Mexican Marigold Tagetes lucida
Commonly known as Mexican tarragon, Tagetes lucida is a perennial plant that boasts beautiful, narrow, oblong green leaves that give off a pleasant anise-like fragrance when crushed. The foliage tends to be dense and bushy, creating an attractive backdrop for the bright and cheerful yellow flowers that bloom in late summer and fall. The flowers are typically small but profuse, forming in clusters atop the stems and characterized by their golden-yellow color, which adds a vibrant pop to the plant's appearance. The petals have a delicate, somewhat marigold-like shape that gardeners often find appealing. Overall, Mexican tarragon presents a lush and colorful display that can brighten up garden spaces with both its aromatic leaves and showy flowers.
About this plant
Mexican Tarragon, Sweetscented Marigold, Mexican Mint Marigold, Spanish Tarragon, Texas Tarragon, Pericon, Yerbaniz, Sweet Mace, Winter Tarragon, Cloud Plant
Tagetes anethina, Tagetes florida, Tagetes gilletii, Tagetes lucida f. florida, Tagetes palmeri, Tagetes pineda, Tagetes schrankii, Tagetes seleri.
Color of leaves
2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)
1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters)
- General Benefits
- Culinary uses: Tagetes lucida, commonly known as Mexican tarragon, can be used as a spice due to its anise-like flavor and is often used in traditional Mexican dishes.
- Companion planting: Mexican tarragon can repel harmful insects and pests when planted alongside vegetables and ornamental plants.
- Aesthetic appeal: With its bright yellow to orange flowers, it can add beauty to gardens and landscapes.
- Traditional ceremonies: It has been used in Day of the Dead celebrations and other cultural rituals for its strong marigold-like scent and vibrant color.
- Herbal tea ingredient: Leaves of the plant can be dried and used to prepare a flavorful and aromatic tea.
- Medical Properties
- Antioxidant: Tagetes lucida is known for containing compounds with antioxidant properties that can help neutralize free radicals in the body.
- Sedative: Traditionally, it has been used for its mild sedative effects to calm the nerves and alleviate anxiety.
- Diuretic: The plant has been used to promote the production and flow of urine, aiding in the flushing of the urinary tract.
- Anti-fungal: It possesses anti-fungal properties that can help in the treatment of skin and fungal infections.
- Antispasmodic: Tagetes lucida may provide relief from spasms and cramps in the digestive system.
- Carminative: The plant can be used to help relieve flatulence and bloating by expelling gas from the stomach or intestines.
- Digestive Aid: It is traditionally used to stimulate appetite and improve digestion.
- Anxiolytic: May have mild effects in reducing anxiety, although this use is not supported by strong scientific evidence.
- Air-purifying Qualities
This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.
- Other Uses
- Tagetes lucida, commonly known as Mexican Tarragon, is traditionally used in Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations, where its flowers are a part of the decorations due to their vivid color and pleasant scent.
- The leaves are sometimes used as a flavoring agent in place of tarragon in cooking, lending a unique aromatic quality to dishes.
- In some cultures, Mexican Tarragon is utilized in textiles, where the flowers are employed to create a natural dye imparting a yellow or greenish color.
- It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in gardens for its bright blossoms and can be used in landscape design for its attractiveness to butterflies and other pollinators.
- Its intense aroma has been harnessed to repel insects in closets or dressers, where the dried leaves might be spread among clothes.
- The plant has been used in rituals by certain indigenous tribes in Mexico, who believe it has spiritual significance and enhances visions during spiritual ceremonies.
- Mexican Tarragon has played a role in companion planting strategies, where it is positioned near vegetables and fruits in attempts to deter pests naturally.
- The dried plant material can be brewed into a tea, which is enjoyed for its flavor similar to anise or licorice, without implying any medicinal effects.
- The petals of Mexican Marragon can be scattered on various dishes as an edible garnish, adding a splash of color and a hint of flavor to culinary presentations.
- It's used in the creation of perfumes or aromatic oils, capturing the essence of Mexican Tarragon in a form that can be worn on the skin or used to scent rooms.
