal. gardens. Flowers look like short, double daisies of deep gold, almost electric when backlit. Takes aridity, prune to correct shape or remove frost damage. Spectacular next to Gentian Sage!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chuichu, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Alameda, California
Amesti, California
Carlsbad, California
Cypress, California
Eureka, California
Fullerton, California
Los Angeles, California
Palm Springs, California
Redding, California
San Diego, California
San Francisco, California
San Leandro, California
San Pedro, California
Sebastopol, California
Sierra Madre, California
Solana Beach, California
Clermont, Florida
Davenport, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Naples, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Poplarville, Mississippi
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Thackerville, Oklahoma
Columbia, South Carolina
Okatie, South Carolina
Cordova, Tennessee
Alvarado, Texas
Austin, Texas (3 reports)
Bastrop, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Belton, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Canyon Lake, Texas
College Station, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Elgin, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)
Garland, Texas
Houston, Texas (4 reports)
Jacksonville, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Killeen, Texas
Leander, Texas
Magnolia, Texas
Mesquite, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Stephenville, Texas
Wichita Falls, Texas (2 reports)
Willis, Texas
Wimberley, Texas

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