I was very fortunate a couple of years ago when I was able to help out a community garden in our region and was gifted several plants as a thank you. One of these plants was a passion-fruit marigold – Tagetes lemmonii. Not knowing much about it at the time and assuming it was just like every other marigold, I planted it in the Potager garden.
While this plant has similar effects much like other marigolds, it also is a fabulous plant that has a more extended flowering period, from autumn right through to winter. It has beautiful yellow daisy flowers and is well known for its leaves. They possess an aroma which can be easily smelt when the wind passes over the foliage, or when the leaves are crushed. It smells like ripe passion-fruit! It is also a drought tolerant plant for a sunny position. It makes for a great addition to any permaculture garden – It is originally from Mexico, and it makes a fabulous border or informal hedge plant that is drought tolerant that thrives with the hot sun overhead and grows to approx 1.5 metres tall and 1 metre wide and is a soft-wooded perennial.
I am now actively taking cutting to strike and also asked if the community garden has more seed so that I can more of this wonderful plant to my design.
They are effective in a couple of different ways:
- First off, the roots and stems emit a chemical that insects find unpleasant and so this keeps them away.
- Tolerant of full sun and partial shade
- Drought tolerant and thrives on irregular watering
- Snails and slugs will leave them alone completely because of their bitter taste
- The help and attract beneficial insects including bees
- They help repel and reduce the numbers of root knotting nematodes in the soil
- They are low maintenance
- and add a level of colour and beauty to the garden
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I grow this in my permaculture garden and find it seeds easily and reproduces without need for cuttings. The seeds are very fine so perhaps you have missed seeing them. I call this plant my Mexican tarragon hedge. When the flower heads are spent take a closer look at yours and collect some of the dried flower capsules which are full of seed unless they have ejected before you got to them. If the word regarding its traditional use is correct it is used as a vinegar infusion to make salsa.