Speaker: Bryan Madders
Date: 26th October
Liam introduced our speaker as the Chairman and Secretary of the New Forest & District Dahlia & Chrysanthemum Society and a Show Judge. Bryan then told us that 40 years ago most people grew Chrysanthemums but sadly only 5 % of the gardening population do so now. They come in a fantastic range of colours and forms, are easy to grow and give you a long season of blooms to enjoy in the garden and as cut flowers for the house. Bryan gave us tips for growing these stunning flowers and inspired us to try some of these stars of the late summer and autumn garden.
He favours the spray type and gave instructions on how to produce new plants from old. Plant up the old flowering stalls in a cold green house until the following spring and then take the new shoots as 11/2 inch cuttings and pot up using rooting powder if you wish in free draining sand/perlite or vermiculite mixed compost out of the sun, and use CuSo4 to prevent rotting off. When they have “taken” i.e. bright green leaf in the centre of the cutting, pot on and label.
Don’t over water or they will be all “top and no bottom”, good roots are needed. By the end of May the spray Chrysanthemums are ready to plant out in the garden in previously enriched soil. Mulch between rows. Snip out the growing tip for more side shoots to grow. Snip out the double varieties earlier than the single ones. For a big central flower, debud continuously. For shows some growers protect the flowers with paper bags and the like. Reflex blooms are popular for showing.
He mentioned pests and diseases; American White Rust can be a problem, which starts with brown stains on the leaves and can defoliate plants and aphids and earwigs which can be controlled with soapy water. Singles or late flowering anemone centered varieties can be grown in clay pots and can grow up to 9’ tall but a height retardant can be used. Stop only twice by the end of April or early June.
“Fantasies” from Japan with scraggy heads. Bryan finished up with some more cultivation hints leading into a question and answer session. Pot mums which must be grown quickly can be obtained from a garden centre in the spring, then feed and pinch out for side shoots.
If kept in a 2 litre pot they will produce many flowers. Korean Chrysanthemums are easy to grow, are hardy and flower in the late autumn, pom poms can be grown as perennials.