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A Splash of Autumn Colour

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | Sep 03, 2015

We are fast approaching autumn and many gardeners will be looking for plants which will add a late season splash of colour to patios and garden borders. There are a number of great plants in the CountryLife Garden Centres at the moment which will do just this and add much needed colour to a garden.

One particularly good plant for colour at this time of the year is Chrysanthemum. Depending on who you talk to this plant will either be called Chrysanthemum or just simply mums. The latter may be because of the fact they are often associated with mothers and grandmothers as they are often gifted to them as either pot plants or cut flowers. Chrysanthemums do make fantastic cut flowers, often lasting for well over two weeks if you change the water they are in.

I bought my own mother two pot plants a few years ago as a present and she had the plants for a good few weeks in full flower. Once the flowers faded however she had no use for them and was going to get rid of them. I took them off her and planted them into the garden and since then they have grown in to great mounds and have produced a great abundance of flowers.

Chrysanthemums are part of  Asteraceae family and are actually native to Asia. They are a very old plant too with plants being cultivated in Chinese gardens for almost 3000 years according to records. Despite their Asian origins they work very well in Irish gardens and seem to be very well suited to the Irish climate. In fact the colour tends to improve as the weather gets colder and we reach the end of autumn.

While a few years ago Chrysanthemums did fall out of fashion and were viewed as old fashioned they have gone through a boom in popularity in recent years thanks to the wide range of colours which are available on the market and how versatile they are in a garden. They have become a perfect plant that can simply slot into a gap or hole in a flower bed and add an injection of seasonal interest.

The vast majority of autumn flowering chrysanthemums grow round or into a mound shape. They produce a great full and bushy plant that grows to about 50cm in height with a similar spread (if not a tiny bit more). They should be planted in a sheltered site with fertile well-drained soil that receives full sun. I like to work in some compost of leaf mould in to the planting hole.

With Chrysanthemums it is important that you water the plants freely in dry weather as they are very shallow rooted and the plant can wilt if the ground is excessively dry. I like to feed mine with a good tomato feed or seaweed feed every couple of weeks. 

Once they have finished flowering, generally after the first frost, you can cut the plant right back. To protect it over winter you can spread a layer of mulch or even leaves over the plant to protect it from excessively cold temperatures. 

Written by Malachy

Here to help!
 - remember if you have any questions feel free to pop into one of our garden centres or you can contact us on our Facebook and Twitter pages and email us at:

Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

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