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Gardening

ARTICLES / Gardening

June 2020:  Chrysanthemums

by Pippa Greenwood

Gardening Boxmoor Direct

Chrysanthemums, with their richly coloured flowers in a host of shapes and sizes are great in the garden, in containers and in the greenhouse. Plant out in the next few weeks for flowers during late summer and into autumn, with blooms in bronzes, mahoganies, golds, creams, yellows, pinks, deep reds and purples.
Growing Tips
Always check the information on the chrysanthemum varieties you choose, but as a rule they’ll need planting with a spacing of 30-45cm (12-18in) and many will need support from a cane or proprietary support. Choose a well-fertilised and well-drained spot to grow them in the garden.
Pots or containers must have plenty of drainage holes. The best compost is a loam-based John Innes No.3, with a little horticultural grit added to improve drainage.
Chrysanthemums need regular watering to flower well but take care not to over water. A weekly feed during the growing season is worthwhile – use either a        specially formulated chrysanthemum fertiliser or a high-potash liquid feed.
Pinch out the tip of young chrysanthemum plants, leaving about five leaves, so that side-shoots form rapidly and keep the plant bushy and flowering well. For fewer but larger flowers, ‘disbud’ each flower stem by removing all the buds and side shoots (when they are about 2cm long), leaving only the top or terminal bud. Remove the terminal bud and leave the side shoots for more but smaller flowers.
Chrysanthemums should be stored in frost-free conditions from late autumn until May or later, once there is no danger of frosts. Carefully remove most of the garden soil from their roots when you lift them for storing and trim both the top growth and the roots back to about 25cm (6in). Temporarily ‘plant’ then in seed trays of well-drained compost kept in a frost-free spot. Keep the plants on the dry side with occasional light watering of the roots, watering them a little more in early spring to encourage the plants to grow away strongly, ready for planting out.
Bebbie, Allouise or Misty varieties can be planted from the end of April until June as long as the danger of frost has passed. Pinch them out two to three weeks after planting and aim to develop three to four stems per plant. Remove a large piece of the plant – maybe more than half – if there is any sign of a terminal bud when pinching out.
Varieties that have caught my eye include:
• ‘Primrose Enbee’, an early spray type with simple, primrose-yellow blooms.
• ‘Chestnut Talbot Maid’, an early spray double with near-spherical brown flowers, and lilac-purple ‘Talbot Parade’.
• The outdoor pot and bush ‘Pompon Collection’ in colours including ‘Red’ and ‘Red Bronze’.
• ‘Green Mist’, a wacky variety with lime-green spidery flowers.
• ‘Misty Primrose’ with near-spherical bright yellow flowers.
• The ‘Spartan’ chrysanthemums – ‘Raspberry’ with pinkish petals and a golden-yellow centre or the golden orange ‘Spartan Linnet’.


Visit Pippa’s website www.pippagreenwood.com  and join ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ for great vegetable plants and weekly advice from Pippa, stylish cloches, the fantastic SpeedHoe, gardening tools, Grower Frames and signed books! Or book Pippa for a gardening talk at your gardening club.


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