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How Easy is it to Propagate Flowers?

Updated on July 30, 2013

Several Types of Mums in My Garden

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Yellow Chrysanthemum Deep Burgundy ChrysanthemumPink Chrysanthemum
Yellow Chrysanthemum
Yellow Chrysanthemum | Source
Deep Burgundy Chrysanthemum
Deep Burgundy Chrysanthemum | Source
Pink Chrysanthemum
Pink Chrysanthemum | Source

My Propagation Training Began with Chrysanthemums

Even though my mother had a small garden compared to gardens about town these days, she always had a lot of chrysanthemums, also known as mums. The easiest way to propagate these flowers is to pinch off the top inch or so before the new buds form. This will happen, depending on your growing area, between mid-spring to early summer.

I live in Michigan so that is the basic time I need to get at that job. Others that live in warmer climates would be able to do this much earlier, I suppose.


Getting Rid of Old, Dead Stems

Most people trim the dead stems from their mums before winter, whereas I don't get at this job until early spring. Sometimes the stems can be broken off easily at the base of the plant without disturbing the new growth and without using any utensils for the task. If the stems don't want to break off easily, pruning shears can be used; make sure the new plant doesn't come out with the old.

Pinching off the Tops to Get Your Cuttings

The time to pinch off the tops is when the new growth has reached approximately four inches or so but before the new buds appear. It is common for many to pinch off the tops, but some throw those cuttings away while others use them around the base of the plant. I find it hard to believe that not many people know about this easy way to obtain new plants.

When the time is right, the stems can be pinched with your fingers, or if you prefer you can use pruning shears. The pieces that have been pinched or cut off can then be stuck into the garden anywhere you'd like a new mum to be. You can put several together into a section of ground or keep them spaced apart. It doesn't matter how you decide to do it as you will get a new plant from each cutting.

It isn't necessary to put the cutting into root powder, although if that is your preference, I suppose it wouldn't hurt. For me, the simplest and most economical way is to put the cuttings right into the ground as is.

Another benefit to pinching off the tops, and it doesn't have to be all of them either, is that it will allow your plant to get bushier rather than be tall and thin.

Can These Cuttings Be Sold?

In most parts of the country this would not be a good idea. Cuttings can be used in your own garden or to give away as gifts to family or friends, but I wouldn't advise trying to begin a business selling the plants.

For one thing, most businesses need to be registered with the government, but also if any greenhouse found out that you were doing this, they would probably take you to court. I thought about doing this myself in the past and happened to talk to people that were in the business and found that it is considered illegal to purchase plants from greenhouses or stores and then propagate them for resale value.

How Hardy are Mums?

The mums that are purchased outside in the greenhouses and stores are considered the hardy varieties. Most of them aren't available until closer to their flowering season which begins, generally‚ÄĒdepending on the weather that year, in mid to late August.

The mums that are sold inside stores are usually there to purchase for inside the home, nursing homes or for loved ones in the hospital. While some of them may last for a while when planted outside, they are not guaranteed to do so. Therefore, if they die after the first year, you would probably not get your money refunded.

What Colors of Mums Bloom First, and Which Ones Bloom Last?

I have found that the first ones to bloom are the yellow mums, then the white ones. These usually bloom, as I said earlier, in mid to late August. The white ones follow shortly after the yellow. My mother had many yellow and white ones, so I really am not interested in those anymore. I prefer the orange to rust, and the pink to burgundy colored ones.

Sometimes I wonder whether the burgundy ones will bloom before the snow flies, although even when they bloom late, the flowers stick around for a while afterward. I believe the orange and rust ones bloom a bit before that, possibly in October or so, again, depending on your weather patterns.

This year, (2013) I've already been seeing buds with color on them in burgundy around town, something I've never seen before. I still haven't noticed any yellow or white ones though. I'm guessing it's because it rained a lot here in the spring to early summer and the weather is currently quite a bit cooler than usual for this time of year.

It's possibly that the plants are confused, something we've seen in other varieties throughout the years. If the plants think that fall is approaching, they will begin to bloom. I hope they hold out for the rest of the year.

What Other Flowers Can Be Propagated in this Manner?

It's only been recently that I tried to propagate other flowers in this manner, and that was only by accident. I purchased a hanging plant a few years ago that contained several types of annuals. One of them was a type of petunia. The petunia had a couple of stems that broke off, probably while transporting them.

A friend pointed them out to me and told me I should clip them off and throw the stem away. I did clip them off as suggested, but decided to put them into the ground to see what would happen. After watering it for about a week or two, it began growing on it's own. I have since planted other cuttings or stems in the same manner.

How Much Do They Need to Be Watered?

The cuttings or stems need to be watered almost daily in the beginning, for about two weeks, unless it's been raining enough in your area. After that, water as you would for any of your other plants.

If the season begins to dry out or the weather gets hotter than normal, giving them extra water would ensure they continue without wilting.

This did happen to me one year. I was busy running my husband's business along with working another job and forgot to water the plants extra when the temperatures reached above 85 degrees. It didn't take very long for those new cuttings to wilt. Other than that they are quite easy to work with.

Do They Need Fertilizer?

While I don't fertilize my cuttings very often, I'm sure it would benefit all of my plants to do so more often. Mostly I don't think about it as my time is very limited, but if I want to enjoy my garden for longer periods of time, it would behoove me to begin to use fertilizer more and more.

Mum Propagation

Have you Propagated Mums Before and if so How?

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How Easy is it to Move Your Mums Around?

How easy is it to move your mums around if you decide you don't like where they are located. Maybe they need more or less sun, or you have found that the ground isn't to their liking and need to find a better soil before replanting.

It is easier than you think to pull your mums from where they have been growing all these years. In fact, my mother can't see as well as she used to, so she asked if I wanted several of her rust colored ones. I jumped at the chance to get them as there were none in my garden yet.

My sister has been coming to town for the past few years to help my mom trim her plants and bushes and she pulled out several bunches of mums for me to transplant at my house. I was surprised when I saw how little root there was on each of the plants. Even though they did come out in groups, the roots that were on them were about two to three inches long at the most.

So if you accidentally pull any plants out of the ground when removing the old growth, don't worry about it, you can still replant them into the ground. Unless, you are doing this task before winter sets in, then it may be more difficult than it would be if you took care of your trimming in the spring.

More Pictures Soon

I hope to add more pictures soon as I have yet to trim off my dead stems from my mums and haven't pinched the fresh growth as yet. They have only started growing recently so the latter may be a while yet.

The Inside-out Guide to Plant Propagation

This book is for the gardener really serious about working with all types of propagation, from grafting, to cuttings, to tissue culture. Each type of plant has a recommended way to reproduce the plants. For instance, some trees work best with seeds.

Not only is propagation covered, but also types of fertilizer, dirt or soil needed and a wide range of other information for someone interested in this field.

This book teaches you how to have your own home nursery so that you can learn to work with layering, seeds, cuttings, division, grafting and the like.

© 2013 Marsha Musselman


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