Do you want to start a profitable marigold farming business? Here in this article, we intend to explore how to start marigold cultivation in open areas and poly houses. Also, the article will cover different production technology, variety, agroclimatic condition, plant protection, harvesting, and yield.
The scientific name of marigold is Tagetes. Marigold is an important traditional flower crop. Commercially, it is popular as the versatile crop with golden harvest’. Generally, less maintenance and a short harvesting period are the major reasons for the huge popularity of this flower.
Growing marigolds is comparatively easier than other commercial flowers. So, if you have land for flower farming, you can consider this business with a low startup investment.
Some of the major marigold-producing countries are South Africa, India, Brazil, and Australia. However, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Haryana, West Bengal are the major marigold producing states in India.
Marigold is popular with some other names. These are Caltha, Ganda, Gols bloom, Garden Marigold, Gold bloom, Holligold, Marybud, Pot Marigold, etc.
Is Marigold Farming Profitable?
First of all, the marigold is a very popular garden flower for ornamentation and look. Additionally, this is grown for loose flower purposes. Generally, most people use marigold flowers in garland making at social functions and religious offerings. Also, the flower has good export potential. Some of the major marigold exporting countries are Vietnam, Canada, Oman, China, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore.
The industrial applications include pigment and oil extraction. Additionally, this flower is highly suitable for herbaceous borders and bedding plants. Finally, the marigold plantation as intercrop reduces the population of the nematode.
Health Benefits of Marigold Flower
First of all, you can use marigold for stomach upset, ulcers, menstrual period problems, eye infections, inflammations, and wound healing.
Additionally, this is an antiseptic. The application of marigold leaves in the affected area brings relief in pain and swelling caused by a wasp or bee.
Internally it is used to treat bladder and kidney problems, blood in the urine, uterine bleeding, and many more.
Things to Consider in Starting Marigold Farming Business
Commercial marigold farming demands infrastructure and cost. So, you must have a proper financial plan for commercial plantations.
Like any other flower, the marigold is also a highly perishable flower. So, you need to sell the flowers immediately after harvest. Otherwise, you must have proper arrangements for storing the flowers in a protected environment.
Different Types of Marigold & Varieties
African Marigolds (Tagetes erecta L.):
These marigolds are generally tall, erect-growing plants up to three feet in height. Generally, the flowers are globe-shaped and large. Flowers may measure up to 12 cm across. African Marigolds are very good bedding plants. These flowers are yellow, lemon yellow, golden yellow, and orange and do not include red color marigolds. Important varieties are Pusa Narangi Gainda, Pusa Basanti Gainda, Cracker Jack, Climax, Yellow Supreme. Apollo, Moonshot, Golden -Age
French Marigolds (Tagetes patula L.):
The French marigolds are rapidly increasing in popularity. The plants are dwarf in nature, compact, and produce single or double blooms. Flower colors are red, rusty red, orange, tangerine, yellow, and bicolours or a combination of colors. Generally, French Marigolds are ideal for edging flower beds and in mass plantings. They also do well in containers and window boxes. Important varieties are Rusty Red, Petite series, Red Brocade, Danty Marietta, Hisar Beauty, and Hisar Jaffri-2218
Inter-Specific /Mule/Triploid Marigolds:
These marigolds are the sterile hybrids of tall African and dwarf French marigolds, hence known as mule Marigolds. The plants are intermediate in character i.e. medium-tall (60cm) with double flowers and a color combination of red to orange. Important varieties are Seven Star, Show Boat, and Nugget
Signet Marigolds (T. Signata ‘Pumila’):
The signet marigolds produce compact plants with finely divided, lacy foliage and clusters of small single flowers. They have yellow to orange colored, edible flowers. The foliage has a pleasant lemon fragrance. Signet marigolds are excellent plants for edging beds and in window boxes. Important varieties are Golden Gem, Lemon Gem, and Paprika.
Agroclimatic Condition for Marigold Farming
Marigold requires a mild climate for luxuriant growth and flowering. At high temperatures, the growth of the plant is affected besides reduction in flower size & number. In severe winter, plants and flowers are damaged by frost. The optimum growing temperature is 18.2°C at night.
Suitable Soil for Marigold Farming
Generally, you can grow marigold in any kind of soil. However, the well-drained and well-aerated soils are the most suitable. French marigold thrives best in light soil, whereas, rich, well-drained, moist soil suits African marigolds. The soil pH should be near to neutral in reaction (7.0-7.5). An ideal soil for marigolds is fertile sandy loam.
Basic Cultivation Basic Steps for Marigold Farming
You can propagate marigold in two ways. From seeds or by cuttings. When you raise the crop from seed, you will get a tall, vigorous and healthy bloomer. Therefore, seed propagation is the most preferred method over cuttings. However, you can follow the latter method for maintaining the purity of varieties
The marigold seeds are black in color & remain viable for about 1-2 years. For the raising of seedlings, you will need to sow the seeds in pots, seedboxes, or raised nursery beds. Prepare the nursery beds by digging the area and incorporating well rotten FYM. Before sowing the seeds, you will need to drench the soil should with Captan to avoid the ants, which carry away the seeds. Additionally, you must maintain a seed rate of 400 -600 g/ha.
