Chrysanthemum Bonsai Care [Asteraceae]

The Chrysanthemum Bonsai tree is one of the most eye-catching bonsai varieties right now. If you plan to add it to your bonsai collection soon, read on below to know more about this lovely bonsai tree, how to care for it, and more!

Average Height1.00 to 1.50 feet
Average Spread1.00 to 1.50 feet
Origin CountriesJapan, China, Korea
Flower Bloom TimeJuly to September
SunlightFull Sun

Is chrysanthemum a good option for bonsai?

Yes, chrysanthemum is a good option for bonsai. There are numerous varieties of chrysanthemums that are grown and cultivated right now. You can also transform these varieties into iconic bonsai styles that are often associated with hard woody shrubs and trunks.

But, with chrysanthemums being perennial, it is rare for them to grow enough to have wood. The good news is that you can resolve this issue with the use of deadwood techniques of bonsai preservation. Also, due to the genus’ perennialism, there is a chance that the bonsai will get finished once all of the blooms faded.

How to make chrysanthemum bonsai?

Chrysanthemum bonsai history

A chrysanthemum bonsai tree is a form of Japanese art that uses cultivation methods to produce chrysanthemum flowers in containers that resemble the scale and shape of full-sized trees.

The leaves of chrysanthemum have alternative arrangements and are divided further into leaflets featuring edges that are often toothed although these might also be smooth sometimes. The blooms are either in an arrangement of a few flower heads or often a mere solitary head. Initially found in colors yellow, white, or red, these horticultural specimens are currently bred to bear different colors.

Chrysanthemums bloom from early fall and reach full bloom by November. The genus chrysanthemum now has 41 recognized species.

Chrysanthemum bonsai tree scientific name

Chrysanthemum bonsai tree has the scientific name Chrysanthemum. Also known as mums or chrysanths, chrysanthemums are a type of flowering plant that belongs to the genus Chrysanthemum, a part of the family Asteraceae.

Most chrysanthemum species have their origins in East Asia, with most of their unique properties developed in China. The genus’ name came from the Ancient Greek terms chrysos, which means gold, and anthemon, which means flower. These are perennial and herbaceous plants in nature, with the wild species found as subshrubs.

Chrysanthemum bonsai symbolism

Chrysanthemums as believed to symbolize royalty, rejuvenation, and longevity in Japan. Although it is common knowledge that cherry blossoms are considered the country’s symbol, the chrysanthemum is the Imperial Family Emblem. You can also find the flower on a 50-yen coin.

The symbolic chrysanthemum is stylized on government seals with 16 petals at the front with the back featuring the tips of the 16 petals as a representation of the Chrysanthemum Throne. This is also found in the front portion of Japanese passports. The Emperor of Japan also gives it as the highest order, called the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.

A white chrysanthemum in Japan is regarded as the appropriate flower for funerals, while the red one symbolizes love. However, during the country’s autumn chrysanthemum festivals, all of its colors are honored.

Chrysanthemum bonsai indoor or outdoor?

The chrysanthemum bonsai is best grown outdoors under full sun. It can tolerate very light shade and loves some protection in the afternoon from the scorching sun.

Chrysanthemum bonsai care

Some cultivated chrysanthemum varieties are trainable into numerous traditional bonsai styles that are associated with woody trunked shrubs and trees. However, since it is rare for chrysanths to grow old enough to develop wood, it is also possible to use deadwood bonsai techniques.

Chrysanths are perennials, and though you can keep your chrysanthemum bonsai tree alive for several years, there is a big chance that the bonsai is going to be finished after the fading of all its blooms.

A chrysanthemum bonsai artist needs to complete all the design work in less than 10 months. The chrysanthemum exhibitions in Japan traditional showcase various bonsai forms. It is held in the autumn season from October through November.

Chrysanthemum bonsai temperature

You need to keep your chrysanthemum bonsai at a temperature of approximately 14°C. it is also important that the tree is kept safe from frost. You also need to place them into cold frames or in a cool shaded greenhouse when April comes to maintain proper growing temperatures.

Chrysanthemum bonsai tree fertilizer

The process of fertilizing your chrysanthemum bonsai tree is similar to that of normal mums. The tree has very small fertilizer requirements, particularly during the colder season. At the start of summer, you need to establish a liquid feeding schedule. You can use diluted fertilizers such as fish emulsions once a week. You need to discontinue feeding 7 to 10 days after pinching and repotting.

Chrysanthemum bonsai pruning/trimming

Pruning or trimming takes place at 45-day periods. Once the drainage holes start to show roots, there is now a need to report. Pruning is often done in warm temperatures in spring wherein 1/3 of the lower root ball gets pruned as you repot the specimen to a bigger pot.

The purpose of this step is to avoid overgrowth, thus slowing down the growth of the process. You can carry out pruning several times during warm months. You need to trim larger leaves during the summers’ growth period. Bigger leaves offer shade for the smaller branches that develop under them where the new branches often elongate. The elongation of the branches is unwelcome.

Chrysanthemum bonsai repotting

A blooming finished bonsai can be repotted in a show pot. Just be careful in choosing the show pot’s shape. You also need to transplant moss to the specimen’s surface, and this moss should have the finest texture possible.

