Chrysanthemums are unequaled for beautiful their late-summer and fall blooms. Follow these easy steps to properly grow your own flourishing chrysanthemums.
1. Blossoming periods
Chrysanthemum flower for three to eight weeks with blossoms that range from tiny buttons to immense globes 20 or more centimetres (eight or more inches) across. Blossoming periods are triggered by the shortening days of late summer. It is then that the plants’ energies switch from vegetative growth to flower production.
Chrysanthemums are often categorized by their response time, the elapsed time from when buds appear until flowers bloom. This can be six to seven weeks for low-growing bushy types or up to 12 weeks for other varieties.
2. Purchasing plants by mail
Snow may still be on the ground when the first chrysanthemum catalogues arrive. Bear in mind that too many varieties will lessen the overall effect when the plants flower. Also, it may cost less to order three plants of one variety than one each of three types.
The plants are shipped with their roots carefully packed in material that maintains their moisture. Even if they should appear dry upon arrival, the plants will probably recover if they stand overnight in water. Next, transfer them to containers or, weather permitting, to their permanent locations.
3. Preparing beds for chrysanthemums
Once established, chrysanthemums need a predominantly sunny exposure, an evenly sustained food supply, and plenty of space around them to develop properly. Their roots require a soil that is loose and drains well after a heavy rain. A soil that is too soggy during either the growing season or the winter resting period will adversely affect growth and subsequent survival.
- To overcome difficulties caused by compacted clay soil and poor drainage, try planting chrysanthemums in raised beds. Beds can be made by using a 15- to 20-centimetre-high (six- to eight-inch) wood frame or a 10-centimetre-high (four-inch-high) cinder-block enclosure.
- A growing medium of compost and leaf mold combined with a sandy soil is ideal for supplying the organic material and slightly acid conditions under which chrysanthemum plants thrive.
- Though chrysanthemums can be planted at any time after the last frost date, the bloom date will be approximately the same for all plants in a particular response group, whether they are planted early or late.
- Early planting, therefore, offers no significant advantage. On the contrary, it may result in plants taller than the gardener desires.
4. Planting chrysanthemums
Left to themselves, cushion mums can spread one metre (three feet) in all directions from the main stem within three or four years. By controlling growth, the gardener can direct some of this plant energy into producing fewer but bigger and better flowers. These early bloomers are normally grown for mass effect, but some can be induced to yield terminal sprays and flowers large enough to enter in a flower show.
- When grown for maximum bloom, chrysanthemum plants should be spaced at least 60 centimetres (25 inches) apart.
- A well-grown plant will form a mound and cover itself with flowers. Some garden varieties can be grown as single stem plants and be used to produce flowers suitable for cutting.
- Plants started in clay or plastic pots should be moistened before planting. Then you can remove them easily by tapping the rim of the pot while holding the plant upside down with the stem between your fingers.
- All plants should be placed in a hole no deeper than the ball of soil that was removed from the pot. After the root ball is planted, the ground should be firmed.
Follow these basic steps to growing your own blooms.