- Feng Shui
Mexican marigold is not used in Feng Shui practice.
- Plant Symbolism
- Protection: Tagetes lucida, commonly known as Mexican Tarragon, is often associated with protection from evil spirits and negative energies. It has historically been used in rituals to create protective boundaries.
- Spiritual Guidance: Mexican Tarragon is used in Day of the Dead celebrations to guide the spirits of the deceased. It is believed the vibrant color and scent attract souls and help them find their way.
- Healing: Due to its medicinal properties, Mexican Tarragon symbolizes healing and well-being. It has been used as a remedy for various ailments in traditional folk medicine.
- Eternal Love: In some cultures, Mexican Tarragon represents eternal love, and is used in love spells or to honor a love that transcends time.
- Psychic Abilities: It is sometimes associated with enhancing psychic abilities and insight, likely due to its use in divinatory rituals and practices in indigenous cultures.
- Renewal: As a perennial herb that returns year after year, Mexican Tarragon can symbolize renewal and the cyclical nature of life.
- Cultural Heritage: As an important plant in Mexican culture, it represents a connection to heritage, tradition, and the value of ancestral knowledge.
Mexican Marigold should be watered moderately, providing enough water to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Typically, during the active growing season in spring and summer, water approximately once a week with roughly 16-24 ounces per plant, depending on the size and the weather conditions. In the fall and cooler months, reduce watering to every other week or less, allowing the top inch of the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot. Always check the soil moisture before watering to ensure the plant needs additional water.
Mexican Marigold thrives in full sun, flourishing best with at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Position it in a spot where it receives ample light throughout the day, such as a south or west-facing garden bed or window. If grown indoors, a sunny windowsill or a room with lots of natural light is ideal to meet its light requirements.
Mexican Marigold prefers warm temperatures and can handle up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit but does not tolerate cold well. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Protect it from frost, as it can be damaged or killed by temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pruning Mexican Marigold is important to encourage bushy growth and more blooms. Deadhead spent flowers regularly to promote continuous flowering and cut back any leggy stems by one-third to maintain a compact shape. Pruning is best done in the late spring or early summer but can be performed anytime excessive growth or spent blooms are observed.
Mexican Mint Marigold requires well-draining soil that is fertile and loamy. A mix of two parts potting soil, one part perlite or sand, and one part compost or well-rotted manure is ideal. The soil pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.0 for optimal growth.
Mexican Mint Marigold should be repotted annually or when it outgrows its current pot, which is usually evident when roots start to circle the pot or emerge from the drainage holes.
- Humidity & Misting
Mexican Mint Marigold thrives in average humidity conditions and does not require any special humidity considerations. It is quite adaptable and can tolerate the humidity levels typically found in most homes.
- Suitable locations
Place Mexican Mint Marigold in a sunny spot and ensure good air circulation.
Plant in full sun to partial shade in well-draining soil.
- Life cycle
Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida) begins its life cycle as a seed, which when sown and given the right conditions of warmth and moisture, will germinate. The seedling emerges with its first set of true leaves and continues to develop a root system while growing more leaves. As a juvenile plant, it focuses on vegetative growth, expanding both its root and shoot systems until it reaches maturity. Once mature, Mexican tarragon produces small yellow flowers usually in late summer to fall, which are both attractive to pollinators and capable of self-pollination. After pollination, the flowers develop into fruits containing seeds that, when mature, are dispersed by various means. The plant dies back in winter, especially in cooler climates, but can re-emerge from its roots or self-sown seeds the following growing season if the conditions are favorable.
Propogation: The most popular method for propagating Tagetes lucida, commonly known as Mexican tarragon, is by seed. To propagate by seed, begin by sowing seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last expected frost. The seeds should be lightly covered with soil as they need darkness to germinate. Maintain a soil temperature of about 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius) for optimal germination, which usually occurs within 5 to 14 days. Once the seedlings have developed a couple of sets of true leaves and the danger of frost has passed, they can be transplanted outdoors, spacing them about 8 to 18 inches (20 to 45 centimeters) apart in a sunny location with well-draining soil.