Marigolds growing! Should I pinch the buds?

Dianne King
by Dianne King

My marigold plants are growing. I heard that pinching the buds until Autumn will allow them to grow without killing the plant. Is this true?

  62 answers
  • William William on Jun 07, 2018

    Pinch the flower heads after the have wilted. This forces the plant to grow fuller and new flower buds

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jun 07, 2018

    Always pinch after the bloom has ended, you can then save the seeds from the dead bud for next year.

    • See 1 previous
    • B B on Sep 10, 2023

      I don’t know if this is too late to reply to your answer on how to grow more Marigolds with the pinched buds but here’s my reply…

      Once the flower dies on the plant I pinched it off and keep them inside out of the sun/rain bring it in the house and I let it dry out further for a few weeks and then I open the bud and the seeds are inside. Each bud has a lot of seeds, you could even wait til Spring to open and get the seeds out. I keep them over the winter on my porch which is closed in and it’s not heated and it also doesn’t freeze. I keep them in a plastic container, in the spring you can plant them. I would plant them early because it seems like it takes a while for them to actually start growing.

  • Joy30150932 Joy30150932 on Jun 07, 2018

    If you pinch the buds when they start to deteriorate then that is okay. More buds will come if you remove the old. This is usually good practice with any flowering plants.

  • Betty Betty on Jun 07, 2018

    I pinch after they bloom has ended .this year I take them to my tomatoes plants in the containers .I read on home talk the buds will keep pest away from the tomatoes plants .thought I would give it a try. .

  • Olive harte Olive harte on Jun 07, 2018

    I always allow mine to grow and seed and just take off the seeds and scatter them on the soil this way I have Marigolds all Sumer and up till November 1

  • Put chicken wire cloches over your marigolds at night to protect them from the bunnies and deer.

    • See 1 previous
    • Joy59726990 Joy59726990 on Jul 19, 2023

      I understand deer hate marigolds. I have planted many around other plants and it does seem to help. Another thing I find useful against deer are sage plants. They don't touch them and it seems to help keep them away for other plants. Still testing this part - of sage Keeping deer away but do know for a fact they do not eat them.

  • C.B. C.B. on May 07, 2017

    If you notice that the flower stem weakens & the flower falls over, it has too much moisture. The plant needs to dry out more between waterings. What's happening is that the plant gets too much water, the flower stem wilts, & the flower falls due to the inability to support the weight of the flower head...or the plant being in a draft or having been subjected to a sudden change from warm to cold will also do this [called 'dampening off']. If you have retained any of the flower heads, see if they have 'seed' in them, start new plants if they do have seeds.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on May 06, 2017

    Check to see if any insects are in the pots. Keep them in full sun, and do not let them dry out.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Jun 01, 2013
    Slugs will definitely eat marigold leaves. Do an examination by flashlight at night and see if you see them.
  • Marigolds are an annual, and for most annuals, sowing the seeds in spring or indoors a few weeks before the last frost is ideal. There are many annuals like petunias and impatiens that will sometime reseed themselves and come back every year. If it's brutal in the winter where you live, you should wait until spring. Good luck

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Sep 24, 2014

    I would wait until spring until all danger of frost has past to plant your marigolds. They grow very quickly, so you don't really need to start them ahead of time indoors.

  • Joanne lueke Joanne lueke on Jul 27, 2018

    Marigolds need full sun to produce blooms.

    • Joanne lueke Joanne lueke on Jul 27, 2018

      This is Oklahoma, west/south facing front yard, East facing backyard. I feel your pain lol!

  • E. Fisher E. Fisher on Jul 27, 2018

    Marigolds need full SUN. Try using a fertilizer for bedding plants and also check for slugs as they love to eat marigolds.

