Tag Archive: chrysanthemum

Leucanthemum x superbum 'Becky'

Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’

Other wise known as ‘Shasta Daisies’ Leucanthemum is a genus of around 70 flowering plants (annuals and perennials) from the sunflower family (Asteraceae).

It occurs naturally in Europe, Northern Africa and the temperate regions of Asia. Many species have been introduced into America, Australia and New Zealand. It was previously classified as a chrysanthemum and the most important group of perennial Leucanthemum- the group x superbum is still known by some as Chrysanthemum maximum. They were split from the genus Chrysanthemum, because they are not aromatic and their leaves lack grayish-white hairs. L. vulgare is the ‘Ox Eye Daisy’.

The superbum group (the Shasta Daisy proper) consists of robust, easy going plants which grow well in sun or half shade in any good soil – but in heavy clay they have a reputation for not surviving. Growing to a height of between 0.5 and 1 metre tall, they are lax plants and so some form of support is usually required. Gardener Richard Barrett says,

‘If you find they grow too tall in your border and require too much staking, then dig them up each winter and replant them insitu. This has the side effect of keeping the foliage and flowers to a compact size, this method works well for other robust herbaceous plants.’

They reappear every spring with fresh dark green leaves before flowering with the typical daisy configuration of long elegant petals around a yellow eye. Their foliage is handsome, but can be attacked by slugs as the planst break ground kin spring – this tends to result in no regrowth, so protection is important.

Making a great display in your borders from June to September during which time it is good at attracting butterflies and bees, flowers are solitary and can be either single or double, and with simple petals or frilly, feather-like structures. Flowers of Leucanthemum are excellent for cutting and are favoured by flower arrangers.

L. 'Sonnenschein'

L. ‘Sonnenschein’

L. 'Goldrush'

L. ‘Goldrush’

Although other species in the genus have yellow flowers, the flowers of these hybrids had been exclusively white with yellow discs (tending to be paler in double-flowered types). However, the cultivar ‘Sonnenschein’ has yellow buds that open to cream flowers and there are other yellow cultivars available. New varieties include several with more petals to give a ruffled effect and a striking golden yellow version. Most will re-bloom happily if cut back after flowering. Leucanthemum combine well with Phlox in August. White flowered varieties make an excellent contrast to the blue of Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’ whilst the strong yellows are great to accompany Gaillardia aristata ‘Goblin’.

Leucanthemum x superbum 'Snowcap'

Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Snowcap’

Old School Gardener

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ChrysanthemumsI’ve received a question from a Nottinghamshire gardener about different kinds of cutting. Mr. R.Hood asks:

‘What is the difference between softwood and greenwood cuttings? I’ve read that chrysanthemums are propagated from greenwood.’

Well, Mr. Hood, the difference comes down to something quite smallsoftwood cuttings are taken from the first flush of new growth in spring, whereas greenwood cuttings are taken slightly later, when the wood at the base of the cutting is a little firmer – these cuttings do not root quite as quickly.  Greenwood cuttings are easier to handle than softwood, and they are less prone to wilting. Therefore, greenwood cuttings should be used to propagate plants that root readily, like Delphiniums, Pelargoniums and indeed Chrysanthemums. Chrysanthemum cuttings could not be easier and for every mother or grandmother plant, you can produce at least 10 of a new generation. For an easy guide on how look at this article.

Softwood cutting

Softwood cutting

And while we’re talking about propagating new plants from cuttings how about evergreen plants?

Cuttings from these plants are usually taken from ‘ripe or semi ripe wood’ (i.e. when stems are firmer and buds have developed) in early summer and autumn and rooted  in a cold frame. They can be anything from 50 -150cm long, depending on the size of the plant, and preferably with a ‘heel’ of older wood where the cutting stem has been pulled away from the main stem. You then strip off the lower leaves, and if there is no heel, make a wound about 13mm long at the base of the cutting. Apply a hormone rooting powder to the base of the cutting (just a light dusting) and insert the cutting to half their length in soil – you can probably put a number around the edge and in the centre of a pot. To help reduce water loss from the remaining leaf/leaves, cut these in half.

Semi ripe cutting

Semi ripe cutting

The pot should then be placed in a cold frame (you can also root the cuttings directly into the soil in a cold frame , but make sure it has been forked over and manured/composted a week or two beforehand).  Water them well and close the frame completely. Inspect and water them regularly and harden them off during the summer to prepare them for planting out the following autumn.

You can create your own 'mini cold frame' by using plastic covers or bags over pot-planted cuttings

You can create your own ‘mini cold frame’ by using plastic covers or bags over pot-planted cuttings

Another technique, if you don’t have a cold frame, is to put a plastic cover, or bag secured with an elastic band over the top of the pot – this helps to prevent the cuttings drying out, by maintaining a naturally humid atmosphere. These effectively become ‘mini cold frames’ themselves.

It seems you can grow some evergreen cuttings by placing them into a cut potato! - this one is Wisteria.

It seems you can grow shrub cuttings by placing them into a cut potato! – this one is Wisteria, see the link for further info

Further information:

Softwood and Greenwood cuttings – RHS

Semi ripe cuttings- RHS

Propagating shrubs in a potato

Old School Gardener

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