About Marsh Marigold: Traditionally known as cowslips or kingcups, Marsh Marigolds often bring the first spring color to their native ground. They thrive in bogs and swamps, making a lovely addition to the edge of a pond or a wetland garden. “Marigold” comes from “Mary’s Gold,” since in medieval times this early spring flower was often offered to Mary during the Easter season. The Latin species name “palustris” means “of the swamp,” while the genus name “Caltha” comes from the Greek word for cup. Marsh Marigold has the distinction of being one of few native perennials to receive the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Marsh Marigold Germination: Direct sow the seed in late fall, planting it just below the surface and compacting the soil slightly. For spring planting, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 60 days before planting. To start the seed indoors, plant just below the surface of a flat; keep the temperature at 60-65 degrees F until germination, which should take place within several weeks. Keep the seedlings very wet until transplanting. Space the seedlings 12-15” apart in very wet soil. This plant adapts well to heavy clay soil, as well as tolerating a few inches of standing water.
Growing Marsh Marigold Seeds: Keep the soil very wet, since this plant dries up and goes dormant without moisture. Seedlings develop slowly, and may not flower until their second or third year after sprouting. When in an ideal environment, this plant will self-seed prolifically; it also spreads by rhizomes, and may form a native ground cover. Mature plants can be divided in early spring or fall. Marsh Marigold attracts butterflies and bees, as well as resisting deer.
Harvesting Marsh Marigold: For fresh flowers, cut the stems long and place them in water immediately. Keep in mind that this plant can be rather toxic, and may irritate the skin.
Saving Marsh Marigold Seeds: Each flower will ripen to a cluster of green prongs, which will open to reveal several seeds in each section. Remove the heads as soon as they split, to avoid losing the seed. Spread the heads out to dry away from direct sunlight. As soon as they dry, shake or crush them to remove the seed. Store the seed in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Marsh Marigold Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Kingcup Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Spring-Early Summer Height: 20-24 inches Spacing: 12-15 inches Light: Full Sun to Woodland Soil Moisture: Wet USDA Zone: 3a-11 Seeds Per Oz: 38,000 Produces a plant with 2-4” rounded, thick leaves with a toothed edge, and 1-2” bright yellow five-petaled flowers.