Chrysanthemum

Height 15-60cm (6-24in)

Planting distance 15-30cm (6-12in)

Flowers early summer to early autumn

Ordinary garden soil

Sunny site

Hardy annuals

Chrysanthemums form a large genus of plants. Some are grown as hardy and half-hardy annuals and greenhouse plants, while others are true hardy perennials. All annual species are hardy and free-flowering. They form well-branched, bushy plants and produce an abundance of daisy-like flowers from early summer till early autumn. Grow them in informal bedding schemes, as edgings to borders, in tubs, hanging baskets or for cutting.

Popular species

Chrysanthemum carinatum (syn. C. tricolor) bears single flowers from early summer to early autumn. These have purple central discs surrounded by ray petals banded in different colours. The plants reach 60cm (2ft) high and should be spaced 30cm (1ft) apart.

Popular varieties include ‘Court Jesters’ (red, pink, orange, yellow, maroon and white banded with red or orange). ‘Polar Star’ grows up to 90cm (3ft) and bears showy flowers of palest yellow banded with golden-orange on stiff stems, ideal for cutting. ‘Rainbow Mixture’ has 6cm (2-1/2in) wide flowers brightly banded in various combinations of yellow, scarlet, red, rose-lavender, bronze, orange and white. ‘Zebra’ is a branching plant with brilliant scarlet flowers.

Chrysanthemum coronarium has double, semi-double or single flowers ranging from white to golden-yellow in mid and late summer. ‘Golden Gem’ is the most popular variety, reaching 30- 45cm (12-18in) high with golden- yellow flowers. Plant 38cm (15in) apart. ‘Primrose Gem’ is similar, but with pale yellow flowers.

Chrysanthemum frutescens, though really a perennial, is grown as a half-hardy annual and used in containers and for summer bedding schemes. It bears large white or pale yellow flowers from late spring until mid autumn and reaches 30-45cm (12-18in) high. Space the plants 30-45cm (12-18in) apart.

Chrysanthemum multicaule, and its common variety, ‘Golden Plate’, has small, single golden- yellow flowers. Growing only 15- 30cm (6-12in) high, it is useful for window-boxes, tubs and rock gar dens. Plant 23cm (9in) apart.

Chrysanthemum palludosum bears an abundance of small white flowers with yellow centres, like mini marguerites, throughout the summer. The 30cm (1ft) high plants can be grown in window- boxes, tubs or as edging. Set them 23cm (9in) apart.

Chrysanthemum parthenium (feverfew) is popular in pots and window-boxes and as edging to summer bedding schemes. It is a compact plant, up to 30cm (12in) high, studded from mid summer to early autumn with masses of small flowers; the light green leaves have a pungent aroma. Popular varieties include ‘Golden Ball’, with small rounded golden flowers, and ‘Snow Puffs’ which has white ball-shaped flowers with an outer ring of petals. Chrysanthemum segetum bears single yellow flowers with brown central discs from mid summer to early autumn. Plant this 45cm (18in) high species and its varieties 30cm (1ft) apart in a border. ‘Eastern Star’ (also known as ‘Prado’) has primrose-yellow flowers.

Cultivation

Annual chrysanthemums will grow and flower freely in any soil, though they give the best results in fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny site. Sow the seeds in their flowering site in early or mid spring, covering them with a sprinkling of soil. When large enough to handle, thin the seedlings to the required spacing. In mild districts and with cloche protection, an autumn sowing gives earlier flowers or pot plants for the greenhouse.

C. frutescens can only be increased from 5-7.5cm (2-3in) long cuttings of non-flowering sideshoots taken in early autumn and rooted under glass.

Pests and diseases

Mildew, aphids and caterpillars can cause problems.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles | Comments Off on Chrysanthemum

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