All the gardening books are adamant - Chrysanthemums will do better if you start afresh with new cuttings each year than if you just let the old plants sprout again.
I've always been very obedient. Over the winter the old plants die down, but by spring, shoots are - well, shooting up from the base. And I always pull them off to use them as cuttings.
This isn't intended to be a how-to post, but just in case anyone is interested, it's dead easy. You need shoots at least two inches long. Pull them off gently, then cut the stem straight across just below a leaf node. Again gently, pinch off the lower leaves, leaving just a couple at the top. Pop them into some damp potting compost and - well, just wait. They may look a bit floppy at first, but one day (a month or so later) you'll suddenly notice that they've perked up - and you'll know they've rooted.
There are variations on a theme of course. You could try dipping them in hormone rooting powder before planting them. But I never have, (I can't get the stuff locally)and four out of five have always made it - just plant more than you need. Or you can cover them in a propagator - but I'm getting ahead of my story.
We've had an exceptionally cold winter. Lots of my plants haven't made it and, for the first time, that includes my chrysanthemums. Last autumn I had five plants in this container, all taken from cuttings the previous spring ...
... by this spring only two had survived, and another plant (top photo) was looking extremely sorry for itself.
Now, by rights, I should have stripped all three plants of their new shoots and potted them all up to create new plants. But the bad weather has meant putting it off, and off, and off. Up to ten days ago, night-time temperatures were still below zero - not the best time to take cuttings.
I'm one of those people who, though having enormous respect for the experience of experts, does like to see things for myself. It's not that I don't believe them - I just want to try it out. So I thought that this year I might try an experiment. For the large white variety which was half dead, I've salvaged two cuttings and thrown the mother plant away. But for the little yellow variety, I've mainly left them as they are, only taking enough cuttings to fill the gaps left by the ones that died this winter. Three cuttings have gone into the spaces around the two survivors and I've got a couple more in pots in case those three don't make it. Will the gardening books be right ? In the autumn we'll see which are producing the best blooms - the old plants or the new cuttings.
I'm giving the cuttings a bit more help than usual this year though - by covering them to create a more humid, and warmer atmosphere. I've never bothered before, but with the long, cold winter having delayed everything, I reckon they need all the help they can get. The DIY "propagators" are just cut-off mineral water bottle bottoms. They can either be pushed into the soil around the plant (if it's already in its growing position), or fitted over small pots.