6 Ways To Use Marigold Flowers You May Not Have Thought Of
The well known and very common marigold flower of the gardening world is in the Tagetes family of plants. The 56 varieties of tagetes originated in the Americas, but are now been naturalized around the world.
Marigolds are an annual and so must be planted each year. In many cases, if left in the garden over the winter, they do reseed themselves. They are used throughout the garden but are mostly used for borders for their striking, vibrant colors. Marigolds come in orange, yellow, red, or a combination of all of them. Marigolds are tolerant plants, and thrive in just about any soil as long as it is well drained.
The seeds are collected when the flowers are wilted back. The seeds are dried and saved for next year’s planting season. The seeds can be dried right on the plant. Be sure that they are completely dry before storing in an old paper grocery bag or large envelope. Never store seeds in plastic as condensation can collect and spoil the seeds.
So how can these marigold flowers be used in ways you weren’t aware of?
1. Athletes Foot Powder
After picking the flowers, they can be dehydrated and then made into a powder. The powder can be mixed with slippery elm powder to help heal the pain and itch from athletes foot and other foot fungus. Sprinkle the powder onto the foot or into shoes. Be sure to get the powder between the toes and all areas that are infected. Use 3-4 times a day until the rash is gone. You can use the powder once a week afterward to help keep the athletes foot from returning.
2. Making an Anti-Fungal Tagetes Oil
Marigolds contain a number of key healing actions:
With these key healing properties, you can see why marigold is the best, and strongest anti-fungal you can use.
Tagetes antifungal oil is the best anti-fungal oil in nature. When the flower heads are infused into an oil, the resulting oil has all the medicinal benefits of the tagetes flower. This oil can be used to clear and heal toenail fungus as well as to treat fingernail infections. It is important to get the oil in, under, and around the nail for best healing. Using a dropper, place the oil on the infected area 4-5 times a day. This process might take a week or so, as foot fungus can be stubborn. Wrap the area if needed.
3. Marigolds Attract Beneficial Insects
Marigold flowers not only give you a beautiful garden, they attract bees and other needed insects for pollination into the garden. The intense brightly colored flowers attract bees with the bees feeding for hours on the plant nectar.
If you live in the city, or just don’t have any room for a garden, not to worry. Marigolds are easy to grow in a pot or planter.
4. Keep Mosquitoes and Garden Bugs Away
When designing your garden, be sure to include marigold flowers around your patio or terrace. By planting the marigold along the edge of a garden or in pots on your patio, it will discourage mosquitoes from hanging around. The flower gives off a very strong odor that insects don’t like. You can also burn the heads of the dried flower heads as a natural bug incense.
Since many undesirable bugs hate the smell of the tagetes flower heads, planting marigolds in and about your garden can keep unwanted garden pests out of your garden.
5. Fungal Infections of the Skin
Tagetes anti-fungal oil can be used in the treatment of any fungal skin infection. It can be used on bites, rashes, cuts, scrapes and other skin inflammations that are caused by a fungus. The tagetes anti-fungal oil can also be used in the treatment of candida (yeast infections). Simply place a few drops on the infected area 3-4 times a day until the symptoms are gone.
6. Keeping Deer Out of Your Garden
As with the bugs, deer also don’t like the smell of the marigold. By planting a sufficient row of flowers around your garden, your flowers and veggies should be safe from rabbit, deer, squirrels, mice and other wild creatures from wanting to eat your veggies. The pungent scent from the marigolds is very offensive to animals and they will want to stay clear. Be sure to plant some in and around your veggies so that the little buggers don’t sneak in. The more you plant, the safer your garden will be. The one thing that aggravates every gardener I know is having some wild creature take one bite out of every squash. They don’t understand they are suppose to eat the whole thing and not taste each and every plant.
When growing marigolds, we suggest that you buy organic heirloom seeds. These seeds can be saved each year and planted the following year without changing the flower. By doing this, you will never have to buy marigold seeds again.
As the seed heads dry in the garden, pick them and dry them. Be sure they are completely dry before storing them. When the seeds are dry store them in an envelope or a small box. This gives them some air flow. No air could mean mold. Store them in a cool, dry place over the winter. You can sort by color, or just mix them all in for a beautiful border next year. If sorting by color, be sure to mark the color on the package. Place the year on the envelope as well. For example: Marigold-2013-Mixed. You’ll know what year they were picked, and the color. They should be used the following year.
When planting the next spring, you can start them in pots, or plant right into the ground after the first frost. By planting right into the ground, your plants will become more hardy and last longer into the season. We plant ours into the ground in early may, and our marigolds last until mid October.
Cautions of Marigold
Those who are allergic to daisies should use with caution or avoid tagetes all together.
Due to the natural chemicals in marigolds, the herb can cause contact dermatitis is some individuals. Wear gloves when gardening if this is an issue.