Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Red Gem’
Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Red Gem’ commonly known as Red Gem Marigold or Signet Marigold ‘Red Gem,’ belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is a hybrid variety derived from Tagetes tenuifolia, which is native to Central America, Mexico, and Peru. This annual herb has gained popularity for its vibrant flowers and low-maintenance nature. They also call it Red Gem Marigold, Signet Marigold ‘Red Gem’, American Saffron ‘Red Gem’, Slender Leaf Marigold ‘Red Gem’, Striped Mexican Marigold ‘Red Gem’, Lemon Gem ‘Red Gem’, Orange Gem, Lemon Marigold, Golden Marigold, or Tagetes signata.
Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Red Gem’ is a compact plant that reaches a height of approximately 12 inches (30 cm). The foliage is characterized by dark green, divided, or ferny leaves, which emit a pleasant fragrance when touched or brushed against. The flowers of ‘Red Gem’ are single and display a striking bright red or crimson color with a contrasting yellow center. These eye-catching blooms add a burst of color to the garden, and they continue to bloom from early summer until frost.
Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Red Gem’ is a delightful annual herb that combines beauty and ease of cultivation. Its compact size and attractive foliage make it suitable for borders, containers, or as a colorful addition to mixed flower beds. The fragrant leaves provide an additional sensory experience, releasing a pleasing scent when crushed. The bright red or crimson flowers with their prominent yellow centers create a visually captivating display, attracting attention from both humans and pollinators alike.
How to grow Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Red Gem’:
Sunlight and Shade: Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Red Gem’ thrives in full sun to partial shade. Provide it with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day for optimal growth and flowering. In hot climates, partial shade during the hottest part of the day can help prevent stress and scorching.
Soil Type and Moisture: Plant ‘Red Gem’ in average, well-draining soil that is evenly moist. While this marigold variety can tolerate different soil types, it prefers soil that is not overly rich or fertile. Avoid waterlogged conditions, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. Regular watering is necessary, especially during dry periods, to ensure the soil remains consistently moist.
Salt and Pollution Tolerance: Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Red Gem’ exhibits good tolerance to salt and pollution, making it suitable for coastal gardens or urban environments with higher levels of air pollution.
Deadheading and Pruning: To encourage continuous blooming, regularly deadhead the faded flowers by removing them from the plant. This practice redirects the plant’s energy towards producing new flowers, extending the flowering period.
Deer and Rabbit Tolerance: ‘Red Gem’ marigold is known for its deer and rabbit tolerance. However, in some cases, these animals may still nibble on the plants if alternative food sources are scarce. Take precautionary measures if wildlife damage is a concern in your area.
Pollinator Attraction: The vibrant flowers of Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Red Gem’ act as a magnet for butterflies and bees. By planting this marigold variety, you can contribute to creating a pollinator-friendly garden and supporting the local ecosystem.
‘Red Gem’ marigold can be easily propagated by seeds. Sow the seeds directly into the garden bed after the danger of frost has passed. Keep the soil consistently moist until germination occurs. Thin out the seedlings to provide adequate spacing for proper growth and development.
By following these care instructions, you can successfully grow Tagetes tenuifolia ‘Red Gem’ and enjoy its vibrant flowers and delightful fragrance throughout the summer season. Whether used as a border plant, container specimen, or as part of a mixed flower bed, ‘Red Gem’ marigold adds a splash of color and beauty to any garden setting.