Chrysanthemums and How to Grow Them Well
Theis often called ‘The Queen of the Autumn’, and well deserves the name. A great diversity of form and colour can be produced indoors from October until January, when such beauty is hard to find. Another attraction is its adaptability to different treatments and the way in which the grower’s interest is invited from one year’s end to another. The race is enlarged and mostly improved by numbers of new varieties introduced each season, and there is always the possibility of a new break occurring even in the amateur’s limited collection. The programme of culture is full of interest at every point, and once the heart is given to it few men have either the desire or the strength to give it up.
The culture recommended here is aimed at producing show-quality blooms at the right time, but those wishing to grow for decoration and cutting are strongly advised to follow the same methods, for no flower responds so readily to the highest culture.
The following items of equipment are suggested, though alternatives may be found for some of them without greatly affecting the results.
Greenhouse or Conservatory
This should be sited to catch the maximum of sunlight, particularly in the darker months. Facilities should exist for maintaining the temperature at about 503 F., whatever the conditions outside, during the period November to March. Provision should be made for ample ventilation without draught whatever the direction of the wind. The roof must be perfectly sound since drip is fatal to good results. Cold-frames Sufficient cold-frame space is needed to accommodate the plants during the hardening-off period. The frames must be a little deeper than the normal types, as some varieties may reach 2 feet or so before it is safe to expose them.
Suitable Standing Ground A space open to full air and light is required, on which the plants may spend the summer months. If some protection can be provided from the September gales, so much the better so long as the plants are not unduly enclosed.
Pots in at least three sizes, say 3-inch, 5-inch and 9-inch are needed. Ideally there should be some opportunity of choice between 5-inch and 6-inch and also in the higher range between 8-inch and 10-inch; the reason will be seen later. If the grower has no ambitions for showing, he may dispense with the large pots and grow his plants in the open ground for lifting into the greenhouse.
Strong canes are required of various lengths up to 6 feet. The original cost of both pots and canes is high, but with care they can be made to last a long time.
With a watering-can and some kind of sprayer, either a hand syringe or more costly instrument, the grower can see the job through. Personal aptitude will play a part, and a man must be prepared to give due time and thought to his plants. There are no dark secrets, and anyone who is willing to learn by reading and experience, following this up with an intelligent application of his knowledge to every point of culture, is sure to succeed.
The great thing is not only knowing WHAT to do but also WHY it is done.
The aim in this website has been to give the reason for every part of the programme. Four phases have been distinguished each with a different aim, and if those aims are kept in mind the separate items of culture will be better understood. Three fundamentals will exercise the grower throughout the season. They are: the composition of themixtures, the control of , and the most important matter of watering.