The Misty, Allouise, Beppie, Early Spray and Exhibition varieties can achieve a flowering period of six months, depending on the use of one of three different cultural methods:
1. Under glass they will flower from May to July.
2. Outdoors, without protection, they will flower from August to October.
3. With protection, they will flower in late September and October.
1. Early Flowering Under Glass
Early crops can be planted in January or February and, using heat and controlled lighting, these will flower from May to July. Plants should be pinched out 10 - 14 days after planting. Remove the central growing point and leave approximately 4 - 5 leaves. At this time growth will be very fast, with just naturally occurring daytime temperatures. Be careful not to let temperatures get too high during the day, as this will lead to growth that is too tall. This method is not really practical for the amateur grower.
2. Early Flowering Outdoors
Plant outside from late April until June, once all danger of frost has gone. Plants should be about 30 - 45cms (12" - 18") apart. Normally, pinching out is carried out 2 - 3 weeks after planting and you should aim to allow 3 - 4 stems to develop per plant. If, at the time of pinching out, there is any sign of a terminal bud, it is essential to remove a large piece of the plant, sometimes over half. A hard stop will also help avoid prematurely budded side-shoots.
3. Flowering Under Cover
Many growers prefer to protect later crops from weather damage and frost, so as to produce the best quality blooms. The main ways of growing are:
a) Planting outside and covering, either with mobile houses or temporary covers.
b) Planting under cold structures or into glasshouses.
c) Growing in pots and moving under cover.
There are advantages with all methods. With outside growing, a better, balanced plant can be produced and there is less chance of plants growing too tall. However, problems can arise in getting protection on the plants, or moving in, at the correct time. If planting in a cold glasshouse, the protection is always there, but fine summer weather can lead to tall growth and sometimes to earlier budding than is required.
A crop of Chrysanthemum Misty Cream and Golden