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The Desert marigold is a small and colorful herbaceous perennial with a low and spreading habit, growing 12-18 in. tall, 24-30 in. across. Silvery gray-green foliage is comprised of small deeply lobed leaves that are covered with fine woolly hairs. Bright and colorful daisy-like deep yellow flowers grow on tall stems and occur from late winter and intermittently through summer.

Desert marigold is native to arid regions of northern Mexico and the southwest United States where it is noted in seasonal wildflower displays. It commonly grows along washes, roadsides and on rocky slopes, and does best where moisture from seasonal rainfall collects. In Inland Empire gardens it is a colorful flowering accent plant that is used southwestern style gardens along walkways, around rocks and in wildflower plantings. It is adapted to full sun, heat and aridity, and grows best for 3-5 years.

Water Needs

The Desert marigold easily adapts to warm and sunny climate conditions of the Inland Empire. Established plants grow well with very little and infrequent summer water. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; more supplemental water commonly results in a longer flowering season and larger sizes.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 2

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"-14"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Perennial
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Spreading
Growth Rate: Fast
Height: 12 in. - 18 in.
Width: 24 in. - 30 in.
Water Needs: Low 2
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Yellow
Flower Season: Winter, Summer, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Silt, Sand
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Rock gardens, Raised planters, Flowering accent plant, Borders, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces


If desired, shear off spent flower heads as needed. This may extend the bloom period, but is not necessary (8).



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