Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's time to stop ...


... your chrysanthemums.

Back in March I talked about the chrysanthemum cuttings I'd taken, and how I wanted to see whether, as all the books told me, cuttings planted anew would give a better show than if I just left them on the plant. Here they were back then - three cuttings sheltered between the two mother plants.



And here they are now.



So far no contest. In terms of growth the old plants are far outstripping the babies. But of course there's plenty of time yet before they flower. So far the new plants must have been putting most of their energy into developing roots. So we still need to wait and see...

They do need attention though. As you can see from this one in an individual pot, what growth there has been is all upward.


Now if you want large, single blooms, that's fine. But if you'd prefer a mass of smaller ones, then you need to "stop" the plant - that is, pinch out the central growing tip so that side shoots will form and, eventually, flower.

If you really get into it, stopping is an art form all of its own. Should it be done once or twice? When exactly? How many side shoots should be encouraged to develop? It depends where you live, what you want the blooms for, even what cultivar you've got. Have a look at this site for an idea, but believe me - whole books have been written on the subject.

Luckily, unless you're trying to produce blooms for show purposes, you can be much more cavalier about it. I stop mine once when they get to about six inches in height, some time in May, and then let them get on with it. And the actual pinching out is easy. See the new little leaves growing at the top of the stem ?


Gone ....


And come November, they'll be bursting with blooms.




5 comments:

Daphne said...

Fascinating! I keep overwintering a geranium in my basement and have wondered whether it would be better to do cuttings or keep on leaving the poor dismal thing out in public in the spring until it puts on new leaves--I'll be watching your chrysanthemums with interest.

Jan said...

They're looking very healthy. I've just pinched my tomatoes out, although you're probably not meant to do that, but I want them to be bushy rather than tall.

AaronVFT said...

They looks so cute! Too bad chrysanthemums usually die off after we buy it for Chinese New Year here.

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

I always pinch back my mums to make more blooms.

Helen at summerhouse said...

Always some good info here. I wish I was as organized as you are. I do want to find new plants by getting cuttings so this is something I really need to learn more about. Thank you.

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