ASK THE GARDENERS. Questions & Answers.
Q We purchased a lovely white chrysanthemum plant a year ago at Christmas time. The florist said we could remove it from the pot and plant it outdoors as soon as the weather warmed up in the spring. We did this in a sunny spot and it grew well all summer and into the fall. It had only tiny buds on it when freezing temperatures finished it off, however. Is there any way we can get it to bloom before frost? C.J. Concord, N.H. Chrysanthemums are photoperiodic plants, meaning they are brought into bloom according to day length or the amount of light they get. Different varieties have different day length requirements, hence, florists can manipulate them by using either more or less light.
Your plant may be a variety that blooms naturally at Christmas time. In this case you would need to shorten the daylight hours by using shading to get it to bloom before frost.
A more simple solution might be to dig the plant up and pot it (or a portion of it) in spring. Grow it outdoors all summer, then move the pot into the house in a sunny spot, and with proper care it should bloom for you at Christmas time.
If you have a question about your garden, inside or out, send it, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope, to the Garden Page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.
Doc and Katy Abraham are nationally known horticulturists.