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In Italy the chrysanthemum blooms at the end of October and it is customary to attribute a fatal meaning to this flower due to the concomitance of flowering with the celebration of the dead. In reality, however, the name, which derives from the Greek, literally means golden flower
and has therefore been associated by tradition with absolutely positive values. In Korea and in China it is the
flower of the festivities
(weddings, birthdays, etc.); in Japan it is the national flower and the
its beauty is celebrated every year by the Emperor who, on the occasion of the flowering, opens to the public the gardens of the Reggia, presenting the most recent varieties to all the guests. The meaning that the Eastern World is usually attributed to chrysanthemum it is therefore that of life and happiness.


Family and gender

Compositae, January Chrysanthemum
Type of plantPerennial suffrutticosa
GroundNeutral or subacid of medium texture, well drained
colorsWhite, yellow, red, pink, orange, green, brown
CultureModerately easy
FloweringOctober, November, the early days in July-August
Height50-60 cm / 1 m
PropagationSeed, division, semi-woody tip cutting


The chrysanthemums are part of the large Compositae family, the chrysanthemum genus, which some 200 species and many hybrids and cultivars refer to.
It is a perennial plant with partly woody and partly herbaceous branches whose height can vary greatly: from 20 cm to 1 meter. They carry oval leaves with incised margins.
The inflorescences are a head. The flowers of the ray, similar to petals, have variable shapes, colors and arrangement.
There are many colors: white, pink, red, orange, yellow, purple and brown.


It is originally from China. Its name derives from the Greek and means "golden flower".
In China it was already cultivated in 500 BC and was very popular in the East to the point that it soon became the national flower of Japan. In these countries it symbolizes life and its presence can be found in many works of art: paintings, embroidery, poetry and fiction. Japan was the first country to create a garden of only chrysanthemums and still today there are many parks of this kind. They arrived in Europe in the late 1700s. They were very lucky as garden plants in the United Kingdom (and consequently, today, in the United States). In Italy, unfortunately, they began to be cultivated for November 2nd and they were associated in an almost indelible way to this anniversary.


Most varieties bloom in autumn, in late October-early November.
However, there are some early flowering types, for example coccineums or hybrids of Superbum. These start in July to finish in September.


They prefer to live in a warm-temperate environment. When the plant develops (therefore in the late summer) they want a temperature between 15 and 25 ° C. It is important, however, that they are positioned in a well-ventilated area to avoid rot and mold.
Once acclimatized, the plant does not particularly suffer from the cold on condition of being mulched abundantly.


They love the full sun. It is a brevidiurna plant: it blooms, that is, when the hours of light begin to shorten and those of darkness become predominant. Exactly for this reason the chrysanthemum It is the plant used to celebrate the dead in autumn, because it is in this period that most of the varieties of chrysanthemum give the best of themselves with regard to flowering.


They prefer a medium-textured, well-drained soil. The ideal pH is neutral, but some varieties are even better in a slightly alkaline soil. During watering we avoid drowning the chrysanthemum plants and leaving the soil constantly wet because this could cause diseases.


They can be transplanted in autumn (that is when the vases are in bloom in the shops): you need to prepare the hole in advance. It must be larger than the earth bread and the distance between one plant and another must be at least 60 cm in all directions. Generally the ideal is to insert 3 to m2
They can also be planted in spring (indeed, for their acclimatization it would be the ideal option) if you can find them on the market. The plants will be smaller, but the distance of 60 cm must be respected to allow them to develop freely.

Pot cultivation

If you want to grow them in pots it is better to prepare a rather large one, at least 30 cm deep. You need to insert a good medium-textured soil with a good drainage layer composed of expanded clay or gravel.
It is also possible to insert them in boxes counting that the ideal is an adult plant or two young every 40 cm in length.
Being plants that need frequent watering it can be useful to use the saucer.


They are plants that need a lot of water and, in the absence of rain, they must be irrigated daily.
It is better to intervene early in the morning because the leaves and the base can dry out well before evening and therefore avoid the onset of mold such as oidium or of the rot of the collar.
However, before watering the chrysanthemum plants we check that the soil is dry and avoid unnecessary and dangerous water stagnation. The frequency and the amount of water of the watering must be adjusted according to the temperatures.


At the time of spring planting it is always better to place a good amount of organic fertilizer (mature manure) on the bottom of the hole. It is advisable but also to mix a good balanced fertilizer with slow release microelements to the soil to be inserted in the hole. At the end of summer, to stimulate abundant flowering, it is advisable to intervene with at least two weekly fertilizations: it is better to use a liquid product with a high potassium content.

