Thursday, November 13, 2008

The weather is still warm enough to transport Chrysanthemums in open vehicle

How about those mums!? Temperatures still not dipping below the low 30s F and we have had almost an inch of rain over the past few days. That's a good thing! Fall perennials, camellias, and lingering annuals are hanging in there to good effect.

These are large flowered "disbud chrysanthemums" and while they are often grown in elaborate frames and trained to a single stem to produce outrageously large flowers, they can be grown in the open garden and with a bit of disbudding will produce plants similar to those in the truck. The earlier maturing varieties are less likely to fall victim to a premature hard frost, but we didn't use any supplemental heat to produce these plants. There are a number of sources for these plants but King's Mums in Clements California is a good place to start. Anyway it's a fun site to look at with beautiful photos of the astounding varieties and instructions for their culture.

When I was in my late teens I grew disbuds; built the frames and the 4' stakes, disbudded to a single stem, covered the frames with plastic when temperatures fell into the 20s F. It was fun but was too unnatural a technique for my own style. We grow them a bit more freely, allowing at least 2 stems and often 4 or 5. This makes the plants shorter, more natural looking, and earier to maintain. The blooms are obviously still huge; they don't need to be twice this size! The gradual warming associated with Global Climate Change (sic) has made it likely that these mums can complete their flowering cycles without needing protection from the cold. That has been the case for us the past two years. There is staking involved and the disbudding demands a bit of time, so I guess it's not for everyone, but they are beautiful plants.

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