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Sweet Marigold, Licorice

Short Description

Heirloom herb in the marigold family.

Full Description

A galaxy of tiny, bright, yellow-gold flowers dance over unusual lime-green foliage. Also known as Mexican Mint Marigold or Spanish Tarragon this rediscovered herb in the marigold family has a delicious fragrance reminiscent of anise. If you like signet marigolds, you will love this heirloom. It's a terrific way to bring color and a new and attractive aroma to your herb or fragrance garden.
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Item # Product
Item#: 53249A
Order: 1 Pkt. (50 seeds)
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Product properties


Full Sun


12 inches


18 inches

Ornamental Use

Beds, Borders, Container

Life Cycle


Sow Method

Direct Sow/Indoor Sow



the burpee




since 1876


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  • Sweet marigold may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or sown directly in the garden, or planted as a potted plant.

    Sowing Seed Indoors:

    • Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in spring
    • Sow seeds 1/8 inch deep in seed starting formula
    • Keep the soil moist at 70-75 degrees
    • Seedlings emerge in 12-14 days.
    • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
    • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
    • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots.
    • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

    Sowing Directly in the Garden:

    • Direct sow in average soil in full sun after all danger of frost.
    • Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
    • Sow seeds 1/8 inch deep.
    • Firm the soil lightly and keep evenly moist.
    • Seedlings will emerge in 12-14 days.
    • Thin to 8-12 inches apart when seedlings have two to three sets of leaves.

    Planting in the Garden:

    • Set hardened off transplants into the garden in full sun in semi-well-draining soil AFTER the all danger of frost is passed date.
    • Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
    • Plant 8-12 inches apart.
    • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
    • Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
    • Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.

    How to Grow

    • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
    • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For herbs, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
    • Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
    • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

    Harvest and Preserving Tips

    • Sweet marigold, also called Mexican mint or Spanish tarragon, is used as a tarragon substitute in warmer climates where tarragon does not grow well. Use fresh or dried leaves in cooking chicken, seafood and hearty vegetable dishes.
    • Harvest leaves and flowers as needed throughout the season. Harvest leaves just before flowering, harvest flowers for potpourri.
    • To dry leaves, tie the stems together and hang upside down in a dark, airy room. It can help to secure a paper bag over the lower part of the plants with a rubber band to prevent loss of leaves and protect them from the sun. Poke small holes in the bag for air circulation. Check after four or five days. Or, use a dehydrator following the manufacturer’s instructions. When thoroughly dry, store leaves and flowers in a tightly sealed glass jar in a dry, dark location, such as a cupboard.
    • If storing seeds, store in tightly closed containers.
  • Sun
    Full Sun
    12 inches
    18 inches
    Ornamental Use
    Beds, Borders, Container
    Life Cycle
    Sow Method
    Direct Sow/Indoor Sow
  • Sweet Marigold, Licorice is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 1.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Herb Marigold This is a wonderful addition to your herb garden. Very colorful and fragrant, it easily replaces tarragon for superior licorice flavor, with an added bonus of tiny yellow flowers, wonderful for those of you who will use it for homemade vinegars. I am still using some from last summer and the flowers are still beautiful in the bottle!
    Date published: 2006-04-01
    • 2016-02-12T06:01CST
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