Chrysanthemums: Expert Knowledge And Care Tips

Thanks to the chrysanthemums, there is still a lot going on in the garden in terms of color, even in autumn. Here are helpful tips for the proper care of chrysanthemums. Chrysanthemums ( Chrysanthemum ) delight the heart of every garden friend again in autumn. The genus from the sunflower family ( Asteraceae ) is one of the last to flower, but with its colorful, simple to double flowers, it is in no way inferior to the plants of earlier seasons.

On the contrary, they are unrivaled due to the late flowering and, especially in warm copper tones, round off the overall autumnal picture of every garden or balcony. Nevertheless, they are extremely undemanding garden dwellers who, with the right care and minimal winter protection, can usually be enjoyed for years.

Chrysanthemums: meaning and origin

The name chrysanthemum is derived from ancient Greek and means “the gold blossom” or “gold flower”. By giving away a chrysanthemum, you signal: My heart is free. In Japan, the chrysanthemum is considered the national flower. The Chrysanthemum Order is one of the highest honors there. In China, the plant stands for prosperity and happiness, in France, on the other hand, for death and mourning. This important autumn bloomer originally comes mainly from East Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Russia).

The garden chrysanthemum ( Chrysanthemum × morifolium ), a hybrid of different species, has been cultivated in China for 1,600 years. It is considered to be one of the most important horticultural crops, which is also reflected in the thousands of cultivars. The pretty flowers are actually something for the eye in two ways because in Ayurvedic medicine they are used against eye infections and skin blemishes. In rare cases, however, contact with the parts of the plant leads to allergies and skin irritations.

When is the flowering time of chrysanthemums?

The individual inflorescences are cup-shaped and bloom in autumn mostly from September to November. The female ray florets with their pink to red or yellow tongues are differentiated from the hermaphrodite tubular florets, which shine in yellow. Cultivated varieties now also offer other colors, as well as multi-colored and double flowers. By the way, varieties in pink and purple tones bloom the longest.

The single inflorescences bloom from September to November

The single inflorescences bloom from September to November

The single inflorescences bloom from September to November 

Pink varieties bloom the longest

Pink varieties bloom the longest

Bring color into the dreary autumn

Note: The bloom formation can be stimulated and thus shifted forwards by briefly covering the plants in summer and thus simulating shorter days. Because, like with the poinsettia, flower formation does not begin until the equinox.

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Chrysanthemum Indicum: The autumn chrysanthemum in your own garden

The autumn chrysanthemum ( Chrysanthemum Indicum ) is ideal for planting in the garden due to its good winter hardiness. This perennial species blooms in our latitudes from August to November and appears in a wide variety of colors depending on the variety. So your perennial bed can give everything again in autumn. The following must be observed when planting:

  • Location: Sunny and sheltered from the wind
  • Soil: garden soil; nutrient-rich; permeable
  • Planting time: spring to early summer (March-May)

You can do something good for bees with single-flowered autumn chrysanthemums, as these serve as a late source of food for them.

Choose a sunny and sheltered location for your chrysanthemum

Chrysanthemums on the balcony and in the garden

If the chrysanthemums are to be planted in the garden, it is best to use the more robust garden or autumn chrysanthemums. With the right protection, these can be overwintered outside. The planting time is May so that the plants have enough time to establish themselves properly in the ground before winter. Pot chrysanthemums that are more sensitive to frost are also suitable for the balcony, but they prefer to move to a protected winter quarter in the cold season.

The difference is not only in the different winter hardiness of the varieties but also in the rearing of the autumn bloomers. While potted chrysanthemums are grown in the greenhouse, the garden variant grows outdoors. This not only affects the resistance but also promotes a longer flowering phase with intensely colored flowers.

Pot chrysanthemums that are more sensitive to frost are also suitable for the balcony

The right location for chrysanthemums

Whether on the balcony or in the garden, the plants feel comfortable in a suitable spot and give you their full bloom in autumn. The following applies here:

  • Location: sunny to partial shade; dry; sheltered from the wind
  • Soil: rich in nutrients; permeable; calcareous; not too dry or damp

A dry and sheltered place is particularly important if the plants are to be overwintered outside. A protected place on the house wall is suitable here, for example. In the case of less permeable soils, winter moisture in particular can be a problem. Lay out a drainage layer of gravel or potsherds or loosen up the soil by mixing in the sand. You can combine it with grasses or other late bloomers as you wish. Keep the planting distance to each other small, because chrysanthemums grow only sparsely after planting.

Chrysanthemums love sunny and sheltered locations

Chrysanthemums in the pot

Chrysanthemums are one of the last flowering plants of the year and allow the flowering garden season to extend again. For the autumn bloomers to grow into a veritable ornament on the balcony, terrace, or even as a houseplant, the following must be observed:

  • Substrate: flower, vegetable, or herb soil
  • Pot: drain pipe; Drainage layer (gravel, pottery shards)
  • Location: No direct sun

It is particularly important to create good water drainage for the plants that are sensitive to waterlogging. Do not place the pot or bucket on a saucer so that excess water can drain off. In addition, the flowers are only hardy to -2 ° C. If there is a risk of frost, it is better to put the pot inside overnight. After flowering, perennial chrysanthemums are cut back just above the ground and overwintered in protected winter quarters.

