Pinch Your Mum and Go for More

>> Thursday, July 7, 2011

You ever see big beautiful Asters and Mums in full bloom? Well, they got that way from having their growth stunted until around the first of August. Pinching their flower buds every time you see them might seem a bit counter-intuitive to why you grow flowers but in the case of these two plants, you are doing yourself a huge favor by squelching their urge to bloom.

I didn’t learn the importance of taking this seemingly irrational action until just recently and allowed my Shasta Daisy bloom whenever it wanted to. I got flowers but way too early in the Summer and nothing in the Fall. Plus the plant looked scraggly and I was very disappointed in its performance. This year I’ve been happily pinching off flower buds every time I see them knowing I’m finally helping this beautiful plant reach its full potential.

six cuttings of Mums
Three hardy mums I bought last year and planted among some Tulips have been pinched as well. Since they were among the Tulips they got leggy and they really need to be bushy. This was a blessing in disguise although I didn’t realize that until today. I found some info from other mum owners who said they keep their mums cut to 6” tall but will occasionally allow them to grow a little taller so they can take cuttings. Mine are already tall and need to be cut back quite a bit so I took this opportunity to take some cuttings.

After cutting them so you have at least two leaves to trim off of the bottom, wet the bottom of the cutting to cover both wounds, dip it in rooting hormone (again cover both wounds) and put them in any potting mix you have available. The rooting hormone helps prevent any bacterial growth from occurring at the wound site. Wetting the cutting only helps the rooting hormone to adhere to the stem. Be sure you have a couple of leaves remaining on the cutting, put the containers somewhere so they stay hydrated and in as little as three weeks you should have new cuttings.

I’m going to keep mine in the basement under grow lights until they root.

Now, I’m going to do the same thing for my Shasta Daisy and a couple of Asters.


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