Growing Chrysanthemum Varieties:
How to Grow Chrysanthemum Plants Organically

Chrysanthemum varieties date back to ancient China, with references found as long ago as 500 BC. They fall into two groups: those that are hardy and can be left in the ground over winter and those that can only overwinter in a milder climate.

These impressive plants offer an extensive range of shapes and colors, making them a cut flower favorite.

Growing Chrysanthemum Varieties: Plant Snapshot

Growing Chrysanthemum Varieties
  • Chrysanthemum (Ajania/ Dendranthema/Leucanthemum)
  • Annual or perennial? Annuals and perennials
  • Recommended varieties (by color):
    • Orange: Bronze Fairie, Roy Coopland, Wendy
    • Pink: Brietner’s Supreme, Satin Pink, Pennine Flute, Maria, Muxton Plumes
    • Red: Yvonne Arnaud, George Griffiths
    • White: Alison Kirk
    • Yellow: Marion, Marlene Jones, Pennine Alfie, Yellow John Hughes, Primrose West Bromwich
  • Recommended USDA Hardiness zones: 04a to 10a
  • Mature Height: 12 to 30 inches (30 to 76cm)
  • Mature Spread: 8 to 24 inches (20 to 61cm)
  • Sun Requirements: partial shade, partial sun to full sun
  • Blooming season: Early, late and mid summer, early fall
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How to Grow Chrysanthemums: Planting the Seed, Transplanting and/or Root Division

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Plant seeds in mid-spring in pots filled with your own sieved compost or a nutrient-rich seed starting mix. Keep moist. Plants will usually take between four and six weeks to produce their first two true leaves. Transplant into pots about a month after this then harden off in the garden and plant out.

Prepare soil for planting chrysanthemums by adding organic matter in the fall. In late spring insert expandable stakes or canes into the ground for taller varieties, then plant next to the stake or cane. Cover the root ball with a mix of soil and organic compost. Tie the plant stem to the stake or cane.

To propagate from cuttings, take the cuttings using a sharp knife about six weeks after new shoots have started to grow. Trim them down to 1.5 inches (4cm) and plant just below a leaf node in organic plant starter cubes. Water regularly until they are established.

Snapshot: Planting Chrysanthemums

  • Germination soil temperature: 68 degrees F (20 C)
  • Distance between plants: About 15 to 20 inches (38 to 50 cm)
  • Planting depth: 12 inches (30 cm)
  • Days to germination: 15 to 30 days
  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 6 to 8
  • Root division information (perennials only):
    • Root system type (clumping, spreading, rhizome or tuber): clumping
    • Roots division frequency: every 1 to 3 years
    • In which season should dividing occur? Spring
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Growing Chrysanthemum Varieties: Chrysanthemum Care

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Pinch pruning chrysanthemums when they are about 8 inches (20cm) high will encourage more side shoots with extra flowers. Just take out the tip of the plant. Use canes and tie in tall varieties to get the best display. Deadhead to encourage further flowers.

Feed chrysanthemums weekly with an organic seaweed liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season.

Tender varieties will need lifting and storing in a frost-free place during winter. Cut hardy varieties back to about 9 inches (22cm) when flowering has finished.

Snapshot: Chrysanthemum Care

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Growing Chrysanthemum Varieties: Harvesting/Cutting Time

Chrysanthemums are a florist’s favorite, often with numerous flower heads on a single stem. Cut stems that are open (or almost open) in the evening or early morning and plunge the stems straight into deep water.

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Growing Chrysanthemum Varieties: Pests & Diseases

If plants become overcrowded, high humidity may result in spores that are spread by splashing rain. To avoid this, simply prune out any affected foliage and improve air circulation to the plant.

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Chrysanthemums (see Organic Garden Pest Control for information about how to prevent and address pests and diseases)...

Pests

  • Aphids
  • Broad mite
  • Cyclamen mite
  • Foliage-feeding caterpillars
  • Gall midges
  • Leafminers
  • Mealybugs
  • Root knot nematode
  • Soft scales
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips
  • True Bugs
  • Weevils
  • Whiteflies

Diseases

  • Aster yellows
  • Bacterial blight, hollow stem
  • Crown gall
  • Fasciation
  • Fusarium wilt
  • Gray mold
  • Leaf spots
  • Powdery mildew
  • Root and stem rot
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Viruses
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