This also applies to indoor chrysanthemums, because the plants also need their winter rest. Alternatively, the chrysanthemums are planted uncut in the bed after flowering. Specimens planted in this way should come back even better next year than those left in the pot. When planting out, just make sure that the ground is not frozen.

Note: Chrysanthemums are also suitable as indoor plants, especially because of their modesty compared to the given lighting conditions. They even thrive on a north window.

Repot the chrysanthemums

Perennial chrysanthemums have to be repotted now and then because they multiply through runners and root through the pot very quickly. To ensure compact growth, repotting and thinning take place every two years. If you want to save yourself the additional fertilization, the plant is moved to new soil once a year after wintering.

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Caring for chrysanthemums properly

Chrysanthemums are easy to care for and, depending on the variety, extremely robust. Only when watering do you need a little dexterity with the watering-sensitive plants.

How often do chrysanthemums need to be watered?

Chrysanthemums need a lot of liquid, especially during the flowering period. Water during the vegetation phase as soon as the surface has dried out. Daily watering is therefore essential on summer days. It is also watered on rainy days, because the plants often grow very densely, which is why there is usually not enough water at the roots. The soil is kept evenly moist. Make sure that the plant is never in water.

Despite the high water demand, waterlogging is very poorly tolerated and quickly leads to root rot. In addition, chrysanthemums are always watered from below so that the risk of fungal attack is not increased by wet leaves and flowers. In winter, during the rest period, watering is only done in such a way that the earth does not dry out completely.

Chrysanthemums need a lot of liquid, especially during the flowering period

How often do chrysanthemums need fertilization?

In terms of nutrient requirements, chrysanthemums are very frugal despite their autumnal blooms. Annual potted chrysanthemums do not have to be fertilized at all. You are satisfied with what the fresh potting soil has to offer. In the case of perennial specimens, the soil is renewed after overwintering or fertilized with compost from the second year from April to September.

One of the advantages of using organic fertilizer instead of a mineral one is that it promotes life in the soil. A healthy microbiome is important for the well-being of your green companion, especially in the limited width of a pot. For perennial chrysanthemums in the bed, compost, or an organic fertilizer in the granulate form such as our organic flower fertilizer with a long-term effect is fertilized in spring.

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When and how are chrysanthemums cut?

In and of itself, only perennial chrysanthemums need to be pruned. The shoots of the potted chrysanthemums are cut back about finger-length after flowering. In the bed, the plants are only shortened to a quarter after wintering, and dried-out parts of the plant are completely removed. This gives the plant additional protection from cold temperatures. In addition, faded inflorescences should be cleaned out regularly. This ensures a longer-lasting flowering. This also applies to annual varieties. Occasional pruning also promotes beautiful, bushy, and low growth.

The shoots of the potted chrysanthemums are cut back about finger-length after flowering
Summary: Properly caring for chrysanthemums

  • Watering during the vegetation phase: When the substrate has dried out on the surface
  • Watering in winter: the substrate should not dry out completely
  • Fertilize potted chrysanthemums: Not in the first year, then from April to September with organic liquid fertilizer or compost
  • Fertilize garden chrysanthemums: In spring with compost or organic fertilizer in granulate form
  • Cut potted chrysanthemums: After flowering to finger length
  • Pruning garden chrysanthemums: after wintering to ¼; Remove dried up shoots

Are chrysanthemums actually perennial?

Chrysanthemums are perennial plants, but not all varieties are hardy. In particular, chrysanthemums from supermarkets, discounters, construction centers, and garden centers die at temperatures below -5 ° C and therefore often end up on the compost after flowering. Even if the supply of hardy garden chrysanthemums there increases from year to year, it is worth going to the knowledgeable perennial nursery or the grower.

Successfully overwintering chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums in the bed are covered with a protective layer of coniferous branches before the first frost. Leaves or straw should not be used for chrysanthemums, because too much moisture is stored here and the chrysanthemums start to rot. Water is only poured on frost-free days. The potted chrysanthemums that have been cut back after flowering are overwintered in a light and cool, but frost-free manner.

The temperature should be a maximum of 10 ° C. An unheated greenhouse or winter garden is best. A place in a bright basement, stairwell, or in the gazebo is also sufficient. Alternatively, in areas with mild winters, potted chrysanthemums can be overwintered outside in a large pot. For this, the pot is wrapped in several layers of newspaper or bubble wrap, or the chrysanthemum is planted with the pot in the bed. In April, your chrysanthemums can then be taken outside or unpacked.

An unheated greenhouse or winter garden is best for wintering

Care for chrysanthemums after overwintering

After overwintering, when the temperatures become milder again, garden chrysanthemums can be pruned. From March onwards, all shoots are shortened to a quarter with clean, sharp secateurs, and wilted parts of the plant are cut off just above the ground. The new shoots are not injured if possible. Chrysanthemums in the pot get new soil and so joyfully sprout again. Alternatively, the fertilization is adjusted.

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