With local schools out and summer at our doorstep, locals and visitors look forward to traditions marking the season. Nothing is more enduring than the Nevada County Fair’s iconic marigold display. It was a pleasant surprise to see how popular our marigold coverage was last month and it inspired us to dig deeper into the history of the tradition and learn the secret behind these beautiful and hearty blooms.

For this Fairgrounds Update, we checked in with CEO Andrew Trygg and caught up with Dwight Weiss of Weiss Brothers Nursery in Grass Valley. We learned how he grows and delivers 1080 “Orange Perfection,” aka “Nevada County Fair Marigold” to Nevada County Fairgrounds’ Gardener Lindsay Hinds  to “work her magic like she always does!”

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Nevada County Fair Marigolds Tips

Start early and keep them warm

This year, the plants, officially named “Orange Perfection,” were seeded on April 11. They were germinated on a hotbed that is 70° and heated with quarter-inch hot water tubes. In approximately six days, they germinated.


By April 27, the plants were about an inch and a half tall and ready to be transplanted into pot packs.

Fertilize once a week and add a secret ingredient

Weiss uses a Miracle Gro water soluble fertilizer, a 24 – 8 – 16. One and a half tablespoons per one-and-a-half gallons of water. He also added two tablespoons of Epsom salt to the one-and-a-half gallons of water. “Epsom salt gives plants a real rich green color.”


After growing them till May 10th, Weiss moved them to the back of the greenhouse to cool them down before delivery.

Marigold Watch

You can check the progress of the marigolds at the Fairgrounds during the Bluegrass Festival next week or stop by to enjoy a bike ride or stroll with friends. Pretty soon, the Gold Path will live up to its name and now you know how.

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