Cuttings of Japanese, Incurved, Decorative and other fancy Chrysanthemum varieties can be taken in December and throughout January, but the best time is early January.

The stems to choose for taking Chrysanthemum cuttings are those which shoot straight from the soil and not from those which sprout from an old stem.

These stems, shoots really, are ready to take when they are 2 - 2 1/2 inches long. Give preference to those shoots which are greyish-green in colour, short jointed, and rather fat and definitely round. Avoid flattish stems. These should also have a healthy, perfectly formed growing tip.

Cut of your selected stems at ground level using a sharp, sterilised blade. If your new cuttings are infested with green fly then swill them in a weak organic insecticide.

Prepare the cuttings for planting by removing the two or three lower pairs of leaves and cutting off the stem tip immediately below the bottom joint.

Root the cuttings in sterilised terracotta pots with a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Seed and Cutting' compost. Surface each pot with some silver sand.

Plant the cuttings around the edge of the pot - four around the side of a 2 inch pot, five around a 2 1/2 inch pot and 6 around a 3 inch pot.

Set them about an inch deep in the soil making sure that each stems reaches the bottom of the pot.

The best place for the cuttings is inside a heated propagator by a bright window out of direct sunlight during the core day. Alternatively,use an unheated propagator but keep it in a heated greenhouse.

If you do not have a propagator, use a large glass topped box half filled with bulb fibre and sink your pots into the bulb fibre leaving the top 1/2 inch still exposed.

Spray the cuttings with lukewarm water daily and attend to watering as required, do not allow the compost to dry out or to become waterlogged.

The cuttings should become rooted by the end of February at which point they can be potted on into individual 3 inch pots using a good quality compost such as John Innes 'Potting Compost' or 'No 1'.

Because of the time of year keep your compost in the warm for a couple of days before using so as to prevent cold damage to the juvenile root system.

Pot firmly, placing the bottom leaf level with the soil.

After potting, water thoroughly and place on a warm bright windowsill out of direct sunlight.

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