SOLVED: Trailing Marigold?

Fairborn, OH(Zone 8a)

Year before last I had a hanging basket with verbena and "trailing marigold" in it. I really liked this plant. It had typical marigold foliage but the flowers were small, single and bright yellow, possibly tinged around the edges with orange or gold but I don't have pictures and may be remembering that wrong. The plant draped gracefully over the edge of the basket, it looked very nice in combination with the blue and white verbena.

Thing is I can't find see for it this year! Last year had something that looked right but it was in their clearance seeds and they don't have it this year at all. And I can't find it anywhere else. Can anyone help?

Long Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

I think you might be referring to Bidens's probably in the PlantFiles.

Fairborn, OH(Zone 8a)

No, this was a true Marigold, with the typical Marigold aroma, foliage, and flowers. I actually saved some of the seed but I've lost it having moved twice since then (due to elderly father having to come live with me).

I've searched and searched for a seed source, I'm still looking. had it last year or the year before in their clearance seeds, I wish I'd gone ahead and bought it even though it was post season when I saw it there.

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

No, this was a true Marigold

True Marigolds (Calendula spp.) aren't trailing plants. Are you sure on that ident?


Fairborn, OH(Zone 8a)

Positive. It was a low growing form that cascaded out of the pot. Possibly it was not truly "trailing" however that is usually defined, but it was as good as when growing in a hanging planter.

Marigold has a very distinctive odor and the foliage and seeds are also very distinctive, this was definitely a marigold.

Maybe I can't find it because it isn't called "trailing" but in practice, in a hanging basket, it has that appearance. Maybe some kind of spreading low growing form?

(Zone 1)

My first thought was maybe it was a wedelia of some sort: common name "Trailing Yellow".

Or possibly Bidens:

Fairborn, OH(Zone 8a)

No, it was a marigold. It wasn't anything that resembled a marigold, or had yellow flowers vaguely reminiscent of a marigold, it was a marigold. It smelled like a marigold, you deadheaded it like a marigold, and if you left a flowerhead to go to seed, it made marigold seed - the long thin pointed seeds dark at the point end shading to a light tan at the other end.

It had a smallish marigold flower, yellow, not truly single but not the fluffy pom-pom like flower head I've seen on some marigold cultivars. The flowers are small, only about an inch to an inch and a quarter. They were golden yellow in color. The plant had a tendency to creep more than stand upright but that may have been because it was in a hanging basket and there wasn't much room for it to do anything but fall over the side. It was short, maybe about 6" tall.

The closest I can come to it - other than the "creeping" or "trailing" marigold Pinetree Gardens had on clearance a year or two ago - is some kind of dwarf French marigold, but all the ones I've found have flowers that are too big and fluffy. Maybe it's not a hybrid at all, but is some OP variety.

Dang, I wish I had pictures! Better yet I wish I'd kept better track of that seed. Though if it was a hybrid I guess that wouldn't have helped, LOL!

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

Maybe Signet Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) 'Lemon Gem'? It has "fern-like" foliage and single blooms, however.

Or did the blooms resemble Signet Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) 'StarFire'?

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

If it is definitely a marigold, check through these pics to find which pic most closely resembles your plant:


Bretten, Germany

It's always difficult for me, to translate common plant names 1:1 , but I'm thinking, it's Tagetes, too.

Wikipedia says this:

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

True Marigold is Calendula; the others are imposters.


Fairborn, OH(Zone 8a)

"True" marigolds may be calendula, but the only thing *I've* ever seen referred to as marigolds are Tagetes. Calendula are calendula, at least where I come from.

In any case I am referring to some species of Tagetes.

This is driving me batfinks.

I shouldn't have described the flowers as "single", they're really not. They're just not the big puffy pompoms you see on a lot of hybrids. I'd try to describe it better but I don't know the difference between "button", "crested", "anemone", and "ruffled" which are all terms I've seen applied to describe Marigold flowers.

It's some variety of dwarf French Marigold that may tend to spread and has small yellow-gold flowers that aren't single but aren't as big and puffy as the ones I've seen described on the hybrids.

