Grow

Chrysanthemum care

chrysanthemums

It’s probably fair to say that chrysanthemums have faded a little in popularity. They used to be grown extensively in gardens but these days they’re more often seen as an indoor flowering plant. One thing hasn’t changed, though. Chrysanthemums (in this case, the potted varieties) are still invariably associated with Mother’s Day. By happy chance, their long, nearly-unpronounceable name ends in ‘mum’ and their flowering coincides with Mother’s Day.

Chrysanthemums flower at this time because their blooming is triggered by shortening autumn days. We’re all aware that flowering can be affected by temperature but it’s less well known that light levels play an important role, too. This means that chrysanthemums in glasshouses can be manipulated to have their flowering occur on cue.

For most of us, our first experience with a chrysanthemum will be as a potted indoor plant. Keep the pot in a well lit position and remove dead flowers and leaves. Water at the base so that the leaves stay as dry as possible, and don’t overwater. An indoor plant doesn’t require anything like as much water as the same plant would if grown outdoors.

When the plant stops flowering, you have a choice. Either take it out of the pot and add it to the compost, or plant it into a sunny garden bed. Water in with Uplift Plant Starter & Root Booster. This will help the plant to settle in, and Uplift’s natural soil wetter component will ensure moisture gets through to the roots.
Chrysanthemum plants are very good value. They need only the most basic of care and can last for years. Feed every so often with some easy-to-apply Yates Acticote or Nutricote. Large parts of the plant will die back after flowering, leaving a low clump of new shoots emerging from the base. These new shoots are much favoured by snails, so spread a light sprinkling of Blitzem or Baysol pellets to protect them.

At the end of winter, trim back any remaining dead stems and feed again. Chances are the plants will send up tall, upright shoots. Pinch these back two or three times before the end of the year. This will encourage a bushier growth habit.

Pests and diseases

As well as the snails and slugs already mentioned, watch out for aphids. When they first appear and their numbers are small, they’re easily removed by squashing the pests between your finger and thumb but, if numbers increase, they’ll need to be sprayed. The best thing to use is Yates Rose Gun, a combination of insecticide and fungicide that will control most of the common problems.

Chrysanthemums are particularly prone to rust, a common fungal disease that discolours the leaves with yellow pustules. Keep leaves dry when watering and feed the plant every couple of weeks with Thrive Flower & Fruit. Thrive Flower & Fruit’s high potassium content will enhance the plant’s disease resistance. Trim off the worst-affected leaves and spray plants with Yates Rose Gun.


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