(Chrysanthemum morifolium) from China and C.indicum from China and Japan are the parents of most of the plants known to American growers as mums and in Europe and Australia as chrysanths. They are grown as pot plants and used as cut flowers for table arrangements, bridal bouquets and for spectacular flower displays both indoors and out. Flowering can be timed by regulating the day length, making blooms possible every month.
Colors offered are white, bronze, yellow, red, maroon and lavender pink, with pastel shades of each.
Flower form is varied. There are pompons with globe-shaped, compact flowers, some with flat, fluted or quilled ray florets. Disbudded pompons measure up to five inches in diameter. The smallest button pompons in colors mainly white and yellow are less than 1 ½ inches across.
- Single and daisy types come in all sizes and forms.
- Cushion types have tiered ray florets. Their dwarf growing habit makes them fine for potting.
- Anemone-flowered plants have one or more layers of ray florets and a large raised center disk.
- Spider chrysanthemums have curling tubular ray florets with ends shaped like a fishhook.
Fancy are Japanese types, which are rather shaggy in appearance. There are also feathery flowers that are carnationlike with cupped or twisted ray florets.
Hardy varieties sold as pot plants can be set outdoors to give flowers again in the autumn. It is well known that not all varieties sold are hardy. Only a few varieties cultured as florists’ chrysanthemums are hardy to northern latitudes (check with your florist). When flowers have faded, cut the foliage back to about four inches and, as soon as the freezing weather is gone, plant outdoors.
Plant in a sunny location with a well-drained, well-prepared bed of garden soil. Addition of a complete garden fertilizer like a 5-10-5 is desirable. In hot climates protection from afternoon sun should be considered. Well-rooted cuttings can be planted directly in the garden bed. Vigorous single-stem sections are made when dividing a clump. Use the outside of the clump, discarding the woody centers. A second and third application of fertilizer during the growing season is beneficial. However, the last application applied two to three weeks before blooming, using a low-nitrogen type, will produce better quality flowers.
Pinch top growth when stems are five to six inches high to promote lateral growth. Select from one to four for continued growth. Continue pinching all shoots reaching a five to six inches. In areas of early frost pinching should cease by mid-July.
If large blooms are desired, begin disbudding when buds are large enough to handle. Remove all flower buds except on two per flower cluster; allow these to develop.
Plants not hardy enough to live over winter can be dug up, potted and moved indoors for late fall flowering. Grow as cool as possible. Give full exposure to sun and keep potting mix moist. Cuttings are made from suckers which sprout from the base of the plant, are rooted in peat, sand or vermiculite. Pot them up, moving to larger pots as needed. The short days of winter will naturally initiate buds, and flowering may take place February or March. Grow in a room about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Give full sun days but long night of darkness. Do not expose the plants to any light during the night if you want flowers.
Home care for lasting quality of a potted chrysanthemum is the same as for most florist flowering plants. Provide bright light not but not direct sun. Keep the temperature at night at least 10 degrees lower than in the daytime. Water daily, if needed, to keep pot moist.
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