How to bring in chrysanthemum plants in autumn


How to bring in chrysanthemum plants in autumn

It's the middle of October and the last week's had pretty horrible weather. We've had this wonderful Indian summer but it has come rather dramatically to an end and it's been very wet and windy. Outside in the garden, I've got lots of chrysanthemums and we've grown them in large five litre pots with three cuttings of the same variety in each pot. They're just coming into flower and just as they come into flower the weather gets bad so I want to bring them into the greenhouse and sink them in the same bed that the tomatoes have been growing in. So, that's what I'm doing in here now: clearing the tomato bed, literally just cutting off the whole plant, the vine, and then pulling up the roots. We’ll dig it over, put a bit of extra goodness in here, a bit of manure, and then the chrysanthemums will come in here today, in the shelter from the wind and the rain, and they'll carry on flowering into Christmas. The beauty of chrysanthemums is that they give you cut flowers really late in the year.

I've just removed all the support ties for the tomatoes these are cordon varieties that have been trained up a single cane. I'm just going to take the whole vine down and away into a barrow and then the cane will come out and the root can come out. The ring culture pots can just be lifted out and we'll just dig this over and the chrysanthemums can just be slotted in.

So, the tomato bed is clear in the greenhouse now and we've got room for the chrysanthemums. I've come out to the flower bed and you can see that each of these chrysanthemums is actually in a pot.  A lovely root system has come through the bottom of the pot and that will carry on very well in the greenhouse.

This is a perfect opportunity to show you how to do a cutting which you would normally do in the spring.  The bare root of the plant will push up little basal cuttings, little short, stout new shoots and what you can do is just take the odd one (you've got to ignore the bulb on this one because of course that wouldn't be there at that time of year in the spring) and with a sharp knife or scissors you just take the basal cutting off the plant. Remove all but the top pair of leaves, remove the tip - which wouldn't at that stage in the spring include the bulb like it does here - and root that around the edge of a gritty pot of compost.

And now, in this lovely calm, wind-free, rain-free environment where they're going to love it; I love it, but they're going to love it too. Keeping them in the same pot, I’ve just dug a nice big hole, drop them straight in it and fill back around the pot just to secure them and keep them upright. How easy is that?

The beauty of doing this is the first row that's going in are actually very late flowerers and a lot of them, like ‘Shamrock Green’, don't actually flower until November/December time but in here it just doesn’t matter now. Out there they just wouldn’t survive the autumn gales, but in here they're completely protected and we can water them every three or four days. We’ll water them and that's all they’ll need - it couldn't be easier. We can pick these to our hearts’ content right the way through winter.

Happy gardening,


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