Chrysanthemum Christchurch NZ
The traditional symbol of Mother's Day, the chrysanthemum
originally became the bunch of flowers to buy mum on the
second Sunday in May after florists noticed they were more
abundant than carnations, the occasion's former signature bloom.
According to John Atkinson of NZ Flowerbiz Christchurch Master Florist, the chrysanthemum does not coincide with Mother's Day overseas.
In many parts of the world bunches of chrysanthemums are used for the equivalent of our Mother's Day even if they do have to be flown from the opposite hemisphere.
"Today in Britain, chrysanthemum growers manipulate light levels to produce this natural autumn flower for the Chelsea Flower Show in spring (May)."
The chrysanthemum's history can be traced back many centuries to China.
It is through the importance Japan has given to the chrysanthemum that we have the huge range of types and colours available today. It is indeed the Emperor's Flower in Japan.
When people thought about the chrysanthemum it was usually the morifolium type, chrysanthemum expert and author of Growing Chrysanthemums, Bruce Skeen said. "It comes in a variety of forms, tight incurved, loose incurving, formal, reflexed and loose reflexing. Also in the selection is the Fantasy (spiders and quilled), singles, anemone-centred and pompoms.
"Depending on where a grower resides some of the loose incurving and loose reflexing have a potential of reaching 253mm in diameter and depth.
"Throughout Australia and New Zealand chrysanthemums are at their best between Anzac Day and Mother's Day."
Mr Blackwell said the perennial plant would bloom each year, even if left in the same garden spot.
"It is, however, better to take cuttings in spring or simply dig up the old stool (plant), break it up and plant the pieces with new shoots on them. With the shortage of outlets providing a good range of plants, sharing some of the plants around is a good idea," he said.
Ron Seaton, owner of Ronlynn Gardens Chrysanthemums in Lesmurdie, said it was best to plant the flower via cuttings in October as they could take some time to flower.
"They are very easy to grow and they really don't take a lot of work," he said.
"When growth resumes after cutting back, removal of the very tip of the growing portion of the stem will promote more branching and flowers, and in some cases help determine bloom date.
"Large-flowered types should not be pinched after December 15. Small-flowered types can be pinched up to December 20."
The hardy plant is able to tolerate extremes of heat and cold. They like a neutral (pH7) soil and will grow in the open ground or in pots.
The sun-loving flower best suits shallow plantings because they were surface feeding, Mr Skeen said.
"Given a good base feed at planting time, additional dry feeds during the growing season and liquid feedings at least once each fortnight, interested growers will be rewarded with strong healthy plants," he said.
"Unfortunately they will need to be staked and tied. One must keep an eye out for brown and white rust, caterpillars and aphids."
The chrysanthemum is Japan's national flower (though there is some argument that the cherry blossom claims the title), according to chrysanthemum expert Bruce Skeen.
"There is also some claim that it is not a rising sun that features on the Japanese flag but an opening chrysanthemum."