California Gardens - The Year Round Gardening Site

Tagetes lemmonii * Bush Marigold, Mexican Tarragon

Prior to seeing the Bush Marigold I had always thought that marigolds were these fluffy bedding plants in front of gas stations and shopping centers.  I was walking through the Huntington Gardens in San Marino around Thanksgiving and saw Tagetes lemmonii for the first time.  The genus Tagetes took on new meaning for me.  I located a couple of Tagetes lemmonii plants at a nursery and planted them about 2 feet back from the entrance to my yard on each side of the walk.  The plants were gorgeous but in a very short time they consumed the walk and put out a strong fragrance every time I walked through.   The scent stuck with me for awhile too.  This was fine so long as I was poking about the yard but rather unusual as a cologne.  I plant the Mexican Tarragon back a bit further from the walk now.  And I enjoy this fall blooming plant from mid summer through the first of the year or hard frost.  Tagetes lemmonii plants get about 6 feet in diameter and lose their foliage to frost at about 25° F. But they usually come back from temperatures dipping into the high teens. Tagetes lemonii is a great addition to the Butterfly Garden where it attracts the Dwarf Yellow Sulfur Butterflies Summer through frost.

Tagetes lemmonii 

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Last modified: November 24, 2014