Spoon Chrysanthemums: History, Characteristics & Cultivation

The Spoon Chrysanthemum, also known as Chrysanthemum morifolium ‘Spoon’, is a type of chrysanthemum that has petals which flare out at the tips, resembling spoons. The flowers have a central disc that is relatively flat, surrounded by petals that curl slightly at the end towards the center of the plant. The edges of the petals are usually cupped, and the tips can be a different color than the rest of the petal.

The Spoon Chrysanthemum typically grows to a mature height of about 3 ½ feet when it is mature. It flowers during the fall of the year. The flowers are usually medium-sized and can be in colors of pink, red, white, and yellow. The blooms are long-lasting, often persisting until the first frost.

These chrsyanthums thrive in full sun to light shade and prefer humus-rich, well-drained soil. These flowers are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. This means it can tolerate temperatures down to -20°F (-29°C). They can be planted in the ground or in containers. They are perfect for adding color to garden beds and borders. They pair well with other fall-blooming plants.

Characteristics of Spoon Chrysanthemum

  • Growth Form: Bushy with multiple stems branching out from the base.
  • Growth Rate: Moderate growth rate; they establish themselves fairly quickly once planted
  • Lifespan: They live for more than two years. With proper care, they can live for many years, blooming each fall
  • Leaves: Finely divided, lobed, and fern-like, with a bright to deep green color.
  • Flowers: Single blooms with a button center surrounded by ray florets. The ray florets are flat with a slight outward curve at the tips, resembling a spoon shape.
  • Blooming Season: Fall, often lasting until the first frost
  • Stems: The stems are strong and upright, supporting the weight of the large, showy blooms.
  • Root System: Fibrous root system that is shallow and spreads moderately.
  • USDA Zones: They are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9. They can tolerate temperatures down to -20°F (-29°C).

Cultivation of Spoon Chrysanthemum

Planting

  • Sunlight: Select a location that receives full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day). While they can tolerate partial shade, full sun encourages the best bloom production.
  • Soil: Ensure the soil is well-drained and rich in organic matter. Improve soil fertility by incorporating compost or well-rotted manure. This enhances soil structure and nutrient content.
  • Planting: Plant Spoon Chrysanthemums in the spring after the danger of frost has passed or in the fall at least 6 weeks before the first expected frost.
  • Spacing: Space plants 18-24 inches apart to allow for air circulation and to accommodate their mature size.
  • Planting Depth: Dig a hole twice the width of the root ball and slightly deeper. Place the plant in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface, then fill in with soil and water thoroughly.

Care

  • Watering: Water regularly to keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Avoid overhead watering to reduce the risk of fungal diseases. Water at the base of the plant to keep foliage dry.
  • Fertilizing: Use a balanced, slow-release fertilizer (10-10-10) or a fertilizer specifically formulated for flowering plants. Fertilize every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer).
  • Pinching: In early summer, pinch back the stems when they are about 6 inches tall to encourage bushier growth and more flower buds. Repeat pinching every 2-3 weeks until mid-July.
  • Deadheading: Remove spent blooms regularly to encourage continuous flowering and to keep the plant tidy.
  • Mulching: Mulch around the base of the plants to retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.
  • Dividing: Every 2-3 years, divide the plants in early spring to prevent overcrowding and to rejuvenate growth. Dig up the entire plant, separate the roots, and replant the divisions.
  • Overwintering: In colder zones, leave the top growth in place and add a layer of mulch around the plant for protection. Remove the mulch in the spring after new growth emerges.
  • Pests and Diseases: Monitor the plant for signs of aphids, leaf miners, spider mites, or diseases like fusarium wilt, leaf spot, powdery mildew, or rust. Treat any issues promptly to prevent spread.

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