Growing Chrysanthemum Plants
If you have a heated greenhouse, a few November and December growing chrysanthemum plants of the flowering varieties are a great asset, not only for decoration in themselves but to provide cut flowers for the home. It is not possible here to deal with the subject in detail, but for those who would like to try a few plants for the first time, the following is a brief summary of the main operations involved.
Cuttings are taken in February or March, in a heated greenhouse. Use the shoots which arise from the old stools (plants which flowered the previous year) – the method for taking cuttings is as for the early flowering varieties. When rooted, pot the cuttings singly into 4-1/2in. pots, using equal parts of loam, compost and sand. By the end of May or early June, pot on into either 9 in. or 10 in. pots, which must be well crocked. Use 3 parts loam, 1 part rotted manure or compost and 1 part coarse grit and add to each bucketful of the resultant compost a mixture of 2 ozs. bone meal, loz. hoof and horn and 4 ozs. dry wood ash.
growing-chrysanthemums Stand the pots outside on a hard base and give each plant a 4 ft. high cane. Take the tops out of the plants when gins. high, and select the best 6 or 8 shoots that arise, removing the rest. Tie the shoots to the canes, water regularly, and remove any side buds so as to leave only one flower bud at the end of each of the main shoots. Remove any surplus growths or side shoots, and feed with weak liquid manure, once a week. It is best to bring the plants indoors in late September, before frosts threaten. After housing, continue disbudding, watering and feeding. Give frost-free conditions, this being important, but grow the plants as cool as possible, giving maximum ventilation compatible with outside conditions.
Some suitable varieties of chrysanthemum plants for this method of growing are:
November Flowering – Loveliness, pink, and any of the Loveliness sports, e.g. Apricot, White or Lilac Loveliness; Worthing Success, pink; Balcombe Perfection, red or Symbol, orange.
December Flowering – The Favourite, white; Red Favourite; Imperial Pink, and Fred Shoesmith, white.
All these are decorative varieties, not the large flowered exhibition sorts, and are but a very few of the many varieties listed in chrysanthemum catalogues for December flowering. All can be recommended for the newcomer to chrysanthemum growing.
Taking Cuttings from Chrysanthemum Plants
It should be borne in mind that a small propagating frame, even a small wooden box with a glass top, will provide good facilities for rooting a wide range of cuttings. Such a small frame, on the bench in the warmest part of the greenhouse, will provide the “close” conditions which enable cuttings to root quickly.
For many cuttings a good rooting medium is equal parts of sharp (fine) sand and a fine grade peat. Pure sand can be used, and vermiculite is also a very good rooting medium. The propagating frame should be very well drained and coarse material can be placed in the bottom to provide this condition. The rooting medium should be about 6ins. thick, or a little less.
Generally speaking, most cuttings should be several inches in length, bear two or three pairs of leaves and terminate in a growing shoot.
It will be noted that the slanting cut at the base of the cutting is made just below a joint, or the place where the leaves have been growing, the leaves being trimmed off up the stem for the half of the cutting that is to be inserted. If the slanting cut is made at some distance below the joint, that part will rot off, and possibly the rot may continue, while the rootlets that ought to form from underneath the joint will not appear.
All cuttings should be inserted firmly, and care should be taken not to over-water. Small batches can be rooted quite easily in pots, the cuttings being inserted around the edge where the better aeration makes for quicker rooting.