Growing Disbud Mums

Cuttings

Order rooted cuttings to arrive in the beginning to middle of June and pot into 3-4” pots. Medium: Pro-mix BX (with mycorrhizae if available).

Potting up

Early July when roots fill the pot, pot up to a 6” and after a few weeks pot up to 1-2 gal pot (at least 8.5 inches across the top of the pot, plastic pots with straight sides work best) with 2-3 tsp slow release Osmocote, some at bottom of roots and some near top of soil. Cover with a bit more soil. Pot must have holes on bottom for drainage. Do not put a saucer under the pot. Mums need at least 6 hrs full sun/day. Rabbits will eat them, so keep the pot out of their reach.

Feeding

Feed with a water soluble fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro at full strength

(1 TBS/gal water or 1/4 + 1/8 tsp/2 cups) every 7-10 days. Avoid over-watering. Mums tend to wilt on hot afternoons and then recover later on, as long as they recover later on. Mums don’t like wet feet.

Pinching

Around July 4th pinch out the terminal bud to encourage branching. If the stem is over 10 inches long, cut it down to about 4-6 inches, being sure to keep at least 6 leaves below the cut.

Pruning

As the plant sends out branches, select 1-3 and remove the rest. Continue to remove all side branches as they form, keeping only the selected main branch(es) with their leaves. As the branches grow, insert 1-3 stakes near the edge of the pot and using something like twist ties, attach the stem to the stake every 4-6 inches. Rotate the pot a bit every week or so to keep stems straight.

Budding

Mums are phototropic. This causes flowering to be triggered by long, uninterrupted nights. If you have any night (or traffic) lights that will interfere with total darkness at night, you must avoid exposure starting August 1 through Sept 3. Either cover the plant with a box or move it into a dark garage, etc. Be sure to return it to the sunny location every morning.

Late August or early September you might notice a single flower bud or a cluster of flower buds forming on the tip of each stem. If more than one bud, when they are the size of a pea, gently remove by rolling out all but the central bud or if that is damaged, the next best bud.

Thus, you will end up with only 1 bud/stem (1-3 blooms/plant). Stop feeding when the buds show color and enjoy watching your beautiful disbudded blooms develop. As the blooms enlarge, protect from wind and rain.

Sources

National Chrysanthemum Society www.mums.org

L.I. Chrysanthemum Society membership:

Bob Tobias, 631-827-2277

New members receive free cuttings and mentoring.

L.I.C.S. fall show: Starkie Brothers Nursery - starkiebrosgardencenter.com

Sources for cuttings: kingsmums.com, capobiancocreations.com