Barmera, Australia

I guess that this is the problem with common names, but I've always know Calendula as that and Tagetes as Marigolds.
There is a Tagetes X 'Minima' dwarf Marigold to 6". perhaps this is your plant.
Regards Brian

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

Calendula was called marigold centuries before Tagetes was ever discovered. Tagetes are not really marigolds.


Fairborn, OH(Zone 8a)

OK, I couldn't find Tagetes minima. There's an entry in the USDA plant database which seems to imply it exists, but the Garden Web forum says its not a real scientific name. In any case I couldn't find any seeds for something with that name.

But while I was looking for that I found something called Lemon Drop marigold that sounds like it might be close to what I'm looking for.

"Annual. Blooms from spring to first frost. 5" - 8" tall. Full sun. A cheerful must-have for every garden! Sunny 1" canary yellow flowers. Great in pots, planters, borders, and planted in mass. Try using as a ground cover. They are low-maintenance and reseed themselves. Lemon Drop Marigolds also add bright color to vegetable gardens without taking up a lot of room and attracts bees for pollination. Some drought tolerance when established."

Somewhere or other they were referred to as a "crested" type of flower.

I finally found a picture here:

They LOOK small. They don't look as cascade-y as the one I had in the hanging basket but maybe that's just because in the hanging basket it had nowhere to go but over the edge.

I don't know if it's the same thing but it seems worth a shot. I hypothesized that they were OP, these are. I'm looking for 1" flowers, these are supposed to be about that size. They're not quite as puffy as most "double" hybrid marigold blooms, though they look fuller than the one I had (which again might have been a function of being in the hanging basket, crowded and therefore slightly stunted maybe).

At any rate it's the best candidate I've been able to find so far. Nobody I'm buying seed from is selling them though so it looks like I'll HAVE to put an order in with Fedco after all (they're the only seed company I was considering that has them, Park doesn't, T&M doesn't, Burpee doesn't, Pinetree Gardens doesn't and I already sent that order anyway).

Tsk, tsk, what a shame. Might as well get that variety of eggplant I didn't see anywhere else while I'm at it. And some of those Dahlia seeds they didn't have at Park or Burpee. Since I HAVE to buy something from them anyway.

Fairborn, OH(Zone 8a)

"Calendula was called marigold centuries before Tagetes was ever discovered. Tagetes are not really marigolds."

Oh really?

"Despite being commonly called Pot Marigold, Calendula isn't a marigold at all; it is actually a member of the aster family (Asteraceae) which includes the daisy, sunflower, echinacea and dandelion amongst its brothers and sisters. It should not to be confused with French and African marigolds, which although members of the aster family, are actually members of the genus tagetes and not calendula."

That's from a UK based herbalist website. So even other Brits don't agree with you.

I hate to tell you this, but Calendula isn't even native to Great Britain. It's a Mediterranean plant. If you want to be a purist about it, you should go all the way back to the first Mediterranean tribe that stumbled across it and called it, in their strange-to-us-language undoubtedly comprised of clicks and grunts, something along the lines of "that-sun-color-flower".

While we're at it, Calendula were around LOOOONG before Christianity, yet you think the only "authentic" name for them is one based on Christian mythology?

Calendula has been called, in Great Britain, all of the following and I'm sure some I didn't come across because they're actually in Old or Middle English instead of modern English.

Summer's bride
bride of the sun
pot marigold
gold bloom
poor man's saffron
Husbandman's Dial
Mary Gowles
Oculis chrisi

My personal favorite is "Jackanapes-on-horsebacke".

I'm sure there are several dozen more in Welsh, Scottish, and Irish. In Spain it's called Calendula and several spanish version of some of the above. I have no idea what it's called in India but I'm willing to bet anything that whatever they call it there predates any of the English folknames, including "marigold".

Not only that, but even in Great Britain, "marigold" has been applied to SEVERAL different yellow flowers, including something known as "Marsh Marigold" which is apparently poisonous (and therefore hopefully not to be confused with Calendula, which is known as "pot marigold" because it's used in cooking and making tisanes).

Why do you think Calendula is still, to this day, called "Pot Marigold"? That became one of it's folknames to differentiate it from other flowers at the time which were also commonly referred to as "marigold".

