Sunday, 1 May 2016

Chrysanthemums, A Mother's Day Favourite

Flower of the Month - May 2016  

Chrysanthemums make an inexpensive cut flower to give Mum for Mother's Day. They can last up to 20 days in a vase with care so are an excellent choice.

Wild chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China more than 3000 years ago but were principally only used for their medicinal and edible qualities. These early varieties are far removed from their modern day cousins.

The Japanese really embraced the Chrysanthemum and have even adopted it in their royal crest. Through clever growing practices and skill, chrysanthemums have been used to great advantage in floristry. The Japanese were the first to develop 'Disbud' forms, where only a single flower is allowed to form on a tall, vertical stem by removing all the side shoots and buds during its growth, thereby producing a stunning single bloom.

Chrysanthemum come in many colours and are all shapes, sizes and forms. 

If you are lucky enough to receive some chrysanthemums that are particularly appealing to you, it is possible to propagate by taking some of the side shoots (or 'slips') and planting them in the garden. They quickly form roots and an entire new plant will grow and flower the following season. 

It is important to give them a full-sun position in the garden with very good airflow and drainage, yet moisture-retentive soil. Chrysanthemum are quite prone to fungal problems, so be mindful not to overcrowd and don't water late in the day.

Finding older heritage forms can be a bit problematic but can often be found in 'old' gardens and propagating by slips the best way of obtaining them.

Make sure to prune each flowering stem back by about one-third to promote good strong growth and bud formation for the following autumn.

These flowers carry on the long tradition of honouring someone who stands for kindness, loyalty and love ......... your mum!

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