Chrysanthemum Hints and Tips

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Garden flowering varieties of chrysanthemum can be planted outdoors this month, weather permitting. The prepared bed should be given a final raking to get rid of any newly germinated weeds and the plants planted out at the same depth as they were in their pots. Planting too deep can slow down growth - firm in the young plants enough to keep them upright. If the aim is to grow flowers for cutting then the best way to support them is by using welded wire mesh fencing material with approximately 150 - 200mm squares laid horizontally and supported by four corner posts. In this way many plants can be accommodated and supported in an area - planting one plant in the centre of each square and the mesh can be raised as the plants grow to provide support at the right level. Plants in the borders for general decoration should be given the support of a suitable cane and tied in as they grow. Slugs or snails may be a problem and should be dealt with using pellets or slug pubs as preferred.

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If you are growing your plants for decoration, they will require 'stopping', by removing the growing tips. This should be done before the 3rd week in June, otherwise they may be susceptible to autumn frosts. Keep the roots of plants watered and mist them at the end of a hot day. The plants will benefit from a feed and don't forget to inspect them for aphids which you can remove by hand. Plants grown in the greenhouse can be repotted into 9in. pots and moved outside. If you are growing for exhibition, incurved and single varieties should be 'stopped' again (previously done in April).


Plants growing outdoors will make very vigorous growth this month and stems should be limited to five or so per plant in order to encourage really big blooms. Careful attention should continue to be given to tying and supporting plants and weekly watering will be essential if the weather is at all dry. All plants will benefit from the application of a balanced fertilizer in the middle of the month but take care to keep dry fertilizer off the foliage.


Flower buds will be forming very rapidly now and if you want single large flowers you will need to disbud the stems to just one per stem. In dry weather water the plants at least once a week and apply fertilizer once the flower buds are showing some colour. As the plants continue to grow and the flower stems become heavier with flowers you will need to provide good support to prevent broken stems and wind damage.

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Chrysanthemums will be in full flower this month. Allow those for cutting to become well developed. Once cut, remove the lower 12 inches of leaves and stand in a foot of water in a cool place for 1 day before arranging.
Pot-grown plants should be well watered and then moved into the greenhouse mid month. Ensure the glass is clean as they will need as much light as possible. Clean the pots, removing any dead or damaged leaves. Ensure there is space between each plant. If possible, keep the greenhouse door and windows open for the first couple of weeks. Disbud late varieties and apply weak fertilizer until the buds show some colour, towards the end of September.


Chrysanthemum plants will be coming to the end of their flowering season now and there are a number of options to consider for their overwintering. In the south of England it is perfectly acceptable to overwinter your plants in the ground as long as it is not prone to waterlogging and you don't have a particular problem with slugs. Simply remove any dead leaves and that's it - leave the foliage on until spring. In the north or if you prefer you can lift them out of the bed and store them in either a cold frame protected from frost or a light and airy greenhouse. To do this cut the plants down to about six inches from the ground, lift them, rinse the plants off in water and bed them into boxes filled with potting compost - cover them to a depth similar to that which they were planted to and water them in sparingly.


Keep beds clear of weeds, especially chickweed and docks, which host pests harmful to chrysanthemums. Dormant stools should be kept moist in the greenhouse or cold frame. Exhibition varieties will flower this month. Restrict the temperature to 10 degrees centigrade, only closing vents if frosty. Once the plants have finished flowering, cut the stem to within 6 inches of the soil. This will encourage base cuttings growth.

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If it has been frosty, check the ground around the plants and firm them in again if necessary. For chrysanthemums under glass, maintain a steady supply of moisture to the roots with a consistent temperature of approximately 10 degrees centigrade. Remember to ventilate the greenhouse. Exhibition varieties can be propagated towards the end of December.


Firm the soil around chrysanthemums where it has been loosened by frost. If the ground is waterlogged aerate it with a fork. In the greenhouse continue to maintain a temperature of 10 degrees centigrade and take cuttings of exhibition varieties. Remove shoots longer than 3 in. from stools which will maintain the stock in good condition, before propagating in Spring. Cuttings that you took last month may be ready to pot up.


Keep any early germinating weeds at bay and firm any ground around the plants which has been loosened by frost. Slugs may start to be a problem and will need to be controlled this month. Plants being grown under glass will need close attention as they can quickly dry out during sunny days even at this time of year - again slugs may start to be a problem in the greenhouse or cold frame.

Buy seeds and plants from Thompson and Morgan.


Dig beds over applying plenty of organic matter to the upper layer. Test the pH which needs to be about 6.8. Final preparation will take place in April or May. Move plants from the greenhouse into a cold frame but provide protection from frost. Take cuttings from old plants or stools, rooting them in a mixture of two-thirds peat to one-third sharp sand. Moisten the peat and mix carefully. Remove the bottom leaves and trim just below a joint, dipping in hormone rooting powder. Soak the pots and stand over gentle heat, providing shade in sunny weather. Do not water the cuttings again until they change from looking limp to greener and showing signs of growth. Pot on once rooted, taking care not to damage the tender roots. Cuttings potted in January or February will also need to be repotted.


Apply a general fertiliser to ground that is ready for planting. Move outdoor flowering varieties out of the greenhouse; these will be planted in a couple of weeks. Provide protection from frost and wind. Early-flowering varieties may need stopping; this is achieved by pinching out the top of the main stem. Side shoots will then be encouraged which will eventually bear flowers.
Pot on plants propagated in March. Exhibition varieties may also need stopping, especially exhibition incurves which generally need to be stopped towards the middle of the month. Watch for aphids and greenfly and either pick off or spray. Water plants early in the day, taking care not to over-water.

Gardening information, hints and tips on how to get the best from Chrysanthemums in your garden including planting, support, growing for cut flowers, and general care advice.