  • Kristi Kristi on Jul 27, 2018

    Cut back on your watering. Marigolds are extremely hardy, and are not particular about soil and do not need fertilizer of any kind to put on bloom. If a plant “thinks“ it’s going to die, it will bud and bloom to put on seed. They need at least half day‘s sun to set bud. It doesn’t matter which half, morning or afternoon. And overwatering will prevent this from happening.

    • Kristi Kristi on Aug 05, 2018

      And you should never water ANYTHING at night. It encourages fungal growth and slugs and snails. Soak the bed well in the morning not more than twice a week.

  • Ton10470755 Ton10470755 on Jul 27, 2018

    Again, dryish soil and full sun. Pull them and put them somewhere that gets sun. It's not the heat that makes them bloom - its actually the sun rays. When the blooms die, pull the heads and sprinkle them around wherever else you want them in dryish soil and full sun light. They need at least 6 hours of morning or afternoon sunlight.

    • Ton10470755 Ton10470755 on Jul 28, 2018

      You said sun in the morning, but how much? At least 6 hours? If not, pull them from the rest of your plants and replant them where it gets full sun.

  • Ron Ron on Aug 17, 2019

    pinch the tips off. that causes the plant to quit growing and start blooming.

  • Kimi Sharp Kimi Sharp on Mar 26, 2013
    I've found my marigolds will grow in almost any soil..
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Mar 27, 2013

    You can absolutely grow them in the soil in your garden. If you want to grow them in pots, it is always better to use a container mix than garden soil.

  • William William on Jul 13, 2018

    Yes, deadheading will promote more bloom growth. Otherwise you would get more foliage and limited or no blooms.

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Jul 14, 2018

    Yes. It's called "deadheading" and it encourages flowers to regrow. It also looks neater when the dead flower heads are removed.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on May 21, 2018

    They have to bloom to go to seed.

  • Kris Neumann Kris Neumann on May 22, 2018

    Marigolds are annual plants. You will need to replant them every year. It's possible they might reseed themselves, but usually they don't.

  • Sjt29229935 Sjt29229935 on May 22, 2018

    Sometimes you will find a few reseeds from the previous year but don't count on it. What did you do with your first batch of flowers? Did you let them reseed themselves or save the seeds? I haven't purchased marigolds since my first batch 30 years ago and have been been growing them from seed ever since.

    What you need to do is when the flower has dried, pinch it off just below the greem bulb below the flower where it joins the stem. The seeds can be found in the green part under the dried flower petals. Pull the dried petals off and some seeds may come out with the petals. I usually open the green bulb and you will find a ton of small seeds. They look like tiny needles. Two or three flowers will give you hundreds of seeds. Spread them on a tray and let them dry out in a garage or inside for a few days then put them in ziplock bags. If you don't allow the moisture to evaporate, they will mold in the bag over the winter. Then simply label and toss the bag on a shelf until next spring. You can divide them according to color if you want to keep seperate patches of color. When the weather warms in the spring, sprinkle the seeds on slightly roughed up ground and cover lightly with dirt. I usually plant them 1/2 - 1 inch deep tops. It should be shallow. All you have to do is water lightly and wait. You will have a million marigolds soon. I have replanted seeds the same year if you want a second crop. They are the easiest flowers to save I have ever seen.

    Have to tell you a quick story about my neighbor years ago. He always admired my prolific patches of marigolds, so I gave him a bag of seeds one year. In the spring, he came over and asked me which end of the seed should be planted up and how far apart. :-> I thought that was so cute and it gave me a giggle for the day. All I ever do is toss them on the ground whichever they land in any pattern that fits that area of the garden and say, "Grow dang it." And by gosh they do. I have done rows and patches depending on the garden design area. Enjoy and good luck with yours!

  • You could try and bring them indoors in the winter. I save the seeds and plant them the next spring.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Nov 04, 2018

    I always kept seeds from mine in the winter and planted them the next year. You could try bringing them in, but they would need good light, perhaps a grow light to keep them going without the sunlight they received when they were outside.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Apr 14, 2018

    you cannot sow seeds directly in the ground unless all possibility of frost is gone

  • Joy30150932 Joy30150932 on Apr 15, 2018

    Marigolds usually pop up from seed within a week or so, so you can either wait to see where the bare spots are or over seed and then thin if necessary.

