Growing Chrysanthemum: Production of Pot-Plants and Cut-Flowers

Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat or Garden Chrysanthemum is one of the most important floricultural crops of the world. The Garden Chrysanthemum is a member of plant Family Asteraceae, and is characterized by presence of an ornamental Capitulum(flower-head).

Due to the tremendous range of its floral forms, hues and patterns, it is ranked second in the world with respect to ornamental market value and comes only after Rose. Chrysanthemum are grown as potted plants, in beds, borders, for interior decoration, as cut-flowers, gloral-bunches, as loose flowers, for making garlands and venis, for religious ceremonies, etc.

The present day ‘Garden Chrysanthemum’ is the outcome of 2500 to 3000 years of repeated random hybridizations and continous selections, from its several elemental ancestral species, that were growing in Eastern Asia.

In India, ‘Garden Chrysanthemum’ was under cultivation since the 17th century in north India. The cultivated varieties were probably of Australian, English, French, Japanese or American origin in addition to those that originated within India. It was during the British period in India that the much sought after ‘exhibition types’ were introduced in east India, particularly in Kolkata and Sikkim.

Classification of Varieties

The diverse Chrysanthemum morifolium varieties have also been classified into different categories based on ornamental level with respect to different capitulum shapes, sizes, forms; relative arrangemnt of disc and/or ray florets, their respective colors, shapes, sizes, development and distribution of flowers on branches, which is essential for their uses and identification purposes.

Agro-technology for Pot-Plants and Cut-Flowers

Chrysanthemums are grown both in beds and in pots. The potted Chrysanthemums are mostly used for decorating gardens, landscaping lawns, houses and for elegant displays during flower shows. Large-scale field cultivation is done for cut-flowers to be used for various purposes like garland, venimaking etc.

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Soil type, Preparation of field, Potting mixture , Feeding and Care

  • A well-drained sandy loam with high organic content is best suited; with pH value in the slightly acidic range (pH 6.5 – 7.0).
  • The field is plowed 2 to 3 times before planting. At the time of bed-preparation, Farmyard manure (FYM) at 15 to 20 tonnes per acre is applied. Best results are obtained with fertilizer at the rate of 25 kg nitrogen, 40 kg of P2O5, and 40 kg of K2O per acre. Some growers apply Urea at 30 kg per acre at the color showing stage.
  • For potting mix compost, a mixture of soil:FYM: Leaf Mould:: 1::2:2, is recommended in the given ratio. Sometimes, 2 table-spoons of Super-phosphate are also added with this compost.
  • The top portion (2 cm) of each pot is filled during the September end by a compost mix having proportion, Neem Cake:FYM:Soil: Wood Ash:: 1:4:8:4.
  • Liquid manure should be prepared and applied after the establishment of roots. Dissolve 5g Potassium Nitrate and 5 g Ammonium Nitrate and apply twice at a 15-day interval.
  • At the time of flower -bud initiation, apply 2 fortnightly doses of liquid manure mentioned above.
  • Thereafter, 2 weekly doses of different liquid manure(Potassium Nitrate 30 g + Urea 5 g dissolved in 10 liters of water) are applied.
  • Proper drainage is required to be maintained every time and especially during monsoon. Under no circumstances, the Chrysanthemum should get water-logged.

Planting

Suckers: Suckers are harvested from older plants in the months of January-February and planted at 30 cm distance in the prepared beds. Monthly pinching of oung plants is done from April to June for vigorous and profuse branching. Some of these plants are used for preparation of cutting during July to August. Fourth pinching is performed during mid August followed by final pinching by mid-end of spetember.

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Cutting: During July to August 3″ to 5″ terminal sturdy vegetative shoots long are neatly cut from branches using scatier. The basal leaves from each cutting are removed leaving the younger aperleaves. The cuttings are then immersed for 5 to 10 min in some systemic fungicide solution(0.2 % to 0.5% Bavistin) to avoid any fungal growth later. The cuttings are then planted in heat-sterlized coarse sand(morang) filled into 10″ pots or into raised(6″ to 9″) brick-block structures. Healthy roots are initiated in 2 to 3 weeks if the coarse sand is kept partially shaded, moist and well drained.

Horticultural Practices

Pinching: Pinching refers to the timely regular removal of the growing terminal vegerative shoot tips of the plant to induce axillary branches. Pinching is the most important method in Chrysanthemum culture especially for its small-flowered variety.

  • Soft Pinching – Top soft-tips with 2 to 3 leaves are removed.
  • Hard Pinching – Top 3″ to 4″ inches of stem axes are removed.

Dis-budding: Method applied to many of the standard type of varieties in which all axillary flower-buds are removed during growth period and only largest terminal flower-bud is retained.

Di-shooting: Method in which terminal growing tip of plant is removed to induce 2 to 3 axiallry branches. Di-shooting is done when more than one bloom is required per plant.

Staking: Staking is necessary to keep plants erect and to maintain proper shape of plants and bloom. Stakes are prepared mostly from bamboos.

Mulching: Mulching is done to discourage weeds and conserve moisture for good growth of root system. Buckwheat hulls, ground corn cobs, pine needles, straw, cotton seeds, etc are common mulches used in the Chrysanthemum culture.

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De-suckering: During the vegetative phase, sometimes new suckers continue to develop from the base of the plant and vertical growth of the main axis gets restricted. For proper and vigorous growth of the plants, suckers are removed from time to time.

Application of Plant growth regulators

  • GA3 is sprayed at 25 to 30 days after planting at 5 to 10 ppm concentration to increase stem length of standard Chrysanthemum. Increase in peduncle length in pompons can be achieved by spraying GA3 20 ppm, 4 weeks after the start of short days.
  • B-9 and SADH at 2500 ppm reduces peduncle length and cell division. NAA at 100 ppm delays flowering whereas GA3 at 100 ppm promote earlt flowering.

Training

There are several training methods by which various shapes are given:

  • Standard
  • Sen Rin Tsukuri
  • Bush form
  • Pot Mums
  • Cascade Form
  • Coniform or Pyramid form
  • Fan Form

Germplasm Collection

Methods for germplasm collection of 225 varieties belonging to its all ornamanetal vategoreis have been developed which include 65 large-flowered, 135 small-flowered and 25 mini or dwarf varieties.

Pests and Diseases

Chrysanthemumsare often attacked by common fungi, bacteroa and viruses, which affect crop growth and production of flowers. Sprayin of insecticides and fungi cides at regualt interval is recommended to keep the plants healthy.

Sale Price

  • Rooted Cuttings : Rs. 400 to 600 per 100 nos.
  • Potted plants in bloom: Rs. 200 to 400 per pot
  • Cut flowers : Rs. 50 to 100 per bunch (3 to 4 sprays)

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