Pruning and topping

The plants are pruned when the first frosts arrive. It is necessary to intervene by cutting the withered branches about 10 cm from the ground. In spring the plant will develop new shoots both from under the ground and from the remaining branches. It is very important to obtain abundant blooms by trimming the branches. If it is performed regularly, it performs the function of awakening the side buds and favoring the branching. It begins in May, when the branches have reached a length of about 25 cm and shorten them to about 10 cm from the ground. This operation must be repeated several times (usually three) during the summer with the aim of keeping the plant compact, reducing its height and favoring its thickening and strengthening. Without this intervention they will be produced in the apical part of the branch of the buds (called in English "break bud") which will stop their growth, but which will very rarely turn into beautiful flowers.
The topping operation requires a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge of its cultivar and / or variety. Only after many tests will we know how many times and with what exact modalities to intervene to obtain the best ornamental result.

Other precautions

Before the winter it is better to clean the base of the plants from the remaining leaves. In fact these could cause rottenness in the collar.
The ideal is to carry out this cleaning in time and mulch the base with a mixture of leaves and peat.

Pests and diseases

If grown outdoors they are usually very healthy plants. It may happen that they are hit by powdery mildew (especially if they are kept in a poorly ventilated position). In this case it is better to prevent sulfur-based products and eventually, in case of strong attack, proceed with the elimination of the most affected leaves and the distribution of a specific product.
They can also be affected by phytophagous insects of different types to fight with insecticides that work by contact and ingestion.


To always have beautiful plants it is better to learn in time to multiply them through cuttings. In this way we will keep the variety unchanged and keep the plants always young.
One of the methods that yield the most results is the semi-woody apical cutting. Proceed in spring-summer using the recovery material of the topping, provided with at least two knots. It must be left to root in a light compound (peat and perlite). Generally they begin to vegetate in two to three weeks.
You can also proceed from December to March with the jets that start directly from the ground. We make cuttings of about 5-6 cm removing the basal leaves. They should be slipped into the sand for about 2 cm in a warm bed. Also in this case we will have rooting in about 15 days. In May they move in jars and you have to start with the topping. Multiplication can also be done by division, by layering or by suckers.
The first is by far the simplest method and it is sufficient to divide the clumps by engraving them. It is an operation that takes place in early spring.
The least used method is certainly sowing. We proceed in this way only when we want to obtain new cultivars. The seeds should be planted immediately after harvesting them, from winter to spring. The ideal is from February to April, in a shaded greenhouse with very sandy and light soil.
It is possible to get the flowering already in the first season.


Here are some very interesting varieties to include in the garden:
A pompon:
Anastasia: bright pink, very showy, 90 cm high
Country: green flower, 60 cm
Julchen: pink with yellow center, 45 cm, compact
Mei-Kyo: bright pink color, 60-70 cm high
Pacificum: inflorescences in yellow bunches, leaves bordered in white, 30 cm high
Artic Queen: very double, white with green center
Artist Yellow: simple, yellow mottled with red.
Brand Food: purple, very double, with yellow-green center.
Calabria: very double, soft pink
Clementines: orange, very double flower, about 50 cm
Emperor of China: very double flower, pink with darker center, 60 cm
Goldfinch: yellow, semi-double, 60 cm, early flowering.
Hastings: fuchsia pink, double, yellow center
Nipponicum: simple flower, white with yellow center, beautiful foliage, 70 cm
Poems: iridescent white with pink, double, 60 cm.
Saffina: spider type, yellow with orange center
Stella: simple flower, white, abundant and showy flowering, 60 cm high
Tapestry Rose: bright pink, simple flower, 75-90 cm.
Vagabond Prince: pink, semi-double, 80-90 cm high
Wedding day: white, simple, very large flower, 120 cm

Use in the garden

Chrysanthemums can have multiple uses in the garden and in Italy it should be used more. In fact they have the undoubted advantage of starting to bloom when most of the other plants prepare themselves for rest: they would help to give more color in our green spaces.
They can be used as isolated specimens or create only flower beds of chrysanthemums.
They are also excellent in mixed borders. For late varieties you can think of good combinations with grasses, asters, helenium, rudbeckie, sedum, celosia, ornamental cabbages and some varieties of Hemerocallis.
On the other hand, the earliest varieties can be combined very easily with many herbaceous perennials: delphinium, phlox, scabiosa ...
Particularly compact cultivars are also used in the rock garden, combined for example with some sedum and crawling asters.

Japanese chrysanthemum

As we said at the beginning of this article, the chrysanthemum It is a very important flower for the Japanese. The chrysanthemum is in fact the national flower and its flowering is so important in Japanese culture that it is celebrated every year with an important national holiday. The day of chrysanthemums is celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, when some varieties of chrysanthemum begin their beautiful flowering.
The chrysanthemum is the symbol of the Japanese imperial house and has a strong symbolic value in this country where the chrysanthemum is attributed values ​​and powers of longevity and healing abilities.
In the world of tattoos the Japanese chrysanthemum It is in great demand among lovers of the Japanese culture and in particular a chrysanthemum is used with a certain frequency slightly ahead with the maturation and with the petals rather open in the external part of the flower.
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