If you want an interesting and exciting experience in seed sowing, try hybrid chrysanthemum seeds.
While looking through a chrysanthemum catalog in February 1958, I found mum seeds from Japan. The description indicated that if they were planted by May, they would bloom the following fall.
They were advertised as a mixture of large exhibitions, spiders, spoons, and others. Naturally, being an inveterate seed sower and novelty seeker, I had to try some.
Germination Of Seed
I own a small greenhouse, so I did jump the season by planting in March 1958. I planted the seeds in a flat of moist sandy soil, barely covered them with more soil, sprinkled lightly with water, and put a plastic sheet over the flat.
This was March 23rd. On March 27th, the first seeds started to germinate. They grew so fast that by April 9th, I started transplanting them into pots and paper cups.
Between June 10th and June 27th, they were transplanted into my outdoor flower bed.
Every seedling bloomed beginning October 10th. Since I did not know what each would be, no disbudding was done.
As they bloomed, I labeled them, noting to disbud the types I thought should be disbudded the following year.
To me, every seedling was beautiful, and I tried as nearly as I could to describe them in a notebook, giving each a number with a corresponding number on a label.
Seedlings That Opened
My first to open was a dark orchid quill, which was an exciting day! It was followed by:
- A pale pink spoon
- A large pale orchid exhibition
- A delicate orchid pink spider
- A large true pink daisy with a double row of petals
- A white spider with a yellow-green center
- A curly spoon
- A copper-colored, which was low growing, and many other colors and variations, each different
We had our first frost on October 27th, but I was still cutting mums on November 14th. I mulch my beds with pine straw to hold the moisture and for mild protection.
Our winters in northern Louisiana are not too harsh, but we have fluctuating weather, which is hard on plants.
Our low for that year was 12° degrees Fahrenheit above zero. My plants came through beautifully.
In 1959 I waited until April to plant and had the same good germination. However, I lost some seedlings while on an emergency trip in June.
If I had planted these in the flower bed before I left, they would have been all right. Those that survived did well in the flower beds, and I was due for more surprises at bloom time.
Floriferous Pale Orchid Quill
To me, one outstanding one was a low-growing plant with blooms on stiff, straight stems that required no staking.
This was a pale orchid quill. The floriferous plant looked as if it were covered with pale orchid whisk brooms. These blooms withstood several touches of frost and were quite large, although I did not disbud.
Being enthusiastic but ranked amateur, I feel that an accomplished gardener could put on a show with these mums.
This coining year I plan to stake, disbud, spray and do all the proper things for them – but you know – “well-laid plans of nice and men . . . !”
My only pest problems have been aphids (dusted with rose dust) and beetles (pinched when I caught them).
I think anyone could grow these in a flat or grape lug, just using the normal precaution of not letting the seedbed dry out.
Ideal Conditions In The Greenhouse
I certainly didn’t grow them under ideal conditions, as my greenhouse has no thermostatic or automatic controls. Nevertheless, they were easier to grow than many annuals from seed but much more rewarding.
I sent many blooms to various garden clubs, several large bouquets to church for several weeks, sold 18 large bunches at a bazaar, and still had too many for friends and my own use!
44659 by Mrs. H. Richard Jones