How to Root Chrysanthemum Cuttings

Chrysanthemums are an old-fashioned flower that comes in a multitude of colors. Some have a single row of petals while others have so many that they look like a powder-puff. There are approximately 30 species of chrysanthemums and they grow in a wide range in heights, from small dwarf plants to giant shrub-like plants. You don’t need to go out to your local garden supply store to increase your supply, unless it is a kind that you or a friend does not have. You can start your own cuttings.

Prepare the Pots

The best time to take your cuttings is from May through July. Before you gather your cuttings, prepare your pots so they are ready. This helps minimize some of the stress levels the chrysanthemum stems will endure as they wait to be planted.

Fill a 6-inch pot and fill it with perlite. A flat will also work if it is at least 3 inches deep. Pour water into the pot or flat to wet the perlite until it is moist.

Take the Cuttings

Now go out and gather your cuttings. In the spring, examine your chrysanthemum for new growth. The new growth section should be 3 to 5 inches long. You can tell when or where on the stem is new growth because it will be green in color and pliable when bent. Cut the stems at a 2-to 3-inch length with a razor blade or sharp knife. Remove all the leaves except for the top two or three. Wrap the stems in a damp paper towel to keep them hydrated.

Plant the Cuttings

Wet the bottom half of the stems in water. Shake the cutting to remove the excess water. Dip the wet end in rooting hormone, then tap the stem with your finger to remove the excess rooting hormone.

Insert a pencil into the perlite to make a hole. Stick the end of the stem with the rooting hormone into the hole. Firm the perlite around the cutting with your fingers so it stands upright. When making holes with your pencil, allow at least an inch of space between each cutting.

Once the cuttings are in the pot or flat, take them to a window that receives indirect light. It will take 3 to 4 weeks before the cuttings form roots. As you wait for the roots to form, do not allow the perlite to dry out. It needs to be kept moist.

Transplant the Rooted Cuttings

Continue to grow the cuttings in the perlite until the roots are at least an inch long. When testing for roots, look first to see if there is any new growth. If the stem is growing or forming leaves, then your cuttings have formed roots. Another way to tell if the cuttings have rooted is to pull on them gently. If you feel resistance, then the roots have formed. Now it is safe to transplant them into 4 inch pots or outdoors into a prepared bed.


“American Horticultural Society A to Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants”; Christopher Brickell; 2004

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