You see them everywhere—but did you know they’re more than just good looks?

Southern Living

Native to Mexico (despite species names indicating they are from Africa or France), these colorful flowers have been popular in America for decades. They’re treasured for their varied blooms, that come in a rainbow of hues from yellows and oranges to deep maroon. They show up in late summer and early fall, and many selections can dazzle until the first frost if spent flowers are picked off properly throughout the season. They’re reliable flowers that are fairly easy to grow in the right conditions. Here, a few facts you may not have already known about these garden (and container!) MVPs.

They’re edible.

That’s right! These not only add a pop of color to the garden, but pack a punch in the kitchen too. Spicy and herbal, these flowers are also known as poor man’s saffron. Try subbing them in for tarragon if you’re in a pinch. Pro tip from the Old Farmer’s Almanac: “‘Mexican Mint’ (sometimes called Texas tarragon) is a sturdy little herb that can be substituted for French tarragon in cooking.”

They attract butterflies.

They really are everyone’s favorite, including winged friends. Plant a few of these in your garden alongside some lantana, zinnias, and/or butterfly bush to encourage butterflies and caterpillars to make themselves at home.

They can get very tall.

Many of the selections people are familiar with only grow to be six inches to a foot tall, however, there some varieties can grow to be five feet tall. If you want the big, bold blooms of these colorful flowers at eye level, try selections like Climax or Flagstaff, part of the T. erecta (African Marigold) species.

WATCH: Fragrant Southern Flowers for Your Garden

What do you like to pair with marigolds in your garden? Do you tone it down or embrace with more color? Tell us what your favorite way to garden with marigolds is!