Updated/Fact-Chacked on March 13, 2022 by John
Autumn is the season for Chrysanthemums, mostly called ‘mums’ or ‘crysanths’, they provide a gardener with autumn flowers when most other plants have died back.
Chrysanthemums belong to the Compositae family and come in variety of vibrant colors, shapes, and sizes. This plant originated in China as a herb and used for salads and teas, later being imported by European travellers.
The majority of chrysanthemums varieties late blooms in in autumn from September to October; they may bloom for longer in warmer areas in the UK, like Cornwall. You can buy some varieties that are late bloomers, like ‘Pip Sunny’, ‘Spiro White’ and ‘Rossano Elizabeth’, flowering over the winter months, but these are best grown in greenhouses or poly tunnels.
Guides on Growing Chrysanthemums
Planting and Propagation
Chrysanthemums become available to by during spring, usually as root cuttings that are planted out at the end of May. Alternatively, you can buy established plants, which will be more expensive. You can buy a few varieties as seeds, but you are unlikely to find these locally.
If you are buying root cuttings, pot them into small pots and place ideally in a greenhouse until there is no risk of frost.
Once your root cutting has formed an adequate root ball in your small pot, find a sunny location in your border which has good drainage. Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, add some manure or compost, and plant using a spacing guide if 45cms.
Watering and Maintenance Techniques
Chrysanthemums are low-maintenance plants that simply need to be watered on a regular basis if there isn’t enough rainfall. As long as the water is not sitting on the surface, you should be fine. If you find your water is not draining water away, consider improving your soil drainage.
Chrysanthemums can be fed with a liquid feed every couple of weeks when the plant is young and growing, but stop feeding when buds start to appear.
Taller chrysanthemum varieties may require staking to give them more support as they grow, this will also protect them any high winds.
Chrysanthemum Pinching and Disbudding
To produce a lot of flowers from your chrysanthemum plant, you want it to be short and bushy. The trick is to ‘pinch out’ the top of the plant (removing a couple inches from the top of the stem) to encourage new side shoots.
Side shoots will produce a lot of new buds which will all flower. You can produce larger flowers by disbudding the new shoots – simply remove the smaller buds so the plant focuses it’s energy on the main bud on the shoot.
Chrysanthemums and Overwintering
Most chrysanthemum varieties need ‘overwintering’ – the root bulb needs to be dug up and stored in a cool dry place like a shed. Once your plant has finished flowering, dig up the root and remove all the growth and soil. You can also give the root a warm water treatment to remove any parasites or eelworms.
Chrysanthemum Problems and Solutions
There are several parasites that affect the growth of chrysanthemum like powdery mildew, rust, and grey moulds. Plants an also be eaten my aphids and earwigs along with slugs and snails on young plants.
When it comes to fungal diseases, the disease gets worse during wet periods as plants become weak and withered, with an awful appearance. If you notice a problem, cut and destroy the affected leaves as soon as possible. Refrain from taking cuttings from damaged plants and cure with proper treatment.
There are hundreds of varieties of chrysanthemums and categorized by their shape: Anemone, Decorative, Irregular Incurve, Intermediate Incurve, Regular Incurve, Pompom, Quilled, Single and Semi-Double, Spider, Spoon, Reflex, Thistle
To decide on the a variety to buy, search Google images for some of the above category shapes to get an idea of what you like and would work well in your border with other plants. My next purchase will be a ‘spider’ variety, which I will add to my ‘weird & wonderful’ section on my garden.
Leading Lady Chrysanthemum
It’s a half-hardy, early-flowering variety that reaches a height of 120cm. It has a strong pink color that you will absolutely love. Blooms during late summer and winter.
Early Yellow Chrysanthemum
This selection is unique at 80 centimeters long, with a yellow crown and huge leaves. Flowers bloom as the stalk grows longer. September to October is when the flowers bloom. This type can be propagated by splitting clumps, soft cuttings, or rooted basal cuttings. It thrives in a sunny, well-drained setting and requires assistance to avoid flopping.
Spartan Fire Chrysanthemum
best for outdoors. It has vivid fiery red flowers that are great for cutting and autumn border color. These hardy kinds are excellent for late summer color. The colors are bright and bold, and the habits are clean and tight, making them excellent for backyard containers. They also make lovely cut flowers that linger for a long time in the vase.
Seatons Toffee Chrysanthemum
These chrysanthemums are long, tubular flower buds that reach to a slight downward slope at the end. Their spiky style is often mistaken for that of other mums.
Evening Glow Chrysanthemum
These are straight woody-based varieties with fragrant, pinnately lobed foliage and flower crowns of diverse shape.
Apricot Alexis Chrysanthemum
Apricot Alexis is a fabulously moderate curve Chrysanthemum. A beautiful cut flower looks well in a vase and can last for more than two weeks.
Coral Charm Chrysanthemum
These are a type of spider mum that comes in a variety of colors. Classified by its plain capitulum shape. It has coral-pink ray petals.
Most chrysanthemums varieties found in garden centres will not withstand a harsh winter, unless you have chosen a dedicated hardy variety, ‘Korean Chrysanthemums’, that an be left out all year round. Hardy varieties have a rating of around H4: they can survive temperatures down to -10 degrees, which is fine for most UK gardens. Hardy varieties include: Chrysanthemum ‘Brennpunkt’, Chrysanthemum ‘Coup de Soleil’, Chrysanthemum ‘Bienchen’, Chrysanthemum ‘Dernier Soleil’. You may have search online to buy these specific varieties and buy from a dedicated chrysanths supplier like chrysanthemumsdirect.co.uk.
How to Take Chrysanthemum Flower Cuttings for Indoor Vases
Chrysanthemums make great cutting flowers to place in your home in vases or jars; cutting flowers also produces more flowers to grow.
If you keep removing a cm of the stem, the cut flower can last for up to 4 weeks. Take your flower cuttings in the morning when the plant is filled with water and nutrients; the plant maybe lacking water if you take them later in the day and the plant may become limp after taking cuttings.
Growing Chrysanthemums FAQ
Do chrysanthemums come back year after year?
Yes if they are cared for properly, but many varieties need overwintering.
How long do chrysanthemums take to grow?
Chrysanthemum cuttings take around 4 weeks to starting producing roots.
Where can we buy chrysanthemums?
Most local garden centres and nurseries will sell them, or online suppliers if you are looking for rare varieties.
Are chrysanthemums poisonous?
Chrysanthemums and generally not poisonous to humans but can be harmful to animals.
Are chrysanthemums good for you?
Chrysanthemums are said to include essential vitamins and minerals and highly regarded in Asian countries for their health benefits.
Mary shares a passion for gardening with her husband John, though she is more focused on growing veg on their allotment at St. Margaret’s Allotments, Durham. Mary also works in the lawn care industry and manages the lawns for the Durham University campus.