- Scientific name: Chrysanthemum morifolium
- Local name: Chrysanthemum
- Hindi name: Guldaudi
- Family: Asteraceae
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium) is grown in open as well as protected environments for cut flowers, loose flowers, pot mums, and garden display purposes. In India, Chrysanthemum is grown in 16,630 ha with a production of 179,370 MT as loose flower and 5,720 MT as a cut flower (Indian Horticulture Database). It is the third most important loose flower in the southern states after rose and crossandra and is being cultivated mainly in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Telangana. It is more popular as a cut flower and potted plant for exhibition purposes in Northern India, however, its use as a loose flower has picked up in recent times. The demand for loose flowers peaks during major festivals like Dusshera and Diwali.
Climate and Soil requirement for chrysanthemum cultivation
it’s a short-day plant for flower bud initiation. The minimum length of the continual dark period, necessary for bud initiation, has been reported to be not but 9.5 hr/day which is generally available from August onwards. A well-drained, sandy loam soil of fine texture and aeration, with a neutral or slightly acidic pH (6.5-7.0) and a high organic content is good for Chrysanthemum. Very light sandy soils aren’t recommended due to their poor moisture-holding properties.
Cultivar Varieties of Chrysanthemum
The present-day colorful varieties have arisen through random hybridization, spontaneous and induced mutations, and selection. Two forms of florets are present in the bloom. the tiny florets which are present at the middle of the bloom are called disc florets. The outer broad florets are called ray florets. In some cases, the disc is visible and well-developed, whereas in others it’s covered with florets. Ray florets may have different directions of growth and are arranged on the receptacle in distinctive patterns. Some of the florets may be curved upwards and inwards. Bloom type depends mainly upon the relative number of two kinds of florets, their shapes, and directions of growth. they’re mainly classified as incurving, reflexing, anemone, pompon, spider, quilled, spoon, and ball type. Chrysanthemum varieties are listed below depending upon the purpose that they’re used.
Cut spray type: Apsara, Birbal Sahani, Jayanti, Jubilee, Kundan, Purnima, Nanako, Megami, Riot, Arctic and Charlia, Flirt, Ratna, Discovery, Nanako, Kundan, Shyamal, Nilima, Ravi Kiran, Pusa Anmol (off-season production in Hills), Pusa Aditya, Pusa Chitraksha.
Cut standard type: Pusa Centenary, Pusa Kesari, Thai Chen Queen, Tata Century, Snow Ball, Sonar Bangla, Snow Don, Mountaineer, etc.
Garland purpose type: Baggi, Basanti, Shanti, Indira, Rakhi, Red Gold, Birbal Sahani, Vasantika, Sharad Mala, Meera, Yellow Bangala, Kundan, Neelima, Ajay, Ratlam Selection, and Jaya.
Pot mums type: Sadbhavana, Liliput, Pusa Sona, Lalpari, Himanshu, Kasturba Gandhi, Pink Cloud, Pink Casket, Jack Straw, Evening Star, Goldie, and John Reid.
Propagation method for Chrysanthemum
Propagation by Suckers
Small-flowered varieties are generally propagated by suckers which develop from the underground portion of the plant. A large number of suckers are produced when the plant is cut back after the blooming is over. Suckers are separated and planted during January-February. Transfer of soil-borne diseases through suckers and lack of uniformity of growth are some of the disadvantages of this method.
Propagation by Cuttings
Another important method of propagation is through cuttings. The cuttings are mostly prepared during June/July. The advantage of this method is that the plants developed from cuttings are mostly uniform and therefore the risk of disease transfer is less. Growth is relatively slow than suckers while the mortality rate is higher because of the rooting process. The terminal portions (10-12 cm) of vigorously growing bushes are harvested and soaked in carbendazim solution for 10-15 min. All the basal leaves are removed except two terminal leaves. The cut ends of the cuttings are dipped in a 300 ppm streptomycin sulphate solution to manage phytoplasma diseases. For faster rooting, the cut ends are dipped in 500 ppm IBA solution (500 mg of IBA in 1 liter of water).
Propagation by Seed
Commercially annual chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum coronarium), which is grown for loose flower the purpose is propagated by seed. In perennial chrysanthemum, only single and semi-double varieties set seed which is used for crop improvement by the breeders.
Propagation by Tissue culture
Protocols have been standardized for micropropagation. However, it is being preferred only in the case of those varieties that are new and where rapid bulking of parent material is required.
Planting of Chrysanthemum
Planting of rooted cuttings is done during July-August. Large-scale field cultivation of chrysanthemum is done for loose flowers to be used for various purposes like garland and veni making. Small-flowered double Korean types are mostly grown in the field. Yellow and white varieties are usually preferred for loose flower purposes. The field is ploughed twice before planting. After ploughing, 35-50 tonnes of farmyard manure/ha is applied at the time of preparation of beds. Planting is done at a distance of about 20 cm x 20 cm for early blooming varieties, 25 cm x 25 cm for mid-season varieties, and 30 cm x 30 cm for late-blooming varieties. Standard and spray type cultivars are planted on raised beds of 40-45 cm width at a distance of 12.5 cm x 12.5 cm and 20 cm x 20 cm, respectively.