Hate to tell you this, but language is an evolving beastie, and whether you like it or not, there are literally HUNDREDS of millions of people who now use the common name "Marigold" to refer primarily to Tagetes species, reserving the proper name of Calendula for Calendula officinalis. Oh yeah, and Tagetes and Calendula are both members of the Aster family anyway, so they're related. Sort of flower cousins. I think they can stand to share a common name as well as a common branch on the taxonomical system.

If you want to use only the CORRECT name for any plant or flower, you'd better stick to the Latin names and eschew all folknames (which is what "marigold" is, regardless of what species it is attached to). Hmmm, is that western-centric? Do they use the same taxonomy in India and China?.

In the meantime, the hundreds of millions of us who call Tagetes sp. "Marigold" (and btw even now there are a BUNCH of non-tagetes and non-calendula species that are called "marigold") will blithely go our way, regardless of your fruitless efforts to be the Word Police.

If you want to call Calendula "marigold" because that's what you're used to, go right ahead. Nobody's got a lock on the term "marigold". That's pretty clear from the number of different species of flowers that are commonly called "marigold". Including your Marsh Marigold.

This message was edited Feb 25, 2009 9:13 PM

San Antonio, TX(Zone 8b)

ZenSojourner, your above post demonstrates that you have completed a lot of research. Thanks for the information. Perhaps some seeds from the mother plants will sprout up and be true. At least, one can hope.

Northumberland, United Kingdom(Zone 9a)

The first attested use of marigold for any plant is for Calendula, in the 1300s (Oxford English Dictionary), 200 years or so before Tagetes were even known about in Europe. That makes Calendula the true marigold, which is what you stated your plant to be.


Fairborn, OH(Zone 8a)

My my my. In the first place, you're the only one who claims to have a lock on "true" marigold (which you do not, because there is no such thing, even in the UK there are other plants also referred to as "marigold" besides Calendula). But more important than that, I believe you totally miss the point, Resin. Nobody denies that Calendula was being called Marigold a long time ago.

The problem is that a whole lot of OTHER plants were ALSO being called Marigold back then (some still are), and all of those plants had plenty of other folk names as well.

Sorry, but you can't lay claim to a folk name. In case you hadn't noticed (and obviously you HAVEN'T), it is now the 21st century, not the 14th, and billions of people around the world now refer to Tagetes species as "marigold". It's a COMMON NAME and common names are as people use them. You can't change that. It would be like trying to force every English speaking person to revert to the spelling, usage, and pronunciations of the 14th century. You've got precious little chance of turning back the tide.

Folk names change over time and across regions. That's the nature of folk names. That's why we have taxonomy.

If you need to feel like you win, and apparently you do, I'll give you the win. Calendula was one of MANY plants that were being called marigold (among a dozen other names) before Europeans "discovered" the Americas, and hence Tagetes species.

Happy now?

And you have changed the usage of the word "marigold" = exactly not at all.

This message was edited Feb 26, 2009 4:34 PM

Fairborn, OH(Zone 8a)

BTW, I'm going to go ahead and mark this as "solved" even though I'm not sure it is. After all this research I've probably got the closest thing to what I'm looking for, at least until I can get hold of someone at Pinetree Gardens to ask what it was they had in their catalog a couple years ago.

Thanks to everyone for the help.

Anchorage, AK

I love Pinetree! You can afford to go crazy there. ;) I ordered seeds a long time ago for French Marigold Nema-Gone, I admit I don't recall the flower size but they were smaller. Burpee sells them. Just thought I'd throw it in because it isn't one you see a lot (or at least I hadn't when I first picked it up, maybe it is now) Here's the link:

Does that resemble it? Sounds like you had a bit more fluff in the middle of the flower. I imagine you're right about the plant trailing due to being in a hanging basket & trying to find space.

There are so many marigolds out there. I wish my Lemon Gem seeds would do better for me. I always purchase the plants. Anyone who has a reliable source for those seeds let me know. For some reason that's the only marigold I can't seem to get to germinate not matter where I buy it. ARGH! I have marigold envy for anyone who can easily master that one LOL!

Let us know if you find out for sure!

Surely you gardeners must know, any Marigold can be trained to trail, by bending, tying or placing a trailing plant behind it, thus forcing it to trail. Been growing them in my baskets a few years now.

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