In one of my articles published elsewhere, I discuss propagating mums in a way that most people have never heard about. It is something that I have done ever since I began planting flowers and it is something my mother did on a regular basis. To my knowledge she only ever used this idea with mums.
In the spring, mums need to be trimmed before buds begin to form on the tops of the plants. In Michigan, March to April is the normal time to prune the plants. You would want to wait until the plant begins to grow in height, as it starts from the ground up each year. You may need to adjust the time period according to the planting zone you live in.
I should mention for those who’ve never grown mums before, the plant will seem to disappear during the winter, leaving only spindly wooden stems. Many gardeners clip these before winter begins, I wait until spring. I believe that whichever way works for you will be fine. Once new growth appears, the woody leftovers can be removed and thrown out.
When you are ready to prune your mums, you can use a pruning tool, which is normally a small tool that you can hold in the palm of one hand, or you can use your fingers to pinch off the tops of your mums.
The benefit of trimming your mums will be that the plant will be healthier looking and bushier than if you don’t trim them. If you miss trimming them one year, you can still do so the next and get the desired results.
Some people know about trimming mums, but the majority of people throw the trimmings away. Some of them may put the trimmed sections against the base of the plant, which would make more sense if that was done before winter, not summer. A few people put the trimmed sections into rooting compound and then into pots on their patio.
The easiest place to put the trimmed sections is into the dirt nearby. Make a hole into the dirt with one of your fingers about an inch deep or so, put the piece of the mum into the dirt and pat the dirt so that the stem will stand upright. Water daily if possible for a week or two, and you will have the start of a new plant now and it will still be there next spring.
Last year I purchased a hanging planter for the first time ever. It had a mixture of plants in it, one of which was a petunia if I remember correctly. When I placed it on the hanging utensil, I noticed it had a broken stem. I pinched that off and was about to throw it away, when I decided to try the mum technique on that plant also.
Once planted, I watered it and watered it throughout the summer. It continued to grow nicely until about August when the weather got exceptionally hot. I didn’t think about watering it during that time period as I was quite busy, and unfortunately it withered. It did continue to grow before that time for several months between the time when I first put the cutting into the dirt and when the hotter weather hit the area. .
I’d be interested if any out there would want to try this technique out on any of your flowering plants. I already know that it works for mums, as I’ve done it many times before. I’m curious how many other plants it works for. I look forward to hearing from you.