Chrysanthemum flowers consist of about thirty species and have a distinctive ‘snowball’ shape both in the individual flower shape and in the whole plant shape. These herbaceous plants grow to about 50 to 150 cm tall. They have very large flower heads with many petals. The flower comes in the colors of white, yellow, or pink. The flowers were named for the golden color that was present in the ancient cultures that gave the plant its name.
Growing Requirements for Chrysanthemums
The many species of chrysanthemums are not season specific and are not picky when it comes to soil quality. However, the flowers require sunny climates that do not experience high levels of rainfall in the wet season. The plant has a very long flowering season and usually flower about three months after sowing.
Taking Care of Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums easily survive transplants and are commonly planted in gardens after they have already been grown to their seedling stage. Once transplanted the flower bed should be carefully weeded and watered regularly. Once a few weeks have gone by the seedlings should be pinched in order to allow for maximum growth and flowering. The plant should be fertilized but not once the flowers have already bloomed in order to avoid over saturation of organic molecules. Wilting flowers should be removed so that new flowers may bloom in its place. Sometimes the gardener might find it necessary to stake the plant in order to prevent bending and falling when exposed to high winds.
History and Uses of Chrysanthemums
Originating from the region known as Eurasia, chrysanthemums are considered tropical flowers and come from the largest family of flowers which consist of nearly twenty thousand species. In about 400 a.d. the flower was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks and were loved so much by the Japanese emperors that the flower became a part of the Imperial Crest. Japan even has a special festival called the Festival of Happiness that celebrates the flower and its history.
The flower has culinary uses such as an ingredient in teas, rice wines, and cuisines. It is also used for medicinal purposes among Asian cultures.
Diseases and Pests found on Chrysanthemums
Common diseases affecting the chrysanthemum include leaf spot and powdery mildew. Common bugs and insects that can kill or injure entire crops of chrysanthemums are the aphid, leafhopper, and spider mite, among others.
Ways to avoid flower damage by pests and disease are by keeping the plants in good, healthy condition, avoiding overcrowding which allows good air circulation, and consistent weeding. Treatments using insecticides and fungicides can also help maintain a healthy garden.
Additional Information on Chrysanthemums
Additional information on chrysanthemums can be found on the following websites:
Details on all general information can be found at the University of Clemson’s website: chrysanthemums.
Extensive details concerning the growth of chrysanthemums can be found from Ohio State University: Growing Chrysanthemums.