With myriad colours and habits, these favourites will keep blooming well until winter, says Graham Rice
All over the world, there are chrysanthemums in flower every day. These are special greenhouse varieties, grown using sophisticated techniques to ensure there are always plants in bloom and ready to pick as cut flowers. In the garden, flowering occurs in a much narrower window and now’s the time for hardy outdoor varieties to come into their own. They’re grown pretty much in the same way as other hardy perennials, without the need for the special breeding and techniques that cut-flower growers use. Plants labelled Korean, rubellum and outdoor spray chrysanthemums all come under the banner of hardy garden chrysanthemums, but don’t worry about the names of the different groups. A few start to open towards the end of August, but it’s September and October, when so many other perennials are winding down, that are the peak months, with many continuing into November and a few even into December. The flower types vary from single and anemonecentred to double and dainty pompons, but they’ve all got things in common: they’re easy to grow as long as drainage is good, they love the sun and they last well when cut to bring indoors. I wouldn’t be without them.
Position Best in full sun, or with a little shade. In low light, growth is leggy and flowering is poor. Hardiness All are hardy in most parts of the country, assuming plants are never waterlogged. Height x Spread 10-150cm x 10-150cm Care Rejuvenate the plants every two or three years by lifting, dividing and replanting the strongest growth every three years. Where to buy Order now for delivery in spring. Halls of Heddon, hallsofheddon.com, 01661 852445; Norwell Nurseries, norwellnurseries.co.uk, 01636 636337; Woottens of Wenhaston, woottensplants.co.uk, 01502 478258
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Chrysanthemums Feed/mulch Cut back Flowering/deadhead