This method of growing chrysanthemums, whether as a hobby, or for show purposes will provide pleasure as well as satisfaction, for young and old alike, requiring no physical strain, and one can grow in a very limited space, a couple of plants, a couple of dozen, or even more, once the bug gets you.
The ease of transporting to shows, plus the actual staging, is certainly a plus, over conventional blooms.
Grown properly, it should be possible to produce, a top class bloom, in fact a champion. I do consider a grand champion could be produced if one were able to coerce the judges, into considering a pot plant as being a Grand Champion of the show. I did have correspondence, with Graham Sharpe that renowned Victorian grower, at one time on this issue and he considered if it were the best bloom in the show he would give it the award, however overall in a close decision I do not think that the judges would agree. Ultimately I suppose one could cut the bloom and display on the bench in the appropriate section.
Growing of pot plants, is not new in itself, as in the U.K.National Chrysanthemum Annual for 1957, there is an article on the subject, showing two methods: -
(a) DECORATIVES, WHICH ARE NATURALLY DWARF
(b) GROWING CULTIVARS THAT CAN BE DWARFED BY MANIPULATION WITH CHEM1CAL RETARDANTS.
However the popularity of dwarf pot plants, has greatly increased over the past two or three years, with the advent of the Japanese method of culture, aptly called FUKUSUKE, and pronounced FOO KOO SKA, which interpreted means a large headed dwarf.
There can be little doubt that Graham Sharpe with his introduction of Japanese cultivars, both decoratives, (especially the skirted type) and Spiders, known as fantasies in some States, has been the protagonist in establishing FUKUSUKE, in Australia. A new development is DARUMA, which is growing three blooms up in a larger pot, using similar procedures to FUKUSUKE, a rather more exacting proposition, however the end result is quite spectacular.
My own interest, goes back to the 1986 South Australian show, when I put up several pots, the best of which was a Spider called NIGHTINGALE. Incidentally, these were all grown in 5" pots instead the usual 6"(15cm) due to an error in translation.
The basics of growing dwarf plants are simple. To produce a plant up to show standard, it is essential to use cultivars that are conducive to this type of growing Natural short growing types, are recommended especially the latest Japanese skirted cultivars. Spiders, are really outstanding and it is permitted to use a ring support to give them their full beauty. Incurves, are also suitable, along with Anemones.
The object should be to produce a fully developed bloom in a 15 cm pot. Squat pots would be preferable, from an appearance point of view, but are not essential.
Suggested Program for Southern Australia
1. 16th .... 26th October
3. 20th ....30th December
4. 4th ....5th January
5. 10th ....15th January
(note 4 to 5 day lapse)
· Spray rooted cuttings, using a spreader agent, top half of foliage only to run off point.
· Plant to be turgid before application.
· Foliage not to be wetted for 24 hours after application.
· Not to be mixed with other chemicals.
6. 25th January....5th
7. 21 days after spraying with the growth retardant, ‘Bonzi,’ give a second spray.
8. Select buds as they
appear and remove all other shoots
Feed at weekly intervals with products such as Phostrogen, Nitrosel or Maxicrop. Raw sugar can be incorporated, should the weather be on the dull side. The dosage is 500 grams to one litre of water, feed at the rate of one part per 200. This can be incorporated with usual liquid feed.
11 ... PESTS.
Use Dysiston Granular, as per manufacturer instructions to prevent foliar damage, and once again take great care and use gloves and face mask.
In order to meet show dates, it is advisable, to have some pots started a week earlier and others a week later than the preceding dates, thus giving a wider scope, particularly as some cultivars react differently to the retarding treatment