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Agriculture > Ornamental Crops > Marigold

Marigold is a popular annual flower that could be grown on a commercial scale. It has gained popularity on account of its easy cultivation and wide adaptability. Free flowering habit, short duration to produce marketable flowers, wide spectrum of colour, shape, size and good keeping quality make marigold an acceptable commercial crop.

Marigold is normally cultivated in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh.

Marigold

Climate and soil

Marigold requires mild climate for luxuriant growth and flowering. The optimum temperature range for its profuse growth is 18-20°C. Temperatures above 35°C restrict the growth of the plants, which leads to reduction in flower size and number. In severe winter, plants and flowers are damaged by frost.

Marigold can be grown in a wide range of soils, as it is adapted in different soil types. French (Dwarf) marigolds are best cultivated in light soil whereas a rich well drained, moist soils are best suited for African (Tall) marigolds. Sandy loam soil with pH 5.6 to 6.5 is ideal for its cultivation.

Varieties

There are two species of marigold, namely, African marigold (Tagetes erecta) and French marigold (Tagetes patula). Inter-specific hybrids between these two species also have been evolved, which are known as Red and Gold hybrids. Varieties under this group are Nugget, Show Boat and Red Seven Star.

African marigold varieties

Apricot, Primrose, Sun Giant, Guinea Gold, Fiesta, Golden Yellow, Hawaii, Crown of Gold, Honey Comb, Cupid, Pusa Narangi Gaintha and Pusa Basanti Gaintha.

French marigold varieties

Rusty Red, Naughty, Marietta, Flame, Star of India and Harmony.

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Propagation

Seeds are used for raising the crop. Seedlings are prepared by sowing the seeds in the nursery beds as follows: Prepare nursery beds of 6 m length, 1.2 m width and 10-20 cm height. Apply 30 kg FYM along with 0.5 kg of 15:15:15 fertilizer mixture and mix them well in the soil. Sow the seeds in rows 7.5 cm apart. Cover the seeds with fine FYM and irrigate. The seedlings will be ready for transplanting within one month.

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Cultivation practices

For the main-field, the land should be ploughed well and FYM @ 20 t/ha should be incorporated to the soil. Apply a basal dose of fertilizers @ 112.5 kg N, 60 kg P2O5, and 60 kg K2O per ha. Transplant the seedlings at a spacing of 30 x 30 cm in case of French marigold and 45 x 45 cm in case of African marigold on one side of the ridge and irrigate. Topdress the crop with 112.5 kg N per ha at the time of pinching (30-45 days after transplanting) and earth up.

Irrigate once in 4-6 days depending upon soil moisture and weather conditions. Weeds have to be removed at monthly intervals.

Pinching is done to increase the total yield. It consists of removing terminal portion of the plant 30-45 days after transplanting.

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Plant protection

Pests

Aphids

These are small insects green to bluish-grey or black in colour. These usually occur in clusters and damage the apical growing portion by sucking the plant sap. Infected plants become weak and unproductive. Spraying of insecticides can control the attack.

Beetles and weevils

These cause damage to number of annuals including marigold. These feed on young leaves and tender shoots, particularly at the ground level.

Leaf hoppers

Leaf hoppers cause considerable damage to the foliage of the plant, particularly during rainy season. The symptom appears as rolling and curling of leaves along with wilting of shoots. French marigold is more susceptible than African type. Spraying of systemic insecticides can control the insects.

Control: the pest is effectively controlled by two to three sprayings of quinalphos (0.05%) as soon as the pest infestation is observed.

Red spider mites

These are spinning creatures, red and brown in colour. The mites become active during the flowering period. They suck the sap from the leaves. The speckling, discoloration and dusty appearance of the leaves easily identify the attack.

Control: Spraying of miticides like kelthane (2 ml/litre of water) or dicofol (0.1%) is effective against the mites.

Source: http://www.ficciagroindia.com/production-guidelines/flowers/Marigold/pests.htm

Diseases

Wilt and stem rot (Phytophthora cryptogea)

The fungus affects the collar portions of the plants. In nursery the infection results in damping-off and is aggravated by soil moisture. In the field the infected plants show wilting. French marigold and dwarf varieties are less susceptible whereas the African types are highly susceptible to the disease.

Control: The disease may be controlled by soil treatment with Captan, Mancozeb, Metalaxyl and Fosetyl-Al.

Collar rot (Phytophthora sp.; Pythium sp.)

The symptoms are in the form of black lesions developed on the main stem. Rotting at the collar regions causes death of the plant. Soil sterilization and controlled watering help in reducing the disease incidence.

Leaf spot and blight (Alternaria, Cercospora and Septoria sp.)

Brown necrotic spots develop on leaves, which get enlarged at the later stage of infection. The entire foliage gets damaged and results in poor vegetative growth. Spraying of fungicides is helpful in controlling the disease.

Powdery mildew (Oidium sp.; Leveillula taurica)

The symptoms are in the form of whitish powdery growth on the aerial parts of the plant.

Control: Spraying sulfex (3g/litre of water) can effectively control the disease.

Flower bud rot (Alternaria dianthi)

The fungus infects the young flower buds. The infected buds shrivel and become dark brown in colour. The pathogen also infects leaves causing blight. The infection is visible in the form of brown necrotic spots on margins and tips of older leaves.

Control: Spraying of mancozeb (2g/litre of water) effectively controls the flower bud and leaf infections.

Damping off (Pythium sp.)

The disease is most prevalent at the seedling stage. Necrotic spots and rings develop on the young seedlings causing collapse of the seedlings. Considerable loss is sustained if seedlings are not properly looked after.

Control: Soil sterilization by formalin @ 2% before sowing and spraying of dithane Z-78 @ 2g/ litre of water are effective in controlling the disease.

Source: http://www.ficciagroindia.com/production-guidelines/flowers/Marigold/diseases.htm

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Harvesting

Marigold flowers will be ready for harvest in about 2.5 months time from the date of transplanting. The plant continues to bear flowers for another 2-2.5 months from the date of first harvest. The flowers are harvested when they have attained full size. Harvest the flowers in the evening along with a portion of stalk. Field should be irrigated before plucking so that flowers keep well for longer period after harvest. Regular picking improves the yield. Fresh flowers are packed in bamboo baskets or gunny bags for transporting to the local markets.

Yield of French marigold will be 8-12 t/ha and that of African marigold 11-18 t/ha.

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