Chrysanthemums are herbaceous perennials that produce the most flowers when they are planted in plenty of sunshine. There are hundreds of varieties of Chrysanthemums that vary in height, color, flower size, and time of bloom. These flowers are native to eastern Europe and Asia. If you are planning to grow this plant, you need to take good care of it to be able to enjoy its colorful blooms in years to come.
Chrysanthemum have their name origin from two Greek words, chrysos which means golden, and anthemon that means flower or blossom. This name was chosen because of the flowers' original golden color. In Asia, it is called 'The Flower of Royalty' and 'mum or mums', in short in the Western world.
There are 15 types of bloom with about 30 species of chrysanthemum. The popular flower colors that you may find in gardens are bronze, orange, yellow, pink, red, lavender, blue, and white. The annual chrysanthemum that blooms in summer is the most easiest of all to grow.
How to Take Care of Chrysanthemums?
You may grow this plant from seeds, cutting, or even by dividing. You can even purchase a sapling from the local nursery. You need to plant it in a well prepared, fertile, and sandy soil. Every individual plant must be planted about 18-30 inches apart. Use a light fertilizer every 2 weeks to maintain healthy growth of the plant. When the plant is about 6 inches tall, you should pinch about ¾ inch of each branch, as it helps in promoting blooms and bushier plants. After they reach a height of a foot, carry out the pinching process again. Remove all the buds except the top ones, in more flowering plants.
Growing the Flower from Seeds
If you live in a very cold region, then you should sow the seeds directly into the soil about 2 months before the frost. You can even grow the chrysanthemums indoors in pots during the winter season. However, in both the cases the soil temperature should be about 75 °F. The seeds will germinate in about 2 to 3 weeks and the indoor plants may then be relocated outdoors after about 6 weeks. This helps the roots to establish themselves.
Growing the Flower from Stems
Cut off a piece of stem (4-6 inches) from the plant that is about 12 to 18 inches in length. Dip the stem in rooting hormones and then insert about 1 inch of the stem into light soil. The stem should be wrapped in a transparent plastic bag and secured with a wire frame that creates a mini-green house effect. When the roots gets established after 4 weeks, remove the plastic bag and let the plant grow naturally.
You need to divide the chrysanthemum every 3 to 5 years. This helps avoid overcrowding, and it helps the plant to produce maximum flowers. You should divide the plants in spring when new growth appears. The entire clumps should be dug out and separated with a sharp, clean knife or a spade. You should remove the dead and diseased parts of the plant.
The divided plant should be replanted as soon as possible in a rich soil. The divisions grow faster than old clumps. When the new shoots are about 1 to 3 inches in spring, dig out the old clumps and pull them apart very carefully.
Caring for the Plant
You should remove the dried and wilted leaves of the plant. This helps in providing the nutrients and energy to the healthy plants. The plant should be pruned, when it is about 6 inches tall. You will find that your plant is covered with mulch or straw after each blooming season. Once the plant has completed its flowering cycle, you should cut the stem to the soil level. You need to fertilize the plant twice a year, once in spring and once in fall. Use about 1 pound fertilizer per 100 square feet. The soil should be soaked twice in summer and kept moist all the time.
After a hard frost kills your chrysanthemums in winter, you should cut them back to the ground. The plant should be provided with a light and airy mulch of evergreen branches. The constant wetness or ice on leaves is a major concern for this perennial plant during winter. So you may transfer the plant to a dry area, by mounding up the soil around each plant. Also, insulate the roots with a light airy mulch.
You will have a very satisfied gardening experience with the chrysanthemum plant, as it is a long living plant that will overcome winter with no issues.