In late June, I cut back my chrysanthemums to make sure they’re compact and full of buds when flowering time comes in September and October. You can root the pieces you cut back from your own plants, and have dozens more plants the following year. It’s very easy to do.
Rooting cuttings of chrysanthemums:
1. Cut back the stems of your chrysanthemum plants by about half, cutting just above a leaf node (where the leaves join the stem).
Chrysanthemum plant before its haircut
Chrysanthemum plant after its haircut.
2. Separate the stems. Cuttings should include between 3 and 6 leaf nodes. Remove the growing tips to force the plant’s energy into making a vigorous root ball. Then remove the leaves from the bottom half to 1/3 of the stem.
Begin with the tips cut off from the mother plant.
Remove the growing tip from your cuttings. This forces the plant to put energy into making roots.
Trim leaves away from the bottom half of your cuttings.
3. Pour a small amount of rooting hormone into a container. Don’t dip stems directly into the container, which could contaminate the entire jar. Thoroughly coat the cut end of the stems with hormone.
A jar of rooting hormone.
Coat the stripped end of the stem thoroughly in rooting hormone.
4. Use a chopstick, pencil, or other tool to make a hole for the cutting in a pan of sterile potting mix. Insert the cutting into the hole, and firm back around the cutting. Water the cuttings gently, using a rose attachment on a watering can, a light setting on a hose nozzle, or a fine mist from a sink sprayer.
Use a tool to make a hole for the cutting.
Do not overcrowd your pot with cuttings. Allow room for air to circulate, as shown.
Water cuttings gently, as you would do with a pot of seeds.
5. I keep my cuttings outside, weather permitting (i.e., it’s not freezing). I put them in a shady spot, like a north-facing wall, where they can get rainfall but not direct sun. Keep the tray watered if the weather is dry; do not allow the mix to dry out entirely.
6. Your cuttings will be ready when a gentle tug on the leaves gives resistance. If the cutting doesn’t come out easily, it has formed a good root mass. In early summer, the process takes me about one month. You can then transplant the cuttings into the garden. Keep them pinched back and watered, and you’ll have abundant flowers in fall.