Do Marigolds Come Back? A Comprehensive Analysis

Marigolds, with their brilliant gold, orange, and red blooms, have been cherished by gardeners for their beauty and resilience. These flowers are not just visually appealing but are also known to offer pest-repelling properties. But a common question on the minds of many gardeners is whether marigolds are perennials or annuals. Simply put, do they come back year after year?

Marigolds, depending on the variety, can be either annuals or perennials. While some may reseed under the right conditions, others might need replanting each year.

Do marigolds come back every year?

Marigolds primarily belong to the category of annual plants, meaning they complete their life cycle in one growing season. They sprout, flower, set seeds, and then die within a year. However, under the right conditions, some marigold varieties can reseed themselves, giving the impression that they come back every year.

In temperate climates where winters are mild, marigolds may sometimes behave more like perennials. This means they might return for more than one season, especially if they are protected from harsh conditions. However, it’s essential to differentiate between the plant regrowing from its roots and new plants growing from dropped seeds.

When planting marigolds, gardeners can encourage reseeding by leaving some faded blooms on the plants towards the end of the season. This allows the seeds to mature and fall to the ground, potentially leading to new plants the following spring.

Do marigolds come back in winter?

Marigolds are sensitive to frost and cold temperatures. In areas with harsh winters, marigolds will not survive outdoors. They are not winter-hardy and will die with the first frost.

For those looking to extend the life of their marigold plants, they can consider moving potted marigolds indoors during the winter months. Ensure they receive ample sunlight, and keep them in a well-draining soil mix. Alternatively, gardeners can collect seeds from mature marigolds in the fall and store them for planting in the spring.

It’s also worth noting that in regions with milder winters, marigold seeds that have dropped to the ground may germinate and sprout when conditions become favorable in the spring.

Do marigolds come back after flowering?

Once a marigold plant has flowered, it can continue to produce blooms throughout its growing season, provided it’s cared for properly. Deadheading, or the removal of spent flowers, can encourage the plant to produce more blooms.

When a marigold completes its flowering phase and starts producing seeds, the plant focuses its energy on seed production rather than flowering. By removing spent flowers, gardeners redirect the plant’s energy back to bloom production.

While the individual plant won’t come back after its life cycle ends, the seeds produced can lead to new plants if they find suitable conditions. As mentioned earlier, allowing some mature flowers to go to seed can potentially lead to new marigold plants in the subsequent growing season.

Do marigolds come back in the fall?

Marigolds are warm-season plants that thrive in the spring and summer. By fall, they are often nearing the end of their life cycle, especially in regions where frosts begin in early to mid-fall. While they won’t come back in the same season after dying, the seeds they drop might germinate the following spring.

To increase the chances of marigolds returning, ensure that some flowers are left to mature and produce seeds. As temperatures drop, these seeds fall to the ground, lying dormant through the winter, and sprouting when conditions are right in spring.

However, in regions where fall is mild and winter is delayed, marigolds might continue to bloom well into the fall season, especially if they are protected from any unexpected early frosts.

Do French marigolds come back every year?

French marigolds (Tagetes patula) are a popular variety known for their smaller stature and intricately patterned flowers. Like other marigolds, French marigolds are primarily annuals. They thrive in one growing season, producing a profusion of blooms before setting seeds and dying off.

In regions with mild winters, French marigolds may drop seeds that germinate the following spring. To increase the chances of this happening, gardeners should leave some flowers to mature fully, allowing them to produce and drop seeds.

However, it’s important to note that in regions with harsh winters, even if seeds are dropped, they might not survive the cold. In such cases, gardeners may need to replant French marigolds each year for a consistent display.

Do African marigolds come back every year?

African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) are another popular variety, boasting larger blooms and a taller growth habit compared to their French counterparts. Just like French marigolds, African marigolds are annuals in most regions.

Given the right conditions, especially in milder climates, African marigolds can drop seeds that result in new plants the following spring. Gardeners looking to have these marigolds return should allow some of the flowers to set and drop seeds towards the end of the growing season.

However, in areas with cold winters, even the dropped seeds may not survive. Therefore, gardeners in such regions should consider collecting and storing seeds for planting or plan on purchasing new seeds or seedlings each spring.


Marigolds, be it French, African, or other varieties, primarily behave as annuals in most regions. While the plants themselves may not return year after year, they can drop seeds that germinate and grow into new plants the next season, given the right conditions. Gardeners looking to have a consistent display of marigolds should be prepared to plant them annually or assist in their reseeding process. Regardless of the effort, the vibrant colors and benefits of marigolds make them a worthy addition to any garden.