Many of the 150 wild species of chrysanthemum were commonly cultivated 2000 years ago in China. Soon cultivars were introduced to Japan where other wild species already existed.
The hardy, tightly incurved Chinese plants in white, yellow or mauve mixed with the bigger, brighter, reflexed and loosely incurving Japanese species creating superb hybrids.
Chinese chrysanthemums reached Europe in 1789. The Royal Horticultural Society was so impressed they funded expeditions to China and Japan in the 1860's.
These introduced the Chusan daisy, parent of modern pompone varieties, plus the collection of fabulous Japanese varieties into western civilization.
European hybrids of these lead to our modern chrysanthemums.
Today chrysanthemums are raised throughout much of the temperate world. England, France, U.S.A., Japan, China, Australia and New Zealand are all top producers. New Zealand growers have contributed many exquisite single, spider and quill (fantasy) varieties.
The largest Japanese exhibition hybrids can reach 2m with 23cm blooms, while tiny asian miniatures fit comfortably in a bonsai dish.
The Florist Chrysanthemum, C. x morifolium, most commonly comes to mind when thinking
of "mums" but the genus also includes the Shasta daisy (C. maximum), Pyrethrum (C. coccineum), Marguerite Daisies (C. frutescens), Painted Daisies (C. carinatum), and dainty Chrysanthemum pallidum.
All species demand full sun and a slightly acid, well drained soil rich in manure. Most annual and miniature species are easily started from seed in spring, flowering the same year. Hardy garden varieties are often increased now by root division or true rooted cuttings: sand is placed over a mature crown.
The new shoots that push through the sand will produce side roots. Once root development is strong the shoots are removed from the parent and replanted. Fresh cuttings will also
strike if dipped in hormone solution.
Stake plants securely from wind, shelter from pelting rains and extremes. Chrysanthemums thrive on complete plant foods & liquid fertilisers with extra trace elements.
Chrysanthemums respond dramatically to various methods of pruning and disbudding. The same variety can be repeatedly cut back to form a bushy plant with many small flowers.
Light disbudding creates a "spray" with up to 25 good sized blooms on five stems. Removing all but the strongest bud results in a "standard" with one immense flower.
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