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We all have that plant that is like an old lost friend that we need to catch up with + Hawaii Tagetes erecta is mine..let me introduce you to her + you just might want to have her visit you this summer…she is a great companion!

Hawaii Targetes erecta from Baker Creek Seed mingling with others in the summer of 2011

Tagetes erecta or “Hawaii” as she is known by many  is an old friend I have not seen in a while. People often go through seasons in their life, change jobs, or move + then they look back at some old photos and think, “hmm.. I have not seen that person in a long time” I wonder what they are up to today.This beautiful tall and proud flower is what inspired me to explore flowers that are not normally grown locally. Most people grow Targets patula the popular french marigold, but these are not usually grown as often. You may find shorter hybrid versions, Hawaii is an open-pollinated Tagetes erecta that is useful in helping with pest control in your garden. + you can save your seed if you are growing her faraway enough from other Tagetes family members.

Hawaii is great for attracting insects to your garden. Insects were daily checking Tagetes erecta out…

Maybe it was Hawaii Tagetes Erecta had a great landing pad that invited others to stop by and stay awhile…

Bees  checked her out all the time zipping by for a quick visit and sometimes would linger…

Ailanthus webworm moth helps pollinate

Hawaii would surprise you by some of the most vibrant + colorful visitors that you would meet as you walked by her in the garden that year…

I remember that summer I planted Hawaii throughout our Urban Potager how people were stunned to see a tall marigold at eye level! Isn’t a great old friend someone who you remember! This is how I see this plant in the sustainable landscape. She just maneuvers throughout the landscape attracting attention where ever she goes, so people want to know her + I was proud that no one had a neat TALL marigold like Tagetes erecta. She is a plant people remember because she is not like any other.
What fascinated people most was that she was not near the ground , but closer to  their eye level!
She would open up slowly over a few days. I got this mix from Baker Creek Heirlooms that year, but they were a variety of larger + smaller petals. I wish I kept some seed from this mix that year, but I did not. I will have to hope that the mix I purchase this year will be the same. I wanted to save seed, but I had a variety of Tagetes in my yard, and these would not come true to type, but this year I might just do it to see what interesting combination I might get!
They do have VERY thick stems which you can see from the picture. You only need a few since they branch out with many blooms. They sometimes break if you have dogs as I do running through your beds at times!
Hawaiian Marigold 
Tagetes Erecta
25-36 inches tall
Full sun
space a foot apart
drought tolerant in my garden
They are tall so put them towards the back of the garden or mixed with other tall plants. I love them mixed with tall zinnias + cosmos. Since we have an urban potager, they will be growing with night shade vegetables this summer!

27 replies »

  1. Robbie, she sure is a beauty! And I love that she is taller than most marigolds. I’ve not seen this variety but you have inspired me to order seeds this year….I’ve got the perfect place in mind for her. Thanks! 🙂

    • That is perfect! She will be visiting your garden this year , and oh boy the pictures you can share on your blog…I have no doubt they will be beautiful as well as your lovely hillside garden:-) I can’t wait to see where the “perfect place is”:-)

  2. Beautiful! Really gorgeous pictures. I got the Harlequinn from Baker Creek, and some nasturtiums.

    • That will be fun to see in your garden, and do share when you grow that beauty! Harlequinn has two attributes I love in a flower– a single flower for pollinators + it is a beautiful RED + GOLD.. one of my favorite colors in the garden! I know I talk about how I love RED in the garden ALL the time:-)

      • Me toooooo…gimme red! hehe I got some Mexican “Red Torch” sunflowers. I can’t wait to see those.

      • I know I planted a whole bunch of red heirloom zinnas last year, but they were not all red. I had some jewle purple + dark pink colors. I liked the combination of their mix Red, DkPink + Deep Purple. I believe the person that saved seed had some crossing, but I really did not mind all the deep “colors”, so this year I will try with some new seed for my RED heirloom zinnas. “Red Torch” now that sounds pretty exciting!

