Difference Between African Marigold and French Marigold

When you start growing marigolds, you will probably come across two types: African marigolds and French marigolds. African Marigolds feature large flower heads with double rows of petals 2-5 inches wide.

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Depending on the kind, they can reach a 1-4 feet height. French Marigolds are a smaller marigold cultivar that grows to around 8 inches in height. They come in various hues, such as orange, yellow, gold, and bicolor.

Key Takeaways

  1. African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) have larger flowers and taller plants than French marigolds (Tagetes patula).
  2. African marigolds have a more limited color range, primarily yellow and orange shades, while French marigolds offer a wider variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, and multi-colored patterns.
  3. French marigolds have a bushier growth habit and are more resistant to pests, while African marigolds have more upright growth and may be more susceptible to pests.

African Marigold vs French Marigold

African marigold plants are tall, with large double flowers that can grow up to 4 inches in diameter. They come in shades of yellow, orange, and red and have a pungent odor. French marigold plants are smaller, with single/double flowers that are smaller in size, usually about 2 inches in diameter.

African Marigold vs French Marigold

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African marigolds are drought resilient once grown and thrive in hot summer conditions. African marigolds are rather simple to grow and maintain, despite their exotic appearance.

These flowers are easy to grow, inexpensive, and have the added benefit of being edible! African marigolds are great for backyard gardeners who want to add a dash of color to their gardens but don’t have much money to spend on flowers.

French marigolds can be grown as a border along with your garden, as well as in pots and window boxes.

They are easy to grow and care for. Sunlight is important for these flowers, so they should be planted in an area that receives full sun during the day. These marigolds are available in yellow, orange, red, and a few bicolors.

They bloom from early summer to frost and tend to be less disease resistant than African marigolds.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAfrican MarigoldFrench Marigold
DefinitionAfrican marigolds are brightly colored kinds of huge sun-garden flowers.French marigolds are daisy-like plants with smaller blooms than African marigolds.
SizeThe blossoms of African marigolds are more significant, with a 5-inch diameter across the flower.The blooms of the French marigold are more minor, having a diameter of 2 inches.
SeasonBetween mid-summer till frost, African marigolds bloom.French marigolds bloom for a longer time than American marigolds, often from spring till frost.
PetalsAfrican marigold petals are not as frilled as French marigold petals.French marigold petals are frillier than African marigold petals.
ColourRed, yellow, and orange are some of the hues of African marigolds.French marigolds come in various colors, including yellow, gold, orange, and mahogany-red.

What is African Marigold?

African Marigold is a favorite of gardeners because they are easy to grow, display their blooms in large masses, and bloom over a long season. Plant African marigolds in full sun and well-drained soil. The flowers will not thrive in wet or moist soil conditions. 

African marigolds can tolerate dry conditions once established, but if the plant’s wilt, try watering them deeply to revive them.

In extremely hot weather, the leaves of African marigolds may curl under or roll up to protect the plant from the heat, but the plants should rebound once the temperatures cool again.

They are also low maintenance, requiring regular deadheading (removal of spent flowers) and weekly weeding.

African marigold plants love tropical climates and thrive in hot, humid weather. However, they can still survive in cooler temperatures as long as there is plenty of sunlight throughout the day.

Dark brown spots and leaves that turn yellow are signs that your African marigold isn’t getting enough sunlight. The soil should be well-drained and kept moist at all times for best results.

There are several different African marigolds available for purchase online or at your local garden center.

The most common one is the giant African marigold (Tagetes erecta), which grows up to three feet tall and features single blooms that grow up to four inches across long stems.

What is French Marigold?

French marigolds are smaller than African marigolds and have more blooms. The plants are bushier, too. In addition to growing in flower beds, French marigolds are often seen in containers, window boxes, and hanging baskets.

French marigolds grow from eight to 24 inches tall with two-inch diameter blooms. The plants are easy to grow, do well in hot weather, and tolerate both drought and poor soil conditions.

French marigolds need total sun exposure and moist but well-drained soil.

Plant French marigold seeds directly into the ground after the last frost of spring. Seeds germinate within 10 to 15 days under optimal conditions.

However, the roots will not germinate if the soil temperature is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or too wet. If you live in a cooler climate, start seeds indoors about four weeks before the last frost date for your area.

Because French marigolds prefer total sun exposure, choose a location that receives six to eight hours of sunlight each day.

If you’re planting the flowers along a fence or wall, allow 12 inches between each plant for good air circulation and prevent fungal diseases from developing on foliage that is too dense.

Main Differences Between African Marigold and French Marigold 

  1. African marigolds are large, vividly colored sun-garden flower that blooms in the summer. On the other hand, French marigolds look like daisies and have smaller flowers than African marigolds.
  2. The petals of African marigolds are less frilly than those of French marigolds.
  3. The colors of African marigolds include orange, yellow, and red. On the other hand, French marigolds is available in Red, orange, gold, and yellow.
  4. African marigold blossoms are more significant, measuring 5 inches across the flower, whereas French marigold blooms are more minor, measuring 2 inches across the flower.
  5. African marigolds bloom from late summer to early fall. In contrast to American marigolds, French marigolds bloom far more often, frequently from spring to winter.
Difference Between African Marigold and French Marigold
References
  1. https://www.indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor:joh&volume=8&issue=2&article=004
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15226514.2021.1985960
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