Marigolds: Rich Symbolism & More
About the Flower
One of the most popular annual flowers worldwide, marigolds are admired for their cheery, bright blossoms that add color to any home or occasion. Marigolds are a member of the Asteraceae family alongside sunflowers, daisies and aster. A species of the genus Tagetes that is native to Mexico, this herbaceous annual and sometimes perennial plant will typically reach a height ranging between 30-110 cm tall. Marigold flowers may grow grouped in small heads or solitary on straight stems. Their round heads have a fluffy appearance and brightly colored carnation-like petals.
Care & Purchasing
Select cut flowers that are 75% to fully open, but before the bottom petals show any signs of wilting or sagging. Choose strong, sturdy stems and avoid foliage with yellow spots, as this could be a sign of iron toxicity, or any general diseases. Many dislike the scent of marigolds, but the odor does not actually come from the flower! To get rid of any unwanted odors, simply remove all the foliage and enjoy these beautiful blooms without any lingering scents.
Native to the Americas, the flower’s valuable symbolism can be attributed to their predominant representation during cultural celebrations across the world including Día de los Muertos in Mexico and Diwali in India. The flower’s main role and rich history in cultural celebrations, along with its vibrant autumnal hues, has increased its popularity during the fall months.
Dia de los Muertos
Originating in Mexico, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) honors the lives of friends and family who have passed on. The celebration takes place on the first and second day of November, when gravesites are adorned and altars are assembled in private homes. Here, families create ofrendas, or offerings, that consist of personal mementos, food, drink and various flowers. Often considered a sacred flower with rich Aztec symbolism, marigolds became the key player in most Day of the Dead celebrations due to the belief that their vibrant colors and pungent fragrance could guide spirits to their living loved ones.
Diwali, known as The Festival of Lights, is a five-day celebration that marks the first day of the Hindu New Year. During this time, marigolds serve as offerings to the gods and are typically incorporated into the elaborate home decor used for the holiday’s festivities. The flower’s distinct fragrance—although not loved by all—can actually help improve one’s mood and ward off stress. Their bright, cheerful colors are also considered auspicious for new beginnings, which is especially fitting for a holiday that marks the beginning of a new year.
A textural wonder in bright, punchy hues, marigolds are the perfect addition to fall centerpieces and floral decor. Their distinctive shades of orange and yellow create a harmonious color story that pairs seamlessly with many of the seasonal floral staples, such as bronze cremons, cushion poms and fruitful hypericum. To complete the look, opt for a minimalist container with subtle odes to the season’s bountiful harvest.