Chrysanthemums and Gladiolus
Chrysanthemums in the spring? Well, they're certainly not blooming
yet, but if you expect flowers this fall you had better take action
Garden mums don't bloom until fall because they're light sensitive—when
days get shorter and nights longer in September, the vegetation
stops growing and they begin flowering. However, if you wait until
fall to plant, plants will bloom when too small. Right now, when
the plant is in a foliage production mode, you should give some
thought to clump division, new plantings and general plant care.
If you have established beds and haven't divided the clumps
for two years, thin them now. Mums divided regularly are more
vigorous. Divisions may be used to expand beds or start new ones.
Buy new or different varieties as small, established plants
from your local garden center for planting from April to late
Spring planting allows you to groom and care for the plants
through the summer in order to obtain a stronger plant and, consequently
more flowers in the fall. Plants in full bud may be purchased
and planted in early fall, in case you have a small garden or
you don't care to work with them all summer.
Set plants at same depth they were grown in the nursery and
water thoroughly. Follow this with regular plant care—watering
and insect protection. The general range of garden pests, such
as aphids, thrips, mites and leaf miners, will bother mums. The
same pesticides that work on roses and other spring flowers will
also do the job for your mums.
To develop strong branches and good flowering plans, pinch off
about one inch of the stem tip two or three times during the growing
season. Don't pinch after July 15. Start pinching when stems are
six to eight inches long and repeat when the new shoots growing
from the leaf axils reach four to six inches in length. This will
prevent those tall, leggy plants that break over when the flowers
start to show color.
Fertilize every three to four weeks and provide supplemental
irrigation during drought periods. If mum plants suffer from lack
of moisture, the stems become hard and woody and new growth virtually
stops. Chrysanthemums seem to be very appreciative of any extra
care and attention you give them and will reward you with extra
blooms and a longer flowering period.
If you want immediate gratification, plant one of summer's favorite
flowers, the gladiolus. If you haven't grown gladiolus you are
missing a real treat. Gladiolus are especially impressive combined
with summer annuals and perennials in the garden, or when cut,
they make a superb arrangement of flowers for the home.
Unlike other kinds of flowers, gladiolus requires very little
space in your garden. You can plant a dozen or several dozen bulbs
in a row, or group them in clusters for a massed effect. And this
small area devoted to gladiolus can produce a bounty of beautiful
Now is the time to plant glads, and your local nursery or garden
center is featuring a good supply of bulbs. Choose the varieties
that are in the colors you want. Many beautiful new hybrid varieties
that have been introduced in recent years are available. Nearly
any color you fancy can be seen in gladiolus--from pure shades
of white, cream, and pink to a bizarre combination of tan, and
brown. Or how about green or blue? You can grow gladiolus that
While the tall-growing large flowering gladiolus are extremely
popular, the relatively new miniature glads are creating excitement
in the garden world. They yield profuse numbers of spikes, 2-1/2
to 3 feet tall, each with 15 to 20 dainty flowers, 2 to 2-1/2
inches across. These glads make charming indoor arrangements that
are just the right size for that end table, coffee table, or centerpiece.
No matter which gladiolus you prefer, choose quality bulbs—you’ll
be happier in the long run for doing so and when they bloom, you
will agree—you got your money's worth.