November Program–Introduction to Show Chrysanthemums

Our November program was given by Dorrie McDonald from the Chesapeake Garden Club in District 2. She has been growing mums for show as part of the Potomac Mum Society for the past 7 years.  To demonstrate the great variety within show and garden mums, she brought along multiple stupendous examples of unbelievable size and shapes.Only a limited number of stems (max of 3) are allowed to grow flowers in order to get the huge flower heads for exhibition.  She grows her mums using well-draining medium in containers which also makes it easier to do the snipping, pinching and disbudding required to bring prime specimens to show.  She mentioned that she has good luck overwintering her containerized mums by turning the pots on their sides.

Dorrie said that most show mums are obtained from specific growers like Kings Mums out in Oregon. Many of us lost our chrysanthemums–even hardy ones, in the winter of 2014. Kings had a run of bad luck too, so people seeking to replace lost plants or get new ones had to fall back on members of the mum societies to assist and save the day.

Her blooms ran the gamut of classes, some of which were:

Decorative–flattened, open appearance. Cut flowers.

Reflex-fully flexed (florets trend downward), range of sizes

Pompom-masses of blooms in sprays. Cut flower.

Anemone-a single with center disk modified, show or garden

Quills– Doubled, quilled florets. No open center.

Cushion–low growing mounding garden mums.

Spider– aka Fuji mums. Thin, threadlike florets, coiled or fishooked ends

Spoons–a daisy type but spooned at petal ends

Regular Incurve–more ball shaped

Irregular Incurve–giants. Looser than regular.

Intermediate Incurve–looser than regular, smaller florets than irregular.

Single/Semi-Doubles–daisy form with regular center disk

Brush and Thistle-Thread like florets, standing upright (like thistle flowers)


Here are some of the fantastic blooms she brought to the meeting. See if you can match the bloom to the class.