Marigold Problems

Question:

I cannot figure out why some of my Marigold plants thrive, and others don't. I've planted different varieties in different containers, in the same location, using the same planting mix and receiving the same care. Can you shed some insight into my problem?  

Answer:

  • There is no clear-cut answer to this question. If your plants were dying shortly after planting, I'd suspect that the water isn't reaching the main root ball.
    • In packs, Marigolds have a very dense root ball made up of white, fibrous roots. This is also typical of Pansies, Violas, and other annuals.
    • When transplanting them, the exposed roots need to be separated with your fingers, interrupting the circular/square/rectangular pattern of the root ballor it could be a combination of both of these points.
    • But first, be sure they have been watered before removing them from the tray or pack. When planted on the dry side, water rolls around and never penetrate the root ball because of the dense root mass and the loose potting soil.
    • The plants eventually die from the lack of moisture, even though the soil around them is wet.
    • With plants in one-gallon, five-gallon, and larger sizes, the alternative is to slice the root ball with a knife. If your plants were dying shortly after planting, I'd suspect that the water isn't reaching the main root ball. In packs, Marigolds have a very dense root ball made up of white, fibrous roots.
    • This is also typical with Pansies, Violas, and other annuals. When transplanting them, the exposed roots need to be separated with your fingers, interrupting the root ball's circular/square/rectangular pattern. But first, be sure they have been watered before they're removed from the tray or pack. When planted on the dry side, water rolls around the root-ball and never penetrate because of the dense root mass and the loose potting soil. The plants eventually die from the lack of moisture, even though the soil around them is wet.
  •  With plants in one-gallon, five-gallon, and larger sizes, the root ball is sliced with a knife. Water stress problems would show up right away, let's say in the first couple of weeks.
  • A prolonged growth pattern might indicate that there is a nutrient issue, as the roots are not expanding out into the native soil.
    • This can occur when reusing potting soil without rejuvenating it with some additional organic matter. Healthy plants require healthy soil, and it takes more than a standard fertilizer. So I'd look to feed or supplement your plants with a fertilizer that contains Mycorrhizae or liquid humus. Mycorrhizae fertilizers supply minor and micronutrients, trace minerals, and beneficial microbes to build a balanced, fertile soil.  Container plants lose nutrients every time you water, so they need to be replaced. In summary, water and nutrients would be the first areas to explore for an answer to your problem.