Chrysanthemums are often sneered at by flower enthusiasts. Their reputation as a petrol station forecourt "last minute thought" is hard to overcome. However, I grew a few different varieties last year and I was overwhelmed by their vivid colours, strong silhouettes and different flower heads. They have a long vase life (hence their status at the garage forecourt) and they mingle well with
a variety of other flowers.
The arrangement above uses scented geranium, flannal flower and feverfew to create a relaxed autumnal feel and screams sumptuous, relaxed elegance. See? There's a lot more to chrysanthemums than you might think. Shop varieties are chosen for their ability to travel long distances and survive rather than how they look. That's one of the bonuses of buying local - the flowers only travel by wheelbarrow, straight into water and straight to the customer. Am I plugging my business? Of course I am! I can't wait to start showcasing all the flowers I can grow that you may not find in a high street florist because they are too delicate to travel from the wholesaler. Anyway, back to chrysanths.......
This year I have the task of propogating from the Mother plants. Chrysanthemums grow best from fresh stock and you also have the added benefit of making many more plants.
It might sound daunting but it's actually quite an easy process. The key is to get everything organised before you start.
You will need a sharp clean pen knife, some squeaky clean pots, a mix of Potting Mix and Vermiculite and some hormone rooting powder. I add vermiculite to my potting mix to keep the structure of the compost open. Excess moisture can make the vulnerable seedlings collapse
and wither away.
Simply take your knife and slice through a stem close to the main stem. Sometimes you can simply pull the stem away. It should come away easily.
Trim the bottom off the stem and the bottom leaves.
Dip the stem into the rooting hormone powder and shake off any excess.
Using your pen knife, pen or stick make a hole in the potting mixture, pop the cutting in and firm in gently.
Then just water in and keep in a warm spot out of direct sunlight. There's still a way to go before I'll be enjoying blooms from these cuttings. However, that's what flower farming is all about. Plotting and planning for a day way off in the future. In the meantime enjoy some photos of last season's chrysanthemum glory!