Training system used in Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum can be trained for various decorative and attractive forms as described here.
Standard: Standard type training is done For the better shape of the plants and attractive extra-large flowers, large-flowered chrysanthemums are trained as a standard producing 1-3 blooms per plant. For this, rooted cuttings are transplanted in July month in beds or small pots. Later repotting is done in bigger pots and at last into 25 cm pots in August month. Disbudding is done by way of removing axillary buds leaving only terminal bud. These plants bloom in November-December and are normally tall and want support.
Spray or bush form: Spray or bush form is a specific cultural practice for small to medium flowering chrysanthemums. Korean, anemone, button, charm, stellate, decorative, and quilled blooms are the most suitable varieties for this type of practice. To promote side shoots, soft pinching is done when the plants attain about 20 cm height. Two to three lateral primary branches are retained and again soft pinched. By pinching selectively and regularly, plants may be given the desired shape. In this form of training, The most important method is the use of soft pinching to outer or lower branches and hard pinching to the central or higher branches. Normally, in this case, disbudding is not practiced.
Senrintsukuri: It is a Japanese style of chrysanthemum culture. It means growing a thousand blooms. In this method, a plant is designed to a geometric shape (6-10 concentric circles in a stepped manner) and it is trained in such a way that about 200-300 blooms per plant are formed having an approximate height of 150-180 cm and a diameter of 18-25 cm. Varieties suitable for this should have vigorous growth habits in all directions, long internodes, profuse branching habit with flexible stems and strong stem joints; in a curve or reflex type with medium-sized blooms, long pedicel, and should be a uniform blooming habit.
Pot-mums: Pot mums are very popular lately as these require less space and are easy to handling and transportation. The pots could also be easily exposed to artificial lighting and shading. Therefore, the availability of successive batches of pot-mums is possible for an extended period during the year. In normal practice, one cutting of plant is planted in one pot. The plant grows tall and therefore the lower portion of the stem looks naked. In bigger size pots (20-25 cm), more cuttings (up to 5) are planted during July-August. Pot-mums may or might not be pinched as per choice. In no-pinch pot-mums, the number of flowers is nearly as many as the number of plants (5-7). the height of plants of pot-mums is usually uniform. Uniformity of height is maintained by selecting the suitable variety, right time of planting, and pinching. Disbudding is adopted for better bloom size and attractiveness of the plant.
Cascade form: The plants trained in cascade form give the effect of a waterfall within the blooming stage. It is also a Japanese art of chrysanthemum culture. The stem is formed to bend down above the rim of the container. For beautiful cascades (small, medium, and large-sized), selected varieties should have long internodes for large cascades, short internodes for medium and tiny cascades, thick but flexible stems, and profuse branching and prolific blooming habit. the chosen varieties like Jaya, Aparajita, Mayur, and Flirt are planted within the bed during July in a slanting position (60° angle). a robust bamboo stake is additionally inserted in the soil at the same angle. Another vertical stake may be tied with the slanting stake to prevent damage to the plant because of wind. Strong bamboo frames of desired shape and design are kept ready in June month. The plants are dug out very carefully from bed with large balls in August and planted during a large pot at a 45° angle. The main stem and branches are tied to the frame at several places to give support to the plant. The frame is bent gradually downward by applying pressure taking care that the main stem isn’t broken or cracked. The operation should be done very carefully, slowly, and step-by-step so that the plant acquires a horizontal shape. Sometimes weight is tied at the tip of the frame for gradual bending. Pinching is the most crucial technique in formation of a cascade. it’s started at the height of 15-25 cm from the bottom and continued till September. Both soft and hard pinching is performed. October is that the most crucial period when bud initiation starts.
Coniform: Normally the highest of potted small-flowered chrysanthemums is flattened in bush type. the shape of the plant could also be made conical by special training. The varieties which produce profuse lateral branching from the bottom of the main branch upward are most suited to this. For giving an ideal coniform shape, staking and pinching are most important. A strong, vertical, bamboo stake is employed from the very starting to keep the most stem erect. the primary lateral shoots from the highest are removed. Second lateral shoots are allowed to grow upwards. Eventually, other lateral shoots which develop late are pinched selectively. The longer shoots are at the bottom and shorter ones at the upper level. because of selective pinching, the bottom of the plant becomes broad and narrowing upward to offer a coniform plant. To support the branches, additional bamboo stakes are used to maintain an ideal coniform plant.
