Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Marigold, Mexican Mint Mexican Tarragon

Marigold, Mexican Mint Mexican Tarragon (2018) Tagetes lucida

1 1/2 ft x 1 1/2 ft Tarragon-flavored culinary herb; spreads over time; nectar source for butterflies; shear in early summer to encourage compactness

Give it full sun to part sun and water regularly until it’s established.  In summer, give it a weekly deep watering.

Getting only about 18” tall and wide, this compact perennial is perfect in small spaces. In fall, bright yellow marigold-like flowers attract migrating butterflies and other pollinators.

Usually it freezes to the ground in winter. Whether it does or not, shear back to the ground in late winter or early spring. Only the harshest of winters will kill it to the roots.

If flowers are left to seed, it can reseed but doesn’t go too far afield, making this repopulating characteristic a positive quality for most gardeners.

Mexican mint marigold’s leaves can be used for a variety of purposes. They make a wonderful licorishy tea when the leaves are steeped in hot water. Also use leaves to add an exotic taste to salads, sauces, fish and chicken dishes, vinegars, cookies, spice cakes, salad dressings, and ciders. 

Notes:  I purchased three of these in September 2018, so they are brand new. I did get a few surprising small blooms in late Otcober. In late March 2019, I am seeing some small leaves from one, a few green sprouts from another, and nothing from my third.  These are still only about 6 inches by 6 inches. I don't expect them to grow much this year, as they are still getting their roots established.

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