Chrysanthemum bonsai pests and diseases

Mums have very low chances of attracting pests and diseases. But, when it comes to spider mites and mildew, you need to use suitable chemical control and pesticides for spider mites. Learn how to get rid of spider mites on bonsai tree.

Chrysanthemum bonsai soil

It is recommended to use compost or a mold of leaf in five parts that rotted properly. This must be a type of soil that is of light clay nature in three parts, one part fish food, and one part riverside sand. You need to avoid using clay soil during the wintering-over phase to guarantee proper drainage.

Chrysanthemum bonsai watering

Your chrysanthemum bonsai tree needs to have consistent watering for the soil to remain damp all the time. If the soil has dried out, it may pose a serious threat to the bonsai’s further growing process.

Chrysanthemum bonsai sunlight requirements

In the beginning, during colder months, it is advised to give your chrysanthemum bonsai four hours of additional light to encourage growth and avoid the earlier stage of bud development. Chrysanths, however, bloom during the fall season when days tend to be shorter. You need to be extra careful to avoid exposing the bonsai to artificial light after sunset.

How fast do chrysanthemums bonsai grow?

One of the most notable characteristics of the growing chrysanthemum varieties is that they are different from traditional bonsai.

While traditional bonsai trees take over 10 years, there are times when bonsai trees of the genus can fully grow in less than one year for them to complete their intended bloom and growth.

The preparation process often occurs around February or mid-January so that when November or December comes, your chrysanthemum bonsai tree will be ready.

How tall does a chrysanthemum bonsai get

The chrysanthemum bonsai tree can reach a height of 8 up to 15 inches.

Chrysanthemums bonsai types

There are two popular types of chrysanthemum bonsai trees, and these are the rainbow chrysanthemum bonsai and the Japanese chrysanthemum bonsai.

Rainbow chrysanthemum bonsai

From the name itself, it is easy to tell that the rainbow chrysanthemum bonsai is more beautiful and colorful than your typical chrysanthemum bonsai trees. Its variety of colors makes it a favorite among many bonsai fans out there.

Japanese bonsai chrysanthemum

The Japanese bonsai chrysanthemum is started in the fall from small shoots or stolon growth at the plant’s base. The small growth is trained for the bonsai for the following year instead of the original cutting.

The technique forms a great surface root system and lower trunk. During the growing season in summer, the chrysanths are transplanted every month, wired then unwired a few times. Once you succeed in developing Japanese chrysanthemum bonsai, you will get lovely small colorful flowers for a month. Most of the Japanese chrysanthemum bonsais are seen in the country as one-year trees.

How to make chrysanthemum bonsai from seed

  1. Start by sterilizing the container or pot where you plant to grow in the mum seeds. This step gets rid of any potential fungal or bacterial infections of the young mum seedling. After sterilizing the pot, apply a layer of easily draining and coarse substrates like crumbled brick, grit, or lava rock at the base of the pot. It will ensure that there will be no standing water that can rot your seeds.
  2. Add a layer of the standard bonsai soil. Avoid the use of normal garden soil or organic bonsai soil since these can both easily harden if dry and can hinder your bonsai’s growth. This can be very dangerous for the tree and might even lead to its death. It is best to use a substrate with good drainage, good aeration, and good water retention to allow the roots of your chrysanthemum bonsai tree to spread easily and get sufficient oxygen at the same time without sitting in water.
  3. Inspect if the seeds require stratification or scarification. Most seeds today are pre-stratified and ready to grow. Gently place the seeds above the soil and leave enough space between them at about 1 to 2 centimeters apart.
  4. Pat the seeds carefully into the soil’s surface before you add a top layer of the standard bonsai soil. There should be around an inch of topsoil covering the seeds. Using more than this might prevent the seedling from emerging. After placing the soil’s top layer on the seeds, use your fingers to gently compact the soil.
  5. Water the seeds thoroughly until water emerges at the pot’s base. The last thing you want is for the seeds to dry out. Water regularly and keep the seedbed slightly moist all the time.

How to make chrysanthemum bonsai from cutting

  1. Take a cutting from a healthy chrysanthemum bonsai tree. Choose a healthy and strong branch from the parent tree. Ensure that you choose a branch with lots of fresh green growth on it. After picking a branch, cut at 45 degrees using shears. As soon as you cut, stick the cutting in the container with water, like a flower vase or mason jar.
  2. Line the container’s bottom with sand or fine gravel. Plant the fresh cutting in the mixture of soil and organic compost. You need a particular soil mix to get the best results of growing your chrysanth bonsai tree from cutting made up of lava rock, fine gravel, akadama, pumice, and organic compost. The content of the container must have a 6.5 to 7.5 pH level.
  3. Directly water the mum bonsai cutting regularly after you plan it. Continue to water the fledgling tree after the first 2 to 3 weeks of watering the cutting when you notice any dryness on top of the soil. Position the new bonsai tree in a spot with lots of natural light. The bonsai tree must be exposed to a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day.
  4. The cuttings will form roots in approximately 2 weeks although it can take several years before your new bonsai tree is ready for shaping and pruning as you like. Check the bonsai cutting several times daily during the first several weeks. Water it if it seems to dry. If the soil is moist but the tree seems drier than usual, lessen the amount of sun it gets.
  5. Monitoring your new chrysanthemum bonsai tree for the next several months will train you on how to look after its needs. Patience is a virtue when growing your chrysanthemum bonsai tree from cuttings.

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