Chrysanthemums: Planting & Care
The name Chrysanthemum comes from two Greek words, ‘chrysos’ meaning ‘gold’ and ‘anthos’ meaning ‘flower’. Literally, it means golden flower. The genus Chrysanthemum is a large one, having both ornamental and also economic value. These flowers vary greatly in form, size, color and can be grown easily in many climates. When you cut the flowers they last a very long time. The flowers come into bloom in the fall and have a very long season after most blooming flowers are over. The origin of the chrysanthemum is actually Asiatic, and the native habitat of the plants if northern China, Mongolia nad Korea and later Japan.
Chrysanthemums are mainly associated to meanings of compassion, friendship, and secret love. The modern times dictate that the mums are more of friendship flowers. Thus, they are ideally given to dear persons without any romantic shades exhibited.
There are three wild species of this plant, C. morifolium (Pot Chrysanthemums) with small white single flowers and rounded foliage, C. ornatum, with incised foliage and white, pinkish, or purplish single flowers, and a third called C. indicum, that came from India.
They are classified as greenhouse types, garden or hardy types. The greenhouse types will contain a greater number of varieties, because they have been exploited to a far greater degree than the hardy garden types. Some of the greenhouse types are: large flowered exhibition varieties, medium flowered commercial varieties, pompons grown in sprays, single and duplex, also anemones and cascade types.
The climate requirements are such that these plants are more at home in northern regions. The cold winter temperatures in any particular locality are not the only factors that determine hardiness, however. Sometimes regions which have a mild climate, but a light snowfall, suffer greater losses from winter killing than most regions with a heavy snowfall. Mulching with a suitable material is very useful, particularly in regions which do not have a heavy snowfall.
Chrysanthemums are not bad about requiring certain soils and will thrive in any good garden soil that can grow vegetables. They mostly prefer sunny, well drained soils that contain some humus.
Secrets of success
Temperature: Cool – 50°F-60°F is ideal.
Light: Bright light is essential, but Pot Chrysanthemums must be shaded from midday sun.
Water: Keep compost moist at all times. It may be necessary to water several times each week.
Care after flowering: Most plants are discarded, but Pot Chrysanthemums can be planted out in the garden where they will revert to their natural growth habit.
Wilted leaves: Underwatering is the most likely reason. even a short period of dryness will lead to wilting and this generally causes the lower leaves to fall.
Short flowering period: The plant is too warm. Temperatures of 70°F-75°F result in the flowers rapidly opening and then wilting.
Flower buds fail to open: Two major reasons cause buds not to open. The buds may have been all-green when the plant was purchased or the plant was not placed in a bright enough spot.
Insects: Aphid and red spider mite can be problems.