Chrysanthemum is a demanding flower : to grow it, certain specific conditions must necessarily be met. To thrive and to guarantee the best possible bloom, it must first have relatively rich land that is preferably not too compact, heavy exposure to the sun, and 3 or 4 hours of darkness per day. It has a hard time withstanding the cold, but some chrysanthemum species are non-frost susceptible and can withstand temperatures down to 23 ° F (-5 ? C).

Chrysanthemum is a herbaceous perennial with thick stems that can reach a height of 20 to 23.5 inches (50 to 60 cm) and of which the leaves are deeply lobed and deciduous. The chrysanthemum flowers may be single or double and come in several colours: white, yellow, purple, red or bronze. Often, they also can be variegated. There are several species of chrysanthemums, those grown annually include chrysanthemum carinatum, coranarium, segetum, articum, catananche, and frutescens. Chrysanthemums bloom primarily from early fall to frosts. They need neutral and slightly moist soil to help them grow.

Growing chrysanthemums

Growing chrysanthemums is relatively easy to do, you can grow flowers directly purchased from the florist, especially if they are not too big, to stimulate their rapid growth. It is advisable to put these potted plants in the ground because they do not require too many conditions to be met. Chrysanthemum is planted from spring to autumn. Just avoid overly acidic or calcareous land, as mums love neutral and slightly moist soil. Chrysanthemums like well-prepared land that is rich in compost or heather and that contains at least 20% of rotted manure, potting soil, or leaves. Furthermore, make sure that the plant is set up in a sunny spot to benefit from maximum sunlight in order to stimulate the growth of its stems and its flowering. Given that chrysanthemums are not too good at withstanding the cold, their ideal temperature should be between 55.5 ° F and 59 ° F (13 and 15 ? C) during the day. For this reason, ensure that the plant is sheltered in a greenhouse and that it has good winter protection, such as PVC film or a layer of mulch for example.

Irrigation and photoperiodism

The first watering of chrysanthemum is an important step that should not be taken lightly. It allows you to moisten the plant’s substrate, letting it settle and compact itself as to avoid the formation of air pockets. The subsequent ones only serve to build up a stock of minerals that the plant can use as food.  You can also opt for a drip irrigation system to keep the soil moist without the problem of excess water. Also, avoid wetting the flowers and leaves because this can cause nasty stains and promote the onset of insect invasion and disease. Concerning photoperiodism, you do not need to take any special precautions if your chrysanthemums are grown outside. By cons, if you keep the plant indoors, it will be different. You must ensure that the plant has sufficient artificial lighting to bring its growth to a successful conclusion, especially in its early vegetative and generative phase. Finally, keep in mind that chrysanthemum has a very short lifespan and needs about 10 to 24 hours of light per day.

How to obtain beautiful chrysanthemums?

Wait until March to propagate chrysanthemums. You can propagate the plants by dividing clumps in March or April at latest. By performing a “pinch”, you can determine the number of heads you want per plant. To do this, simply cut off the terminal buds around early to mid-June or so. This will allow the plant to boost the remaining buds’ growth. If you want the perfectly straight stems, you can perform a bud pruning by cutting off additional buds. Disbudding limits the number of useless flower buds located at the centre of the plant to favour surface buds instead. You can also remove the auxiliary buds in order to favour the growth of the crown bud. You can carry out this procedure at the end of August. Staking is vital to the survival of your chrysanthemums, as the stems are brittle against overly heavy flower loads. You can put 3 or 4 stakes per plant or pot in order to keep the plant upright and to avoid falls.

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Published in Autumn flowers by Alexander on 30 Aug 2011