Media used for Chrysanthemum cultivar
The compost mixture of clay, farmyard manure, and leaf mould in a 1:2:2 ratio is very good for the proper growth of pot plants. For rooting of cuttings, almost any porous mixture that is not toxic can be used as a rooting medium. The mixture of two parts each of cocopeat and perlite and one part of vermiculite is perhaps the most common medium because it is easily obtained produces consistent results and does not separate from the roots during shipment. Sandy soil can also be used as rooting media.
Nutritional Requirement for Chrysanthemum
A fertilizer dose of 200:150:100 kg NPK/ha is recommended for commercial cultivation of chrysanthemum for loose or cut flower purposes. The entire dose of P is added at the time of planting, and Nitrogen and Potassium are applied in two split doses i.e., basal and at the flower bud initiation stage.
At the early stage in pots, a small amount of oil cake is added over the soil in the pot and it is allowed to dissolve slowly by normal irrigation process. When the root system is well-established (August), the application of liquid manure is advised. Fresh cow dung and oil cakes are allowed to rot in a container consisting of water. This decanted solution is applied once a week as watering. Fertilizer solution is also recommended as liquid manure. During September, liquid manure (5 g potassium nitrate and 5 g ammonium nitrate dissolved in 10 liters of water) is applied twice at fortnightly intervals.
Irrigation in Chrysanthemum Cultivation
Chrysanthemums require frequent and thorough watering before monsoon. It is advisable not to irrigate pots in the afternoon. The open drainage system should be maintained in beds and pots as these plants are very sensitive to excessive water. There should not be waterlogging in beds and pots during the rainy season. The excess water at the top of the pot should be tilted out to prevent damage. If the water accumulation is due to clogging of the drainage hole and faulty potting mixture, checking of the drainage hole and changing of the old potting mixture by new potting mixture is recommended. Excess water accumulation can cause serious damage to the plant roots. The leaves become yellow and plants become sick. If proper care is not taken, there is considerable casualty during the rainy season.
Aftercare in Chrysanthemum
Staking: Staking is a necessary process to keep plants erect and maintain the proper shape of plants and bloom. Stakes are prepared from bamboos. The number of stakes to be used for a plant depends upon the grower. Normally one stake is used when a grower needs a single bloom per plant. If a grower needs 3 blooms per plant, he requires 3 stakes. In small-flowered variety for profuse bloomings, 5-8 stakes are used. The stakes are inserted in the pot slightly slanting outward to provide sufficient space for flower development at the top. When the bloom starts showing color the surplus length of the stake is uniformly cut below the level of bud for uniform growth of bloom.
Pinching: If chrysanthemums are left on their own for growth after planting, the growth is generally upward with little or no branching. this provides the plant an inappreciable shape with few flowers. To arrest such tall growth, pinching is done. it’s done with thumb and forefinger, although knives and scissors also can be used. it’s also called stopping.
Only the soft vegetative shoot tips half to one inch long are removed. Pinching refers to the removal of the growing tips of the plant to induce the growth of vegetative lateral parts. it’s most essential for small-flowered chrysanthemums. The practice of Pinching is performed both in suckers and in cuttings.
De-suckering: During the vegetative growth phase, the plants grow upwards and the new suckers continue to develop from the bottom of plants, and the suckers are removed from time to time. This practice is done for the proper and vigorous growth of plants.
Disbudding and dis-shooting: These operations of disbudding are mostly performed for large-flowered and decorative chrysanthemums. In this, except largest terminal bud all axillary buds are removed. Disbudding of spray type is very easy to perform because in this method the large apical bud is removed and the axillary buds are allowed to develop. there’s no specific rule for disbudding of spray varieties, it varies with the kind of spray produced.
Diseases and pests in Chrysanthemum
Aphids (Myzus persicae), Red spider mites (Tetranychus urtica), Hairy caterpillars (Diacrisia oblique), Army worm (Spodoptera litura), Thrips (Thrips nigropilosus), Leaf miner (Phytomyza syngenesiae), are important insects and pests. Leaf spot, powdery mildew (Odium chrysanthemi), White rust (Puccinia chrysanthemi), Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum), Grey mould (Botrytis cinerea), and Bacterial blight (Erwinia chrysanthemi) are important viral diseases that affect crop yield.
Harvesting and post-harvest management in Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemums are mostly sold in the market as potted plants, cut flowers, and loose flowers. There is no specific period of harvesting. There are various types of varieties early blooming, normal period blooming, and late blooming. Therefore, Chrysanthemum is harvested according to its blooming period. Different types of packing materials-newspaper, craft paper, corrugated paper, and tissue paper have been recommended for packing cut blooms. For increasing the vase-life of cut flowers, a preservative solution containing sucrose (1.5%) and 8-HQC (200 ppm) is recommended.
The loose flowers are harvested in the early morning before sunrise and packed in plastic crates for long-distance markets. The crates are stacked one over the other and transported by road or rail. Packaging in gunny bags leads to floret damage and thereby, less price in the market.