Evaluation of Marigold Cultivars as Bedding Plants in Central Florida

in HortTechnology

Annual bedding plants comprised 50% of the $4.6 billion wholesale value of United States floricultural crops in 2000. Florida is one of the top wholesale producers of bedding plants in this industry, and in 2000 was number one in the production of potted marigolds. Evaluation of marigold cultivars is vital for continued growth of the industry. We evaluated 84 cultivars of african marigold (Tagetes erecta) and french marigold (T. patula) in replicated class tests at the University of Florida's Gulf Coast Research and Education Center at Bradenton, Fla. (lat. 27°4' N, long. 82°5' W; AHS Heat Zone 10; USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 9b) in Fall 1999. In this report, we provide objective plant measurements of vegetative and floral characteristics as well as six weekly subjective ratings. Subjective ratings were on a 1 to 7 scale with the highest rating of 7 for excellent. In general, cultivars with vegetative and floral ratings ≥5 were considered outstanding, 4 to 4.9 as good performers, and ≤3.9 as fair to poor. These ratings permit readers to evaluate foliage and floral characteristics at different times during the season, and to evaluate performance over time. Cultivars were grouped into classes based on species, plant height, flower type, and flower color. Outstanding cultivars (those cultivars with an overall rating ≥5) and their class were: `Inca Gold' and `Royal Gold' [african marigold (African)—gold class]; `Mesa Orange' and `Royal Orange' (African— orange class); `Inca Yellow', `Mesa Yellow', and `Perfection Yellow' (African—yellow class); `Disco Granada' [french marigold (French) dwarf—single gold/red class], `Disco Flame' (French dwarf—single red/gold class); `Golden Boy' and `Hero Gold' (French dwarf—double gold class); `Bonanza Orange', `Orange Boy', `Girl Orange', `Jacket Orange' (French dwarf—double orange class); `Yellow Boy', `Girl Primrose', and `Jacket Yellow' (French dwarf—double yellow class); `Harmony Boy' (French dwarf— double orange/red class); `Hero Flame' (French dwarf—double red/orange class); `Bonanza Flame Improved' (French dwarf—double red/yellow class); `Legend Gold' (French double— gold class); `Legend Orange Improved' (French—double orange class); `Spry Boy' (French double—yellow/red class); `Durango Bee', `Durango Red', and `Hyper Red/Yellow' (French— double red/yellow class). We believe these cultivars would perform well in the southern U.S. or areas of the world with similar heat and cold hardiness zones.

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