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Products > Tagetes lemmonii
 
Tagetes lemmonii - Mexican Marigold
  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflowers)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Golden
Bloomtime: Fall/Winter
Height: 4-6 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Drought Tolerant: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Tagetes lemmonii (Mexican Marigold) - A bushy evergreen shrub that grows 4-6+ feet tall and spreading 6-10 feet wide. A strong fragrance from the finely divided foliage is released when rubbed or brushed against. Orange-yellow flowers in fall-winter with off bloom in other seasons - flowering is triggered by short day length so overcast weather can extend flowering in spring. Plant in sun or part shade in a well-drained soil. Drought tolerant in coastal gardens but looks best with a little irrigation - too much water or too little light produces leggy plants that don't bloom well. Frost tender to a hard frost but rebounds quickly and overall hardy to at least 18 F, which this plant experienced in our nursery in 1990. It can be cut back severely or even hedged but this may reduce or delay flowering - use care when pruning as some have reported this plant to cause a slight dermatitis. Tagetes lemmonii comes from southern Arizona south into northern Mexico where it grows in canyons at elevations between 4,000 and 8,000 feet and is known commonly as Mountain Marigold, Copper Canyon Daisy and Perennial Marigold. Some people enjoy the pungent aroma of this plant, likened to the scent of marigold mixed with lemon and mint, others find the smell quite displeasing and deer seem to completely leave this plant alone. This plant was discovered in southeastern Arizona, by the early plant collectors, self taught field botanists, and husband and wife, John (1832-1908) and Sara (1836 1923) Lemmon. These two incredible people met in Santa Barbara, California, where Sara Allen Plummer lived, in 1876 when she attended a lecture given by John, who at the time was the California State Board of Forestry Botanist. They married in 1880 and botanized throughout the southwest and in the process discovered over 150 new plants including an unknown species of Tagetes, from which they sent seed to Asa Gray at Harvard University, who then named the plant to honor them. Sara and John also climbed the highest mountain in the Catalina Mountains near Tucson, which is now called Mount Lemmon reportedly because Sara Lemmon was the first woman to climb it. Both authored books and articles which Sara often illustrated and she was instrumental in the efforts to name Eschscholzia californica as the official California State Flower, as it was done officially by Governor George Pardee in 1903. The Lemmons established plants of Tagetes lemmonii in their garden in Oakland, California and progeny of these plants were introduced to the nursery trade in southern California, and England by the early 1900's. We are thankful to John Bleck, UCSB Biology Department Living Collections Curator who introduced us to this plant in 1983 and we have grown it in our nursery ever since.  This description is based on our research and our observations of this plant growing in containers at our nursery, in our own garden and in other gardens. We always appreciate receiving feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or have additional cultural tips that would aid others growing Tagetes lemmonii .