If you have hardy chrysanthemums (those that survive the winter), you can encourage more blooms and fuller plants by cutting off the buds, or the top growth where buds would soon form.

For chrysanthemums as well as many other plants and shrubs, cutting off the top of a stem encourages the plant to grow two stems in its place, which will in turn create more flowers. A plant’s main goal in life is to reproduce. Sure, we find the flowers pretty, but to a plant, flowers are only a means to an end: to create seeds to reproduce.

Removing the chrysanthemums’s buds doesn’t prevent it from flowering; it encourages it to produce more buds! Just be sure to prune your chrysanthemums this week so there’s enough warm weather left for the new buds to form by fall. If your chrysanthemums already has buds, it will make it easier for you to see where to cut. You do not need to cut off each individual flower. Instead, you cut off the base from which each set of flowers forms. 

You can use hand-held pruners or sharp scissors to make the cut. Cut at a 45-degree angle; this avoids a flat top where water can sit.  If your buds are very tiny and hard to see or your plant doesn’t quite have buds yet, that’s OK. You can use the color of the foliage as a guide to wear the buds will grow. New foliage (which will produce buds) is at the top of each stem. It is paler and a bit more gray than the rest of the foliage. Cut at the base of such stems.Give your newly de-budded chrysanthemums a little extra water for a week or so, and then continue with your normal watering schedule. You will be rewarded in fall! In late fall, after your chrysanthemums have bloomed, do not cut back their dried foliage. Leave it in place over the winter to provide a little extra protection for the roots. Cut it back in spring.

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