Can Chrysanthemums be grown outdoors for late Autumn flowering?

Can Chrysanthemums be grown outdoors for late Autumn flowering?

Chrysanthemums are fantastic Autumn flowers, and can be giving out blooms way after the Dahlias and summer flowers have finished. They are often described as Greenhouse blooms, and yes, they're great if they are given some protection, but can you grow them outside and get excellent flowers from them despite Autumn frosts and rain?

I've been trying out lots of varieties of Chrysanthemums over the last 10 years, (here's a post from 8 years ago, when I'd got rather a lot of varieties! )and I've rather fallen in love with the later varieties. Although I do grow some under protection in my Polytunnel, I'm going to give you some information about some late varieties that will actually do well outside.

1st, let's make it clear that the Chrysanthemums I'm talking about are not hardy plants. - That means that if they are left in the ground all winter, and are subjected to a typical UK winter (even in southern Surrey) with wet and cold, they don't always come through.

My typical year for them is

October - end November - enjoy the flowers, pick them regularly, and put them in a vase, where they'll last for over 2 weeks or until you get bored of them and throw them out..... if in bud the plants will shrug off wind, rain and frost, but any open flowers are likely to get damaged.

During December, - whip them out of the ground, cut them back, and pot up, or if you're being lazy like I sometimes am, just put them in a mushroom crate, ensuring that the roots aren't out in the open. If you can give them shelter from rain, in a porch, greenhouse or just under a tree at this point all the better. If they are outside, you can give them a bit of fleece or newspaper protection, they don't mind cold, but just not cold and wet. 

March and April, take cuttings and keep them in a frost free place or propagator. Pot them up to a 9cm pot when they've formed a good root

May and June, plant them out, pinch them out so that they produce lovely long branching stems and put up some support netting - this one is important, as they grow tall, and are heavy. I usually plant them in the squares of the support netting, so you don't have an issue of putting it over the top of them as they grow.

July-October, water and wait.......

October, just as you think you've wasted time and effort, enjoy the flowers......

In October my first 3 varieties - Allouise Pink, Regal red and Regal purple flowered (see top pictures). Now, mid November, I'm enjoying Avignon, Pandion Bronze, Tarantula Red, and my favourite, bomb proof wonderful Autumn orange of Heather James. 

If you'd like to learn how to create these wonderful plants from cuttings, watch out for our April Grow your own workshop, and enjoy these late season beauties in the garden and the vase.