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Hints for chrysanthemums

Thursday, September 22, 2011

If you are like me, you have probably noticed the splashes of yellows, reds, orange and pink showing up around houses lately.

Those splashes of color are from newly purchased chrysanthemums.

Chrysanthemums are one of the most popular plants to have in the late summer and early fall time.

Chrysanthemums come in many different flower types. However, all chrysanthemums technically have flowers that are composed of many individual flowers called florets.

For instance, chrysanthemum flowers may have floret rays that are long and tubular with a hook on the end or have daisy-like flowers with a flat center.

No matter what type of flower it may have, your chrysanthemum can be purchased as either a container plant or be planted in your landscape.

Chrysanthemums range in height from being just a few inches tall up to 4-feet. Generally, the taller varieties will have larger flowers that are often used in flower arrangements.

Ultimately, there are hundreds of different cultivators of chrysanthemums available on the market.

Not all will be available in Indiana because they are not hardy (will not survive winter weather).

If you do end up purchasing a non-hardy chrysanthemum, it should be dug up in the fall after flowering and planted in a cold frame with mulch over it.

Any chrysanthemum that does not say it is for Zone 5 (found on the label) is considered to be non-hardy and stands a chance of not surviving winter.

If you would decide to plant your chrysanthemum in your landscape, then it is important to realize that it needs to receive at least six hours of full sunlight per day. If it does not receive the required amount of sunlight, it will become leggy (very tall), have weaker and fewer stems and small flowers.

In addition to being planted in a location that it will receive plenty of light, it should also be planted in well-drained soil. If the chrysanthemum receives too much moisture, the roots will rot and disease will be prevalent.

Hardy chrysanthemums should be mulched in late fall with up to 6-inches of mulch. That mulch will help protect the plant from harsh winters. The mulch should be removed in the spring.

Then assuming everything goes correctly, your chrysanthemum will reappear over the summer months. As it grows, you should pinch it from time to time to help promote plant growth and flower blooms. All pinching should end by the first of July.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu.

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* Sept. 28 -- Owen County Extension Board meeting,

* Sept. 30 -- Entry deadline for Indiana Beef Evaluation Program. For more information, log on to www.ansc.purdue.edu/ibep/, and

* Oct. 4 -- Clay County Extension Board meeting.