Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Chrysanthemum Tea Plants - Update

A while back, I dug up two of my four Chrysanthemum tea plants from the old garden and brought them up to Vermont.  Since then, they've fared pretty well as potted specimens.  In prior years, I've left them to grow unattended without much care on my part, which probably explains why they ended up looking leggy and not very well formed by summer's end.  This year, I've decided to prune them vigorously in order to get a bushier looking plant and also to get more flowers (hopefully).  This is a photo I took a couple weeks ago, and since then, they grown much larger. I've already pruned them a second time. 

Growing my chrysanthemum tea plants in pots is probably the only away I'll be able to get any flowers to dry into tea in Zone 5 Vermont as the plants tend to bloom in November - well after our usual fall frost date.  Although the flowers themselves are pretty frost tolerant, even in Zone 6 Massachusetts, the window to harvest them was extremely short and never guaranteed before a serious hard frost would wipe them all out.  This fall I will probably bring them indoors in September, pick the flowers in November, and then let them overwinter in a semi-protected sheltered place like our enclosed porch.