Sunflowers are undeniably one of the prettiest flowers that appear during the summertime. Their bright colors add a special touch of beauty to any garden design.
Unfortunately, these captivating plants can’t survive winter no matter the species.
Well, if you love sunflowers but want color in the winter, there’s one flower you can plant instead!
Let’s find out which one it is!
A Colorful Winter Alternative
The perfect alternative to sunflowers is the Mexican marigold. This wonderful species will add a well-needed splash of color to your winter garden just like sunflowers do in the summer.
The color isn’t the only amazing thing about this plant; it can reach up to 6 feet, which means you can achieve the same aesthetics as with sunflowers.
Mexican marigolds are more resilient than sunflowers, but they also won’t withstand harsh conditions. Let’s see what that means!
Mexican Marigold And Winter Temperatures
I have good and bad news. These marigold species thrive in mild winters but, unfortunately, can’t survive in regions with snow. They can withstand temperatures below freezing but only if it occurs a few times.
For instance, USDA hardiness zone 8 is on the cooler side but you can find Mexican marigolds in many gardens in this region.
One of the great features of this plant is that it becomes drought-resistant when fully established, so there’s no need for supplemental watering during the winter.
Watering Mexican marigolds is only required every one or two weeks during the summer.
As soon as the fall arrives and the days become shorter, your Mexican marigolds will be triggered and start producing blossoms. Longer spring days will cause these marigolds to stop blooming.
However, those who live in foggy and cloudy regions during springtime can expect the blooming season to last a little bit longer.
There has been a lot of discussion about whether marigolds are annuals or perennials. When it comes to Mexican marigolds, they’re considered perennials, so you can expect them to come back every year. However, there’s one thing that can cause them not to come back: hard frost.
You can deadhead the blossoms as soon as they start wilting to encourage more blooming.
Similar Characteristics Of Sunflowers And Mexican Marigolds
Although they’re completely different plants, marigolds are actually good sunflower companions.
Both plants can thrive in full sun but if you decide on growing only Mexican marigolds, you can plant them in partial shade. They’ll also make an excellent addition to a woodland shade garden!
As you may already know, both species tolerate drought but Mexican marigolds need less water than sunflowers during hot summer months. I call this a perfect feature for beginner gardeners or those who don’t want to spend their winters with a hose in hand!
The typical sunflowers found in gardens are tall and classified as annuals and their blossoms develop from a single stem. Marigolds don’t actually resemble these species but rather perennial sunflowers.
One of the most popular perennial species is the swamp sunflower, renowned for its bushy growth habit. Cutting back sunflower species at the beginning of the spring will remove any frost damage.
If you’re a really big fan of sunflowers, I believe you’re gonna like Mexican marigolds, especially when they’re in full bloom. These plants aren’t fussy and if you devote some of your time, they’ll make your winter garden more beautiful than ever!