Chrysanthemums For Cut Flowers

Chrysanthemums are too well known to need much description. For growing out-of-doors giant flower-heads are not desirable, as they are liable to break off if in any way exposed to the wind or to be damaged or discoloured by rain.

If the varieties are carefully selected they look attractive whether planted in clumps of three or four plants by themselves in a mixed border or massed together. As there are so many plants which flower during August, it is preferable to choose varieties that will bloom during September and October. Their lasting qualities as cut flowers are well known, in fact in a cool atmosphere and with the water changed regularly they will last indoors for weeks.

Soil preparation is most important, and double digging should be done if possible, well breaking up the bottom of the trench. A really good layer of farmyard manure should be dug in the top spit, but not lower, as Chrysanthemums are not deep rooting, but require their nourishment fairly near the surface. The addition of bone meal or hoofand-horn manure, at the rate of 2 OZS. To the square yard, will be of great help, for chrysanthemums are gross feeders. A sprinkling of bonfire ash will also be appreciated by the plants.

Chrysanthemums

Unfortunately, some varieties of Chrysanthemums are liable to suffer if left in the open ground, particularly if the soil is on the heavy side. Where convenient, the roots of any varieties it is particularly desired to save should be lifted in November. Place these roots in good soil in a cold frame and give the minimum amount of water; just enough to prevent the roots from drying out during the winter. Be sure to see that air is freely admitted to the frameā€”in fact, only during really frosty weather need the lights be entirely closed. These roots may be planted out of doors again the following spring, but if there are any signs of a great number of basal shoots being formed these should be thinned out, for if all the shoots are left they will become weak and drawn. These same plants may be divided before being placed in their flowering quarters. Many gardeners who have the advantage of a greenhouse with a little heat like to take their own cuttings in February, by selecting strong basal shoots about 2 in. long and making a clean cut immediately below a node.

If, however, it is intended to purchase plants and a cold frame is available, the plants may be obtained from the nursery in March and given 31-in. pots to allow for greater and earlier root development. If plants are coming direct from the nursery at planting time, do not arrange delivery until early May. Place the plants at least 18 in. apart and always use a trowel when making the hole, as this will give the roots plenty of room and is in every way preferable to a dibber, however large. Never plant when the soil is either wet or very dry. If the tops of the plants have not been pinched out, this should be done as soon as they settle down, and in the case of the ordinary decorative sorts, a further stopping can be carried out towards the end of June, but not later. This will result in the plants becoming bushy and producing a large quantity of flowers. Stake and tie as necessary.

If the ground has been prepared in the way suggested, no extra feeding should be necessary for blooms required for ordinary house decoration, but if for any reason it is decided to feed the plants, the old-fashioned method of immersing a bag of manure in a bath or barrel of water can be recommended. This is done by tying the bag containing the manure to a stout stick and suspending it in the water. The liquid should be used when it is nicely coloured, and soot-water, too, may be added or used separately.

Plants grown in the open may be successfully lifted and transferred into pots or tubs. The soil around the roots should be thoroughly soaked a day before lifting, and to prevent the slightest risk of any possible failure in transplanting, insert the spade deeply 6-8 in. from the centre of the plant and carefully cut the soil right round the plant.

Choice of varieties must always be a matter of individual taste, and every year several new kinds are put on the market by leading raisers. The following early flowering sorts are excellent for general garden culture and will produce blooms of good size and quality under ordinary growing conditions:

August and September Flowering

‘Advent’, salmon-bronze, broad petals; `Balcombe Brilliance’, scarlet-crimson; ‘Chatsworth’, bright orange-bronze; ‘Ashover Beauty’, lemon-yellow; ‘Hope Valley’, lilac-pink; ‘John Woolman’, silvery-pinked incurved; ‘Kim Riley’, large cream; ‘Louis Shoe-smith’, large incurving white; ‘Peach Blossom’, soft peach-pink; ‘Pearl Sweetheart’, pearl-pink; ‘Red Bill Riley’, large incurving red; ‘Sweetheart’, rose-pink, one of the earliest flowering; ‘Westfield Flame’, flaming red; ‘Zenith’, purple-maroon.

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