How to care for chrysanthemums?
In the garden arsenal there are many perennials, tuberous and bulbous flowers that can become stars of the autumn garden. But today, the main autumn favorites are magnificent chrysanthemums. Moody or more modest and hardy, with a special palette, lush inflorescences and the inimitable seasonality of chrysanthemums - an integral part of a large autumn show. They are not so easy to grow, and timely care is the key to success. But these plants are worth being forgotten about.
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum) Is one of the largest genera among herbaceous perennials and shrubs. Previously, more than two hundred species were distinguished among chrysanthemums, but today many plants have been transferred to the genus of nivyaniks, feverfews, tansy and even leucanthemellae. There has been so much confusion with the classification that even experienced gardeners cannot understand it. But externally, chrysanthemums are always easily recognizable. Regardless of the species, or even whether plants are grown as annuals or perennials, potted or in soil, chrysanthemums remain special stars.
The legendary chrysanthemums won universal love several thousand years ago. And although from the time of imperial honors they have substantially changed, offering today their extraordinary variety, their popularity has never changed. Herbaceous and semi-shrubby, perennial and annual, chrysanthemums always have hard straight shoots, with leaves arranged alternately. Chrysanthemums are also different in size and shape of the leaf, with dissected leaves or simple, by their serration, wholeness or notch edges, greenery. But on the other hand, the dark, rich green, as if muted to emphasize the brightness of lush inflorescences, is the invariable feature of chrysanthemums. Chrysanthemum flowers are small, reed and tubular, form a standard inflorescence-basket, differing only in size, shape of reed flowers and their single or multi-row arrangement. But both simple and varying degrees of terry chrysanthemums are easily recognizable and always look inimitable.
Indian chrysanthemums, which are grown mainly as container beauties, similar to flowering pillows of Korean oak chrysanthemums, rarer and less resistant varieties are distinguished by rather strict soil requirements and different preferences for regular care, though not always too complicated. These plants bloom spectacularly only if they are well cared for.
The right conditions for easy care of chrysanthemums
You can enjoy chrysanthemums without making special efforts and without encountering unpleasant problems only when choosing the optimal conditions. After all, chrysanthemums are still quite capricious cultures. In any soil, in any place, they will not grow and bloom.
Chrysanthemums are photophilous cultures, and only brightly lit areas are selected for them. They are not afraid of drafts and winds, they feel good in open areas, but in such places there may be problems with lodging shoots and falling apart, growing and developing bushes, so it is better to always choose protected areas.
Chrysanthemums will not grow in low areas, with the risk of waterlogging or partial waterlogging of the soil during prolonged rains. Therefore, the best strategy is to choose high places for these autumn stars or to lay down a drain to create more suitable conditions for them.
Chrysanthemums growing in open ground prefer loamy soils with high nutritional value. The soil is too light, or vice versa, clay before planting can be adjusted, but such treatment is best done in advance. Humus, compost, peat are added to the soil, and for heavy soils, sand is also added. Before planting, the soil at the place of cultivation is deeply dug, introducing an additional portion of organic and complete mineral fertilizers, covering them deep enough. For container chrysanthemums use high-quality, permeable, nutritious earth mixtures containing organic fertilizers (optimal - humus). The soil reaction requirements for chrysanthemums are not the same. Most species feel great in neutral ground, but Korean chrysanthemum likes slightly acidic substrates, and keeled is alkaline.
Chrysanthemums tolerate transplanting well, even in a flowering state. The main guarantee of success is the preliminary preparation of the soil with a general improvement of at least a month and additional fertilizer application in a few days.
Chrysanthemum requirements for moisture and watering
Chrysanthemums grown in open soil are so afraid of getting wet and waterlogged that it is better not to water them at all than to overdo it: even during periods of prolonged drought, this magnificent plant can do without watering. True, this does not achieve spectacular and magnificent flowering. Therefore, chrysanthemums are watered regularly, but very carefully, constantly checking the condition of the soil and the plants themselves.
Typically, plants need systemic watering not during flowering, but in the stage of active growth and preparation for the main show. With the beginning of flowering, watering can be stopped, because the risks from this will arise much more than the positive impact.
For chrysanthemums, frequent, but not too plentiful, supportive water procedures are performed. Watering chrysanthemums is worth warm water, carefully, without soaking the leaves and not pouring water into the base of the bush. Attention should be paid to the characteristics of water: soft rather than hard water is more suitable for chrysanthemums.
Of course, all chrysanthemums grown in containers, flower pots and pots need the same neat but systemic watering. The soil moisture for such plants should be light, the substrate is allowed to dry in the upper and even partially middle layer between these procedures.
