How to Deadhead Marigolds (3 Easy Steps)

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One of summer’s all-star flowers, marigolds truly shine in the backyard garden. They offer tons of benefits and add beautiful color to boot. Did you know – learning how to deadhead marigolds can give you even more beautiful flowers to enjoy this growing season?!

I’m going to help you discover how to deadhead marigolds in just a few very simple steps. Even your kids will love helping with this fun task!

Hand removing deadhead marigold seed head from yellow flower
Learning How to Deadhead Marigolds is easy once you can identify the spent blossoms to remove!

Marigolds take me back to my youth when my mother would grow them in our small-town country garden. She used them as a perimeter crop. (And still does!) I learned how to deadhead marigolds when it was time to collect seeds, and I loved it.

I enjoyed planting seeds and collecting seeds ever since I was a little girl. Now, in my adulthood, I love even more watching my own little girls as they enjoy so many aspects of gardening.

But I digress! That’s easy to do with gardening on the brain!

Now is a great time to focus on removing spent marigold blooms to encourage even more flowers.

(Do you already know all about deadheading? If not, check out our post on What Is Deadheading?)

Deadhead Marigolds - Beautiful Summer Flower Vase with Orange Marigold, Pink Zinnia, Dwarf Sunflower
Learning How to Deadhead Marigolds is easy once you can identify the spent blossoms to remove!

Should You Deadhead Marigolds?

Are you thinking, should I deadhead marigolds? If so, you aren’t alone. I always have the best intentions for my garden, but the truth is, I don’t always have all the time. Marigolds will produce seeds readily in the blooms you don’t deadhead.

However, you’ll enjoy more blooms throughout the growing season if you make a regular effort at deadheading marigolds. You’ll find a number of benefits of deadheading marigolds.

Benefits of Deadheading Marigolds

Marigolds are such a fun and forgiving flower to grow. They’re said to help pest-proof your garden.

They add beautiful pops of color to the yard and garden areas. You can even harvest some of your marigolds for fresh-cut flowers.

Large Tray of Yellow Marigolds for Sale, Little Girl Sniffing Flowers
Here’s my youngest stopping to smell the flowers! (2019 – Oh my heart!)

Taking care of marigolds is easy. You can water on hot and dry days but the flowers will by and large forgive you if you forget here and there.

If you’re still wondering, do I deadhead marigolds, here are some reasons in favor of doing so:

  • More blooms to enjoy! Deadheading marigolds sends a signal to the plant to keep producing more flowers.
  • Longer bloom season! Not only will you enjoy more flowers, your marigolds will remain focused on flower production rather than starting to switch to seed focus.
  • A tidier garden! Trimming back deadheads from marigolds makes your garden look neater and cleaner. Faded blooms and small brown areas give way to new blooms and lush greenery.
  • Control seed spread! If you don’t want your plants to reseed themselves, deadheading is generally effective in preventing self-seeding.

Like deadheading sunflowers, marigold flowers also work well with a regular routine of removing spent blooms.

Hand holding marigold deadheads from Strawberry Blonde marigold plant
Lots of marigold deadheads from our Strawberry Blonde marigold plant in our 2022 garden!

How to Deadhead Marigolds

Learning how to deadhead marigold flowers gives you more flexibility in your garden! You can let marigolds go to seed or snip them to encourage even more blooms.

It’s very easy to deadhead marigolds – here’s how!

  1. CUT – Use scissors or your favorite snips to snip off the spent marigold blooms above the first set of leaves. Alternatively, you can also pinch off the dead heads.
  2. PRUNE – Prune back any other unsightly foliage or spent blooms.
  3. DISCARD – Discard your yard waste as appropriate. You may wish to avoid composting marigold seed heads. If the mature seeds survive, volunteer marigolds may populate any garden spaces that make use of your compost!

Even your children can help with this fun garden task!

When Should Marigolds Be Deadheaded

The first signs of marigolds ready to be deadheaded may include wilted flowers, crumpled petals, browning, or a general appearance of faded beauty.

Orange Marigold and Yellow Marigolds for Sale at Produce Junction

Of course, if you deadhead marigolds too late, you’ll get seeds anyway. If you deadhead early and often, you may not get seeds at all.

When it comes to knowing when marigolds should be deadheaded, it’s more flexible than you might expect. In fact, some gardeners advise working on a schedule. Plan to deadhead marigolds once per week if it works for you.

If you’d like to harvest marigold seeds, consider deadheading marigolds throughout much of the growing season and then stopping a month or so before the first expected frost.

This timing should allow some of your marigold blooms to go to seed so that you can grow more and share seeds for next season!

Annual Flowers Marigolds for Sale - Yellow Marigold Packs / Flats on Trays

How Do You Deadhead Marigolds When You’re Really Busy Already?!

With lots of garden tasks already on the list, deadheading marigolds may not be a priority. You can easily tackle this with a few simple tricks. First, snip off the spent blooms when you’re cutting any fresh flowers for bouquets. Alternatively, recruit help.

I simply let my daughters tackle the task. They have so much fun collecting the marigold seed pods, snipping them with their little kid safety scissors. I am in the garden doing mommy gardening things and I let them cut flowers for our friends and neighbors or harvest the seed pods.

Colorful marigolds with spent blooms
These marigolds need some deadheading!

Final Thoughts: Do Marigolds Need to Be Deadheaded?

The question of the day – do marigolds need deadheading? The truth is, your garden will probably do just fine without the deadheading.

However, you have a lot to gain if you do find the time. Your gardens could be even more attractive if you do deadhead your marigolds. The extra blooms would certainly be a worthwhile benefit as well!

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So, do you deadhead marigolds or do you let them grow out in all their glory? How do you deadhead marigolds in your garden? Let us know in the comments below!

09.20.22 – Edited to add more photos of deadheading marigolds for instructional value. Replaced older pics with full-size versions. Added recommended seeds.

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