Bringing marigolds inside for the winter

(Question)

IMG_1224I was given marigolds at a mother’s day event this year, and they have bloomed in outdoor soil. As an annual, do they just die, and need to be replaced with new seeds? Or do they grow again? Could I bring them inside for the winter? I live in West End Toronto, and the exposure to sun is the greatest in this spot. I have an old acquarium, but, that I thought of placing over the flowers for the winter outside, but would they survive?

(Answer)

The marigolds would not survive outside, either in the aquarium or the garden, as our winters are much too cold.  If you leave them outside to die, you could grow new plants from seeds, either by starting them indoors a few weeks before the last spring frost, or directly sowing them in the garden once the soil is warm enough.  Or, you could let someone else do the work and buy seedlings at the nursery or garden store.

Marigolds can be grown as houseplants, although they do have a bit of an odour that some people don’t appreciate.If you bring them in, the room should be cool, with temperatures between 50-60 degrees F (10-15 degrees C) Give the plants as much sun as possible, as they need lots of light to survive. You might want to consider using a grow light.

In any event, the marigolds will go dormant during the winter (and won’t look very pretty). Let the soil dry out between waterings, and don’t fertilize (as the plants are not actively growing). Come spring, move the plants to a warm, sunny spot and keep the soil constantly moist (not soggy). Start fertilizing.  You can put them outside once all danger of frost has passed.

Here are some helpful resources:

These include issues to consider, like pests, repotting, and acclimating the plants to their new environment.