You can transplant one-month-old seedlings with 3 -4 true leaves. However, you must avoid thin & long seedlings and too old seedlings. Transplanting should be done in well-prepared land and soil is pressed around the root zone to avoid air pockets. After planting, you must provide light irrigation. Spacing is an important aspect of transplantation. However, the spacing depends on the growth habit, cultivar, and soil type.
For deciding the fertilizer requirement, you must test the soil of your farm. Generally, Marigold doesn’t demand huge fertilization. However, you can apply farmyard manure at the time of land preparation. Sometimes, marigold requires zinc and boron for flower quality and yield.
Marigold needs regular weeding and hoeing, 3 -4 times during crop season to check weed growth and to keep them clean. Irrigate the crop in 7 -8 days intervals depending on the soil type, season, and weather conditions. In lighter soil, you will need to provide more frequent irrigations than that in heavy soil.
Actually, pinching is the removal of the terminal portion of the crop. In African marigold, you must provide pinching after 30-35 days of transplanting. This practice encourages the development of offside shoots and makes the plants more floriferous.
Actually, plant protection is an important activity that you must consider seriously. You must protect your marigold farm from harmful pests, insects, and diseases. Some of the most potential diseases are Damping-off, Flower bud rot, Leaf spot, and blight, etc. Additionally, red spider mites and hairy caterpillars are the most harmful insects for marigold farms.
Harvesting & Yield
Generally, you must pluck the flowers in cool hours of the day either in the morning or evening. Before plucking the flowers, you must irrigate the field so that flowers keep well for a longer period after harvest. Regular picking improves the yield. The yield highly depends on the cultivation practice, far management, and variety. With proper management and care, you can expect 125-150q/ha yield for African marigold and 80-120 q/ha for French marigold cultivation.
If you are in commercial marigold farming, then you must control diseases and pests. This article includes a list of important marigold pests and diseases. Additionally, how you can control pests, insects, and disease attacks with a complete plant protection guide.
Generally, Marigold is relatively free from diseases and insect pests. However, occasionally, you can observe the following diseases and insect- pests on the farm.
Potential & Harmful Diseases in Marigold Plant
#1. Damping-off (Pythium sp.)
The disease is most prevalent at the seedling stage. Necrotic spots and rings develop on the young seedlings causing a collapse of the seedlings. You can face a considerable loss if you do not properly look after the seedlings.
To control, you can apply soil sterilization by Formalin @ 2% before sowing and spraying of Dithane Z-78 @ 2g/ liter of water.
#2. Flower bud rot (Alternaria Dianthi):
The fungus infects the young flower buds. The infected buds shrivel and become dark brown in color. The pathogen also infects leaves causing blight. The infection is visible in the form of brown necrotic spots on the margins and tips of older leaves.
Spraying of Mancozeb (2g/ liter of water) effectively controls the flower bud and leaf infections.)
#3. Leaf spot &blight (Alternaria, Cercospora, and Septoria sp.)
Brown necrotic spots develop on leaves, which get enlarged at the later stage of infection. The entire foliage gets damaged and resulting in poor vegetative growth.
Spraying of Dithane M-45 @ 0.2% at regular intervals is helpful.
#4. Wilt and Stem Rot (Phytophthora Cryptogea)
The fungus affects the collar portions of the plants. In the nursery, the infection results in damping-off and is aggravated by soil moisture. In the field, the infected plants show wilting. French marigold and dwarf varieties are less susceptible whereas the African types are highly susceptible to the disease.
Generally, you can control the disease by soil treatment with Captan and Mancozeb
#5. Collar Rot (Phytophthora sp.; Pythium sp.)
The symptoms are in the form of black lesions developed on the main stem. Rotting at the collar regions causes the death of the plant.
Soil sterilization and controlled watering help in reducing disease incidence.
6. Powdery Mildew (Oidium sp.; Leveillula Taurica)
The symptoms are in the form of whitish powdery growth on the aerial parts of the plant.
Spraying Sulfex (3g/ liter of water) can effectively control the disease.
Marigold Pests & Insects Attacks & Control
#7. Red spider mite
These mites sometimes appear on the plants near flowering time. Plants give a dusty appearance.
Generally, you can control this by spraying Metasystox 25 SE/Rogor@ 1 ml /lit. of water.
#8. Hairy caterpillar
It is a polyphagous insect and the caterpillar eats away the foliage. You can control these caterpillars by spraying Thiodan 35 EC @ 1 ml/lit. of water.
In most cases, proper farm management helps to reduce marigold pests and disease attacks. However, after observing the attack you must take proper plant protection methods to minimize the loss.
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