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Chrysanthemums planting and growing


Chrysanthemums are of many kinds, some being annual flower-garden plants, some perennial border subjects, and one form is the universal florists' plant. In chrysanthemums are now included the pyrethrums.

The annual chrysanthemums must not be confounded with the well-known fall-flowering kinds, as they will prove a disappointment if one expects large flowers of all colors and shapes. The annuals are mostly coarse-growing plants, with an abundance of bloom and a rank smell. The flowers are single in most cases, and not very lasting. They are useful for massing and also for cut-flowers. They are among the easiest of hardy annuals to grow. The stoniest part of the garden will usually suit them. Colors white and shades of yellow, the flowers daisy-like; 1-3 ft.

Amongst perennial kinds, Chrysanthemum frutescens is the well-known Paris daisy or marguerite, one of the most popular of the genus. This makes a good pot-plant for the window-garden, blooming throughout the winter and spring months. It is usually propagated by cuttings, which, if taken in spring, will give large blooming plants for the next winter. Gradually transfer to larger pots or boxes, until the plants finally stand in 6-inch or 8-inch pots or in small soap boxes. There is a fine yellow-flowered variety. The marguerite daisy is much grown out-of-doors in California.

The hardy perennial kinds are small-flowered, late-blooming plants, known to many old people as "artemisias." They have been improved of late years, and they are very satisfactory plants of easy culture. The plants should be renewed from seed every year or two.

In variety of form and color, and in size of bloom, the florists' chrysanthemum is one of the most wonderful of plants. It is a late autumn flower, and it needs little artificial heat to bring it to perfection. The great blooms of the exhibitions are produced by growing only one flower to a plant and by feeding the plant heavily. It is hardly possible for the amateur to grow such specimen flowers as the professional florist or gardener does; neither is it necessary.

A well-grown plant with fourteen to twenty flowers is far more satisfactory as a window-plant than a long, stiff stem with only one immense flower at the apex. The culture is simple, much more so than that of many of the plants commonly grown for house decoration. Although the season of bloom is short, the satisfaction of having a fall display of flowers before the geraniums, begonias, and other house-plants have recovered from their removal from out of doors, repays all efforts. Very good plants can be grown under a temporary shed cover. The roof need not necessarily be of glass. Under such a cover, also, potted plants, in bloom, may be set for protection when the weather becomes too cold.

Cuttings taken in March or April, planted out in the border in May, well tended through the summer and lifted before frost in September, will bloom in October or November. The ground in which the plants are to bloom should be moderately rich and moist. The plants may be tied to stakes. When the buds show, all but the center one of each cluster on the leading shoots should be picked off, as also the small lateral branches. A thrifty bushy plant thus treated will usually have flowers large enough to show the character of the variety, also numbers enough to make a fine display.

After blooming, the plants are lifted from the border. As to the receptacle into which to put them, it need not be a flower-pot. A pail or soap-box, with holes bored for drainage, will suit the plant just as well, and by covering the box with cloth or paper the difference will not be noticed.

If cuttings are not to be had, young plants may be bought of the florists and treated in the manner described. Buy them in midsummer or earlier.

It is best not to attempt to flower the same plant two seasons. After the plant has bloomed, the top may be cut down, and the box set in a cellar and kept moderately dry. In February or March, bring the plant to the sitting-room window and let the shoots start from the root. These shoots are taken for cuttings to grow plants for the fall bloom.