Chrysanthemums! Some people love them, and some people hate them! Chrysanthemum plants are grown from cuttings. I really don’t know the specifics of this, but apparently, the best flowers come from plants with fresh root stock.
While you can order cuttings online, I find that it's best to take cuttings from the plants from last year's garden. Often you'll see new growth coming from the base of these plants when the weather begins to warm in the spring. The plants we'll take the cutting from is known as the "stool". Here in my zone 7 garden, the stools usually begin to produce new growth towards the end of February. If last year's mums didn't overwinter, cuttings from new plants will work wonderfully, too.
A quick search for taking cuttings online will reveal gardeners propagating plants using grow lights and heating mats. For the novice gardener (and me) this might seem a little intimidating. The good news, however, is that there is a much simpler way! In a sense, winter sowing containers are nothing more than mini-propagators, acting to provide the best conditions for seed germination. With this thought, I had one of those awesome eureka-light bulb-type moments! I would put my cuttings into winter sowing containers, and root the cuttings outside! Even though the weather had still not turned and I was far from being frost-free, this was a HUGE SUCCESS. 38/38 cuttings. 100% SUCCESS.
Here’s how I did it:
End of February – I notice new growth on the chrysanthemum stools (last year’s chrysanthemum plant after being cut back). I dig them up and place them into winter sowing containers to encourage new and more rapid growth.
End of March/Early April – Stools have produced enough new growth to take cuttings. I wasn’t specific about this. I simply snapped off 1-2 inch stems from the plants, usually directly under a leaf node. Then, I put the cuttings into their own winter sowing containers. After I sealed the winter sowing containers, I placed them into cool spot. I chose a place that receives sunlight in the early morning and shade in the afternoon and evening. Keeping the containers moist was also a key aspect. I used normal potting soil, and went without rooting hormone (I didn’t have any, lol).
Beginning of May – By the beginning of May. All 38 of the cuttings had taken root. During hot days (80F and above), I sometimes removed the tops of the winter sowing containers. In fact, after the cuttings had rooted, I permanently removed the tops of the containers.
That’s it! I hope that this was somehow helpful! If you’re more of a visual person, definitely be sure to check the YouTube video that accompanies this post! As always, be sure to leave any comments below. I'd be happy to help!