Today there is a tremendous choice of chrysanthemum types and colors.
The giant exhibition, tightly packed with pearly, incurved petals; quilled, with long, finely rolled petals and exquisite form; other types with quaint anemone or pincushion-like centers; the clean-cut singles; dwarf button types, and cushion mums which hide their squat plants beneath a dense canopy of bloom.
There’s no need to endure a forest of garden stakes throughout summer, as clumps of chrysanthemums can mingle in the background of mixed annuals and perennials provided they are not too shaded in the early stages.
Summer annuals such as asters, petunias, phlox, celosia, small zinnias, Unwins dwarf dahlia, and marigolds are effective here, as they finish flowering as the chrysanthemums begin.
Try planting clumps of 3 plants in triangular formation, with about 2 feet between the two at the back, the third about 18 inches to the fore. Each plant is staked separately, but when they reach spreading proportions the triangle can be enclosed with a few strands of twine. This will offer support and allow the flowers to spill out gracefully. The clumps can be lifted to an out-of-the way place in June.
Indicums or coronariums, the small cluster-type, popular for cutting or massed display, are true perennials, usually from spring-sown seed.
Named varieties are grown from cuttings or from rooted suckers. Clumps are dug in spring, and the outside, sturdy suckers retained and planted 6 to 9 inches apart in light soil to make a strong root system before being moved.
If the soil is in reasonable condition, plant the suckers direct into the garden. Shade them with twigs for a day or two during dry or windy conditions.
Stopping means nipping back the plants to encourage compact growth. As soon as the rooted suckers have regained rigid growth after transplanting, nip back the tops about 6 inches in height. When the resultant side-shoots reach 3 or 4 inches in length, pinch out their growing tips. Repeat this until the end of November or early December.
Each new shoot represents an extra flower stem. A well-stopped plant will have 12 to 30 stems, each carrying a truss of buds, an unchecked plant only one stem and bud truss. Exhibition chrysanthemums for show purposes usually carry three stems per plant.
Larger chrysanthemums, such as exhibitions, quills, and some anemone-centered types, are usually best with one large flower to a stem.
Thus, all buds are removed but one, usually the top or second bud. If continuity of blooms is wanted, top buds are removed in favor of those lower down. Buds farthest from the top flower last.
Larger singles may also be disbudded to one or two flowers, but small types are often preferred in a cluster. Remove the cluster’s center bud, which otherwise finish before the lower ones open.
Good drainage is the main requirement. Chrysanthemums’ shallow root system doesn’t need a great depth of soil. Avoid over-rich, heavily manured soils, as these often induce leggy plants.
Where the soil is very acid, use a light dressing of garden lime (½ cup to sq. yd.) and about 1 – 3rd cup of complete plant food. Avoid high nitrogen concentrates, and don’t use liquid plant foods until buds are well formed.
Very heavy soils should be broken up with a liberal dressing of compost or similar organic material. Concentrate on surface rather than depth.
Pests and Diseases
Black aphis is the main pest. Watch for these on young growths, or just below the flower buds. Spray with Malathion or a complete pesticide.
Eel worm often attacks during wet seasons. The foliage blackens in angular sections, then shrivels. Spray with Metasystox.
Rust first shows as a brown blotches. Spray with Zineb, Dilan, or complete fungicide such as rose spray.
Varieties of Chrysanthemum
Exhibition: These large, incurved types include such beautiful varieties as Beryl Newton, vieux rose; Bessie Cook, silvery pink; Charles Shoesmith, amber; Crimson Coral, crimson-red; Duke of Kent, white; Dr. Stevens, white; Freda Wilson, crimson with chestnut reverse; Green Goddess (retains green flush if blooms are shaded); Hugh Mitchell, crimson with gold reverse; Joyce Cuneo, soft yellow; Lilian Castle, golden amber; Louisa Pockett, large white; Patricia Barnett, primrose; Pockett’s Maroon, deep maroon; Rose Bowl, orchid-pink; Ruth Platt, deep apricot; Shirley Perfection, deep pink; William Turner, white; Yellow Louisa Pockett, a yellow sport from the white.
Quilled: Large, spidery blooms with finely quilled petals. Golden Bendigo, glistening golden bronze; Gracie Fields, beautifully formed rosy mauve; Mrs. Wallace, pure white: Mrs. H. Rogers, rich deep mauve; Melody, deep pink overlaid cream: Nightingale, chartreuse green, perfect formation, needs shade to retain green color; Norma, large, yellow flushed bronze; Rosalind Mann, large, light purple, strong grower; Paneham Yellow, well formed, clear yellow; Pane ham Blaze, salmon-red; Sunny Slope Splendor, early flowering, pearly white; Sunny Slope Glory, salmon-pink.
Anemone-centered: Sometimes referred to as scabious-centered or pincushion chrysanthemums. The cushion center of tightly packed quills is backed by one or two layers of border petals. Geoffrey Hill, large mauve, cream center; Helen Castle, pure white, dome cushion center; Judith Castle, large blooms of white, white cushion – later than Helen; Janet Castle, deep bright mauve; Julie Ann, rose-pink, with quilled incurving guard petals; K. G. Castle, mauve; Matador, large, red-tipped gold; Mrs. Baigent, soft, clear salmon-pink; Powder Puff, large white, yellow cushion; Pink Gem, a good pink for decorative work; Red Emperor, gold cushion, dark red petals.
Singles: Hopkins Red, early, free-flowering red; Kathleen Olson, pure white; Mrs. E. D. Webb, deep velvety red; Margaret Wilkinson, splendid form, early, bright pink; Marjorie Pincott, glowing salmon-pink; On Parade, golden apricot; Peter Robinson, large bright yellow; Rangoon, red, tipped gold; Wheel of Fire, quilled petals forming fiery red wheel.
Pompone or button types: Bronze Charm, bronze anemone-formed type; Betty, large, light mauve edged crimson; Dresden China, opalescent flesh-pink; Garnet, clusters of garnet-red; Golden Gem, small blooms of golden yellow; Lyndale, lilac-pink; Mikado, rosy pink, tiny anemone center; Medallion, pink, high anemone center; Nugget, golden yellow; Susan, bright red single, suitable for cascading; White Pearl, white.