HOW TO GROW CHRYSANTHEMUMS

Many people make a speciality of chrysanthemums. Chrysanthemums can be grown in the normal herbaceous border, but very often they are given a plot of ground on their own, especially by those who specialize in this group for cut flowers for the house.

The best soil for chrysanthemums would seem to be a good loam of good depth. It should be prepared by shallow digging in the autumn and properly composed vegetable refuse should be incorporated at 2 large bucketfuls to the square metre. Into the top 50 mm (2 in) should be forked medium grade sedge peat at 1 bucketful to the square metre, this being damped beforehand should the soil be dry and sandy. Fish manure should be used 105 g/m3 (3 oz per sq yd), with the peat, plus wood ashes at 210 g/m2 (6 oz per sq yd).

Before planting see that the ground is firm, either by treading or a light rolling. In the case of heavy soil it may be firm enough without any particular treatment. Plant with a trowel so that you can make a good hole to take the ball of roots. Plant firmly and give a good watering at planting time if the soil is dry. In the south it is usually possible to plant about the third week of April but in the north it is often advisable to delay until the middle of May unless the plants can be covered by continuous cloches. If the border is being planted for beauty then drifts of various varieties can be arranged as advised for Michaelmas Daisies but if it is merely a question of cut flowers then it is usual to have the plants 300 mm (1 ft) apart in the rows and 450 mm (18 in) apart between the rows. It is convenient to have 4 rows 450 mm (18 in) apart, and the 600 mm (2 ft) wide break for a path, another 4 rows and so on.

To get early flowering it is often necessary to pinch out the growing points of the plants in order to cause them to break early. For instance, I have had plants that have been ‘stopped’ as it is called, on May 20th, and which flowered in consequence on August 20th. The same variety in the same bed when not stopped broke naturally on June 15th and did not flower till September 15th in consequence. Chrysanthemums need supports and bamboos are usually used for this purpose, 1.2 to 1.5 m (4 to 5 ft) bamboo being put into the ground at planting time. Keep the ground hoed regularly unless the area where the Chrysanthemums are being grown is mulched completely with sedge peat 25 mm (1 in) deep, when hoeing is unnecessary as the annual weeds cannot grow. Tie the plants up to the bamboos as they grow. Where large flowers are required disbudding should be done. This consists of removing the small flower buds on the side of the stems and so concentrating the energies of the plant on the main flower bud at the end of each stem.

Varieties

Again I only mention a few favourites of mine. Keep an eye on the catalogues and make notes of recent introductions. Try and see them at shows.

Rockall, a pink and silver incurved.

Martin Riley, a yellow incurved.

Primrose Cricket, a beautiful primrose.

Lady Anna, a rosy lilac.

Ruby Queen, a rich crimson.

Shirley Victoria, a chestnut amber.

Garden Choice, a salmon pink.

Gladys Homer, a golden amber reflexed,

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