  3. I have never heard of a metre high marigold before Robbie – but she sure is an eye catcher. And so good for our friends too. Thank you for another addition to my educational files! I’m beginning to think I need to start a garden notebook….. it will be full of wonderful things to plant when I have my garden that is bigger than a postage stamp 🙂

    • :-)I totally understand small spaces. I believe that is why I go back in my files and rediscover an old friend like this flower. I can’t grow them all at the same time, so I have to keep my “organized chaos” under control..or at least atempt to-lol

  4. Holy moly is she a looker! And really, they should hire you to write the blurbs describing the plants in the seed catalogs – I want to order these seeds right now!

    • lol:-)I have been trying to grow flowers in the past few years ( save seed too) that are open-pollinated + not designer hormone/chemically grown big box store flowers…that look great at the store, but fizzle out after you get them home. I have purchased many of those over the years to know they are all “fluff” and “no show” once you get them home!-lol..some of these old fashioned heirloom flowers are amazing!

      • They really are! I’ve never done too well with flowers and have found the best luck with anything close to a native/local wildflower. If they can go without water for at least a week in the summer and reseed themselves, they’ll probably survive 😉

      • I believe these are native to parts of America, but assume they were introduced many years ago from explorers. They will reseed in your climate,I believe, but not 100 percent sure.If you are green now that means you have mild winters…we don’t STILL in a deep freeze/winter till April—oh I need warm sunshine!

      • Our reseeding issues come most often either from seeds that need a freeze, or seeds that get confused and germinate in November only to die young and not go to seed again. I’ll have to see with these ones!

      • I learned they are very tall, so they worked best in my mixed border with tall cosmos + zinnias + Lord Baltimore:-) + they are well branched, so one plant fills in quite a bit!

    • thank you, Lrong. It is so good to hear your winter is not as brutal as ours this year:-)I bet marigolds against a light snow would be lovely/ even in the middle of a cold winter…this year is the worst we have seen in almost two decades! I usually love winter, but this below zero for weeks is crazy:-)

    • I really wish I could save seed from this one, but I also grow french marigolds in my yard + signets and they are all from the Tagetes family. I need to just save seed one year from all and see what I get:-) I know it won’t be true to the heirloom seed or types , but shoot, it sure would be interesting. It is how we got all our brassica varities-lol:-)

  5. I grew African Marigolds this past summer for the first time and was amazed at their “giantness!” I swore I would never plant them again because they took up so much room but boy, were they beautiful. You have made me want to plant them again – I just have to be smarter about where. They really are beautiful. So nice to see these sunny orange pictures on a snowy, snowy grey day!

    • Hi Kathy, Did you find they were visited by beneficial insects? I was a bit surprised, but I believe the ones that had centers /great landing pad were visted more often. I know you would notice if they were “visited” since you love bugs like I do-tee hee:-) And you know the names! I found one at Select seeds called “Kees Orange” by the plant breeder he grew before he passed away. It is a vibrant orange + I can’t find anywhere if they are open-pollinated. I have read they are a bit shorter, but I will find out this year, so I can compare–I love to see for myself:-) I have been trying to lift my spirits with not having much sun the past few weeks, but the sun is out today!

  6. Love the way you “revealed” the story of this not-so-ordinary & very hard-working flower! I tried (not that hard, I admit) to interweave marigolds into my vegetable patch one year and planted them too low–the bunnies (pretty sure) ate the tops off every one of ’em! My plan next year is to plant them higher up or in fenced areas. Not that the bunnies mind if I make a mistake, however… 😉

    • lol..they don’t mind mistakes:-) They do the worst to my yard in the early spring, I am learning to live with them and as the season goes on they prefer the clover in my grass to my vegetables:-)I know the bunnies are running in my yard NOW eating my poor dwarf fruit trees ( bark), berry bushes,so I had to wrap them around the base. I just wish they were not so darn cute!

  7. These are Beautiful Robbie. I’m going to try to find some to grow myself. I’ve never seen them before. I’ll check your seed source and see if I can get some seeds, soon! It’s getting time to be preparing for spring, at least in our minds… 😉

    • Check Baker Creek Seeds, they are in with the marigolds. I liked their mix. They are tall, so make sure you put them at the back:-)I know I am busy with seedlings and not much at my computer lately:-) Busy watering + moving seedlings.

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