Pruning and shaping chrysanthemums
In order for the chrysanthemums to form dense, compact bushes, the shoots of the plant can be pinched or slightly shortened tops, forming the plant itself at its discretion. In small-flowered chrysanthemums, pinching is traditionally carried out in the first half of June. Usually on any chrysanthemum, a double pinch is preferable - first the main, and then the lateral shoots formed after it. Regardless of the type of chrysanthemum, it is not necessary to conduct pinching on this plant.
Regular removal of fading flowers allows you to extend flowering and keep the bushes neat and attractive. Also, on chrysanthemums, damaged, dry or too contaminated leaves should be removed in a timely manner. Some gardeners recommend taking off the oldest leaves to reduce the likelihood of infection and the occurrence of problems in this regard.
If the chrysanthemums are high, in order to avoid breaking off fairly fragile shoots, it is better to establish supports in a timely manner and, as the bushes grow, start tying them up.
For winter, the bushes of perennial chrysanthemums are pruned before shelter. The plant does not need to be cut to soil level - bushes are usually shortened to stumps about 10 cm high.
Chrysanthemums can be mulched, stabilizing the soil and reducing the number of procedures for loosening it. But more often a standard approach is used for chrysanthemums - during weed removal, loosening the soil and not creating a layer of mulch. For chrysanthemums, aeration should be carried out to a shallow depth, trying to avoid the risk of contact with the roots.
The best option is to combine loosening during the period of active growth with mulching during flowering. Loosening is carried out in spring and early summer, and then instead of them create a layer of mulch 6-8 cm high, which is stored until next spring. For mulching chrysanthemums, humus, peat and other materials can be used.
The soil for potted chrysanthemums is loosened 2-3 times during the summer.
Chrysanthemums need regular feeding. Growing in pots or containers, as well as annual chrysanthemums, can be fed either as regular summer plants with frequent top dressing once every 2-3 weeks, or in the same way as perennial species.
The traditional feeding strategy includes three procedures:
- The first top dressing is carried out in the spring or during the period of active growth, but it is necessary - before the start of budding. For the plant, full mineral fertilizers are applied with twice the nitrogen content or they are used in one portion of nitrogen and complex mixtures.
- The second top dressing is carried out at the stage of budding. For it, you can use both potash and phosphorus, as well as full mineral fertilizers or special preparations for flowering plants.
- The third top dressing is carried out after the beginning of flowering, approximately in the middle of this phase or 2-3 weeks after the opening of the first flowers. For this top dressing, special fertilizers are used for flowering plants or potassium-phosphorus mixtures.
In addition to basic dressings, chrysanthemums respond well to treatment with growth stimulants. Before the buds begin to swell, it is possible to spray the solution with an accelerator or add preparations to the water for irrigation in the proportion indicated by the manufacturers at the stage of budding.
For chrysanthemums, part of the dressings can be replaced with solutions of organic fertilizers.
When feeding, it is important to prevent soaking even the lower leaves, water drops.
It is believed that garden chrysanthemums should be replanted every 3-4 years to prevent fading of flowers and problems with the health of the bush. A transplant is carried out in the spring, combining it with separation, carefully, trying to minimize damage to the roots.
For winter, perennial chrysanthemums need protection. For chrysanthemums, the method of mulching the soil and hilling with dry leaves or sawdust is most often combined. In November, at the beginning of the month, when the night temperature stabilizes, the bushes of chrysanthemums are pruned. If mulching is not created in the summer, the soil is covered with a layer of traditional mulch, and a layer of leaves or other dry materials with a height of 20 to 30 cm is laid on top of it.
If you grow a variety with low frost resistance, planted chrysanthemums with unknown characteristics in the soil, then for the winter the plants are transferred to pots. They remove the leaves from them and, together with the earthen lump, transfer them to containers and boxes. Store chrysanthemums in winter at a temperature of about 5 degrees Celsius. The temperature is raised, and the plants are brought to light when the shoots start to grow, while at the same time starting to lightly water the bushes. Chrysanthemums are planted back into the soil as soon as the weather permits.
If the plant continues to bloom during the first autumn frosts, then it is necessary to protect the bushes in advance with non-woven materials or a film in order to protect inflorescences and shoots from damage and maintain decorativeness.
Pest and Disease Control
Chrysanthemums are hardly hardy cultures. They often, even, it would seem, under optimal conditions, pests and diseases appear. In many respects everything depends on good luck and weather.
Most often, perennial chrysanthemums are gray rot, mold and powdery mildew. It is necessary to fight diseases with systemic fungicides.
Nematodes also cause problems for many potted or varietal chrysanthemums, which can only be combated with transplanting or plant destruction, and in the garden, followed by refusal to grow chrysanthemums for 2 to 3 years in the affected area.
They love the greens of chrysanthemums snails, slugs, ticks, aphids and even earwigs. To protect against slugs, it is better to take preventive measures in a timely manner. But insects should be fought immediately with insecticides.