INTRODUCTION TO EXHIBITION CHRYSANTHEMUMS
Section 8, Fantasy, is Wind
goes to 24 cms across! [see large photo at left]
a show, these blooms are in vases around 22 cms high – big blooms
are one to a vase, smaller three. The real test is the five blooms
to a vase class –
imagine trying to stuff five floor mops into one vase. Most of the
illustrations of these Sections are from the New Zealand North
Island National Show 2007.
to Grow Exhibition
who grows tomatoes can grow Exhibition Chrysanthemums –
they need plenty of ‘food’, staking, and spraying for fungus and
insects, and a fair measure of patience. They are grown from
cuttings taken from shoots arising from the ‘soil’ at the base
of a stock plant. Late Spring is the best time.
are about 6 cms long and should be dipped in liquid rooting compound
before inserting in either sand or a mixture of sand and potting
mix. Spray the cutting with a fungicide. The container can be a tray
or pot. Either way, it should be sealed inside a plastic bag let in
progress and moisten the ‘sand’ if necessary.
three weeks, a small hole can be made to let in air, and after
another week, the bag can be eased off.
If all has gone well, you have a new plant! With potting mix plus a
little sand and slow-release fertiliser, the young plant is then
moved to a new pot about 12 cms across and left in shade. Then after
a week to settle, gradually shifted to full sun.
another month or so, the plant can be re-potted into its final
container that is a plastic ‘bucket’ (orchid planter), plastic
bag, or ceramic pot. Use potting
plus slow-release fertiliser.
force the plant to make side shoots, it is necessary to nip out the
growing tip when the plant is about 20 cms high –
this is often repeated four to six weeks later. The aim is to
produce four or so strong near vertical shoots/branches. Flower buds
appear in late Summer.
is necessary to select the best on each stem and remove the rest and
any others that pop up later. By mid-Autumn you should have, say,
four half-open buds sitting at the top of each stem. At this stage
the plant needs to be repositioned out of any rain.
all goes well, four beautiful blooms should be fully out by late
Autumn. You can cut and enjoy these, or give to friends, and either
way feel pleased about how clever and patient you are. You could
enter them in a local show and if successful feel especially pleased
by proving how very skilful and very patient you are!
go to your local Show – you’ll see some ‘Blooming Great
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of ‘Daisy’ and
you’ll probably think: small, white with yellow centre, grows in
lawn, in Spring, weed. Expand this a little and you
might add: African Daisy (Arctotis), Gerbera, or Shasta Daisy –
they all look a bit the same. Seeking further information on these
may throw up ‘Chrysanthemum’ – now there’s a tricky word to
spell, but easy plant to find at the supermarket or garden centre.
Yes, it too can be called a ‘daisy’: fairly small, various
colours and styles, grows in pot, all seasons, cultivated plant ….
you probably don’t know much about its big sister the Exhibition
plants grow to around shoulder height, white and yellow and most
other colours except blue (if you ever see a blue chrysanthemum you
should examine what you’ve been imbibing), usually grown in ‘buckets’,
flowers in autumn with blooms to 26 cms and as a cut flower will
last for a good two weeks – absolutely fabulous!
do you see these blooms?
some florists have sources, most Exhibition Chrysanthemums are grown
by enthusiastic home gardeners. The only time the public see the
outcome of their labours is at local Society shows or at National
shows. These are big occasions where growers can hone their
competitive skills and visitors feast their eyes.
can you expect to see?
who is concerned about genetic modification should note that without
such modification present day blooms would be similar in size to the
lawn daisy and yellow. The original plants were a native of China,
subsequently introduced into Japan where it is the national flower.
With the tea trade developing in the 17th century, the plant was
brought back to Europe where much of the modification was
After a couple of centuries of
hybridisation, the basic
range of modern chrysanthemums was established.
this process continues in a search to produce new varieties
(cultivars) that are more visually interesting, are more resistant
to disease and generally stronger plants. For show purposes the
Autumn flowering blooms (there are others that flower earlier) are
divided into Sections starting with the biggest blooms, Large
Exhibition, each a huge heap of small curved petals overall about 20
sections where blooms are smaller follow before the next section
catering for slightly smaller blooms that have petals that turn
down, Reflex Decorative. Yes, there is a section for blooms with
petals that turn up, and petals that can’t make their mind up
which way to go and turn both up and down! The nearest bloom
to the original simple daisy has its section, Single, and its mate
with a domed centre, Anemone Centred.
spectacular section has long thin petals like the strings of an
old-style floor mop held upright, Fantasy – always a crowd
pleaser. There are other sections with further variations. Within
Sections, each variety has its name, for example, in Section 1 we
is light bronze with darker inner petals; Section 4 the Reflexing, Folk
Song; in New
Zealand, the most grown in Section 7, Single, is Glad