  • Deanna Nassar Deanna Nassar on Sep 30, 2018

    Gather the dry flower heads and place in paper bag, store in dry, dark place.

  • Zard Pocleeb Zard Pocleeb on Sep 30, 2018

    My mother used to lay them out on a sheet of newspaper to dry real good. When they were dried sufficiently they went into a paper bag until spring.

  • Nancy Hawley Nancy Hawley on Sep 30, 2018

    Just harvest the dried seeds from the flowers and put in plastic baggies or small jars and label.

  • OceeB OceeB on Jul 21, 2018

    Marigolds are pretty hardy little rascals. They should do okay in both. I read that Marigolds are tolerant of poor soil, but it must be well-drained and if amending it with organic matter, like manure, will give the plants a head start.

    You could try breaking the ground up where you are going to plant them to about a 12 inch depth and mix good garden soil, some perlite, and peat moss into break the soil up and give some nutrients. Start composting adding egg shells etc when you think about it too. Coffee grounds are supposed to be good but do not know about the acidity (would need to read up)

    They are especially good in the garden

  • Cheryl Gillman Cheryl Gillman on Jul 21, 2018

    I have 2 marigolds in my front garden and the soil is awful, full of rocks etc, I just dug a hole, put some good potting soil in the hole first then put the marigolds in and filled the rest in with the good soil and they be been thriving since planted :)

  • Caitlin Caitlin on Sep 18, 2017

    With any seed storage, you want to keep them in a dry container and away from sunlight. I normally store seeds in a mason jar if I have a lot and in a cabinet.

  • Hb Hb on Sep 18, 2017

    seeds can be safely stored in either paper envelopes or little plastic baggies labeled and put in the door of your fridge or in the crisper .You must make sure that they are well dried otherwise you run the risk of mold forming and destroying the seeds. I always leave my seeds heads to dry in the house for at least a week then harvest the seeds and let sit for another week . Then pop them into the envelopes and/or baggies and pop in the fridge.I collect a lot of seeds so the little envelopes or baggies go inside a larger sandwich bag so that they are not all over the place .

  • Roxaneg Roxaneg on Sep 18, 2017

    After collecting the dried flowers, open the pods and remove the seeds. Set them out on a paper towel to dry in a cool, dry location. Once dry, store in an envelope to prevent them from molding or rotting. Keep in mind that if you have hybridized marigolds that the seeds won't give you a clone of the original plant.

  • Little Sprouts Learning Little Sprouts Learning on May 15, 2019

    It takes 3-10 days for marigold seeds to come up in pots

  • Janice Janice on Feb 16, 2022

    Pinching off the old blooms will encourage more blooms to appear until the cool weather ends the cycle. You can gather the seeds for planting next spring!

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Mar 22, 2022

    Pinch the flower heads after the have wilted. This forces the plant to grow fuller and thicker and set new flower buds.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Mar 31, 2022

    i would just pinch top

  • Angela Durham Leathers Angela Durham Leathers on Apr 15, 2022

    You can definitely pinch them back and it will help them to grow. Also, pinch the buds after they start to die and save for seed. These need at least 6 hrs of full sun to flourish. Good luck.

  • Mary Mary on Apr 23, 2022

    Once flowers have died or faded you can pinch them out. (Dead heading) and this stops any needless energy going to what is already dying and cant be sent to make new buds, hence new flowers. Continue doing this until flowering season is over. You can dry out seeds for next year or let them drop and they will scatter themselves once dry for new plants.

  • Pinch the blooms after they are spent, but save them. Let them dry and save the seeds for planting next year.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Apr 30, 2022

    yes it is what i heard too

  • Cathy Cathy on May 16, 2022

    Get rid of crabgrass?

