Native to Mexico, the Aztecs considered marigolds, (Nahuatl cempōhualxōchitl, Spanish Cempasúchil), to be sacred, and they were used in ceremonial rituals. Cempasúchil was especially tied to rituals regarding the goddess Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead. When Spaniards conquered Mexico, that tradition was blended with the Catholic tradition of All Saints’ Day to create Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) as we think of it today. The bright colors and strong fragrance of the flowers decorating the ofrenda (altar) act as a beacon to the loved ones who have left this world to help them find their way back to earth.

Caring for your Marigold (Tagetes erecta Orange)

  • Plant seeds in full OR partial sun, 12-16″ apart
  • Plant seeds 1/4″ deep in loosened soil OR a large barrel & use fingers to press soil down
  • Water gently
  • Seeds should sprout in 5-14 days
  • Plants will grow to be 3′ tall
  • Harvest flowers as they start to open, cutting stems to be 24-30″ long
  • Put cut stem into water immediately, flowers will last in vase 1 week