  • K9 K9 on Jul 02, 2022

    Yes deadhead marigolds & other flowers. In the 70's & thru early 90's, (when my grandmother passed away) we always planted marigolds around her tomato plants. I have been replanting her seeds every year since! Make sure they are totally dried out if you store them in a baggie. Dampness ruined some of my seeds years ago. But I'm learning more about gardening from my lovely 76 yr old neighbor! (She's a doll!) I had cherry tomatoes up until Feb '22! My 3 mandevilla plants came back this spring & are climbing up last years vines. Plus, I had 2 a sago (?) palms- 1 was brown & dried up. I almost through it away, but my friend told me to replant them together in a different spot. I did & it grew bigger than the healthy one!! I cover those in the winter with a bucket & it's like a sauna & they love it! Learning to garden at 60! ⚘❤ And it's therapy for me- I love it!

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Sep 19, 2022

    Yes, pinch off the blooms as they die off and collect the seeds from them! Your plants should grow thicker and be hardier and bloom more!

  • Mogie Mogie on Sep 20, 2022

    My Grandma used to dead head the old blooms (pinch them off).

    Her reasoning was logical redirect that energy to the healthy plant by removing dead or dying blooms.

  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 11, 2022

    Always deadhead or remove spent blooms after they are done blooming. Just pinch them off or if the stem is too thick snip it.

  • Mogie Mogie on May 06, 2023

    The first and overwhelmingly large majority will say that, yes, you absolutely should deadhead. This is because marigolds don't respond very positively to fertilizers – they tend to get leggy and flop over – so it is the best and easiest way to ensure strong and consistent blooms.

  • Gary Viveiros Gary Viveiros on May 17, 2023

    Pinch the buds after they bloom and save the dry petals to make a nice anti-inflammatory tea with.

  • Mogie Mogie on May 18, 2023

    Yes you can pinch them back but wait until the bloom is done.

  • I'm a big fan of deadheading, I do it all season and the flowers seem to multiply.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jun 02, 2023

    Deadheading your marigolds regularly will ensure you have tight, bushy plants that look excellent year round. You will have a tidier garden the following year because none of your marigolds went to seed, and you'll have nonstop blooms throughout the season for the cost of a few minutes a day of garden maintenance.

  • Abigailwinegar Abigailwinegar on Jun 28, 2023

    My answer is different from the others. I had a garden and design business for many years and we always pinched the new buds from the plants when we first planted them. That way the plant's energy could go to the fledgling roots rather than the bloom. I found that we got way more blooms all summer. Deadheading is a must, of course, once the flowers began to fade and die.

  • BonDiva BonDiva on Jul 11, 2023

    Thank you Abigail. I moved to a place where I cannot grow and plant anything anymore( I let my red onions sprout up so I have fresh green baby onion shoots to cook with AND my kitty does not ever try to eat those.)

    I will certainly pass your advice alone on my other Social Media, it is totally logical and so helpful!

  • Dee Dee on Jul 21, 2023

    Marigold is one plant that benefits from pinching when young. This practice results in a compact, bushy shape and more flowers

  • Janice Janice on Sep 22, 2023

    Yes, pinch off after the bloom has slightly dried. That encourages a bushier plant with even more blooms!

  • Mogie Mogie on Sep 22, 2023

    Here is a site where they actually did several experiments regarding pinching marigold buds:

    ​Louisiana Results from the Marigold Cut flower Pinch Trial

  • Kpas6185 Kpas6185 on Nov 15, 2023


  • Mogie Mogie on Nov 15, 2023

    Pinching helps marigolds bush out, rather than sending only one shoot up. Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch off the top growing tip of the plant. Deadheading is removing the flowers that have died. This forces the plant to keep blooming, rather than focusing on seed production.

  • Annie Annie on Jan 29, 2024

    Here's a video that could help:

  • Annie Annie on Apr 26, 2024