David Rosado
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Chrysanthemum - Japanese Bonsai?

I am new to this blog, but not so new to the bonsai world.

I am interested in working on chrysanthemums for bonsai. I've seen them on ancient japanese prints, as twin trunk and cascade style. Can anyone tell me what specific type of mums are used and how can I get started on finding material (pre-bonsai) to work on?

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Gnome
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Dave,

I spent a few years trying to work with Mums. I doubt that you will find any sold as pre-bonsai. The way this species is handled is to take cuttings in late summer or fall. The cuttings are overwintered and even though the tops die back, the roots are used to establish a new plant the following spring. It is this plant that creates the actual bonsai. This is repeated the next year with new cuttings

On the other hand it is possible to continue with the old trunk for more than one year although this is a bit unpredictable.

If you are truly interested in this endeavor I strongly suggest that you acquire the volume "The art of the chrysanthemum" by Tameji Nakajima. I believe it is now out of print but can be obtained through on-line booksellers. This is where I purchased mine.
[url]https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&an=nakajima&y=0&kn=chrysanthemum&x=0[/url]

Here is a source for suitable varieties although I have attempted this with locally available types. Click on the 'varieties' link and scroll down a bit.

[url]https://www.kingsmums.com/[/url]

Norm

David Rosado
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Gnomes

Norm:

Thanks for your quick response. I sent an e-mail to the mum vendor to see about older mum stock.

If I got the jest of what you wrote, I am to cut large branches from the "donor" mum, during early fall, and plant them where they won't suffer the extreme cold of winter and repeat this process again next year, is that correct?


confused,
David

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Dave,
If I got the jest of what you wrote, I am to cut large branches from the "donor" mum, during early fall, and plant them where they won't suffer the extreme cold of winter and repeat this process again next year, is that correct?
Not quite, the cuttings are smaller than you describe, softwood. Throughout the fall the rooted cuttings are potted up through successively larger pots encouraging good root growth. They are sheltered from the extremes of weather during the winter. A new shoot is chosen the following spring and is trained as a bonsai.

The book does a pretty fair job of describing the process, it can be a little hard to follow at times which I attribute to the language barrier. Be advised the volume is not devoted entirely to bonsai, about 50%.

Norm

David Rosado
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Final Bonsai Mum Question

Hey Norm:

Thanks for keeping on top of this for me. My question is simple.

About how many years of development will it take me to get a decent size bole (approx. 3/4 inch-1 inch) in a mum for say a clump or twin trunk bonsai?

thanks again,
David

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David,

Sorry, I really couldn't say. As I noted, generally they are renewed each year. Started in late summer, overwintered, and finally developed the next summer for a fall showing. It takes around one whole year, spanning two calendar years, to complete this cycle.

In the book I cited the author states that they can be retained for multiple seasons but I have never been able to manage that. Perhaps the climate in PA is too harsh, you may have better luck if you are in a milder area or have better facilities.

Norm

David Rosado
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Mum Bonsai Trial

Thanks Norm:
I'm goin' for it!

Thanks again for the info - will let you know what happens...


David

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David,
Thanks again for the info - will let you know what happens...
You're welcome and please do keep us informed.

Norm

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jecapobianco
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Norm and David,

My name is John Capobianco. I am chrysanthemum bonsai artist on Long Island. I taught a class at the NY Botanical Garden and have won the National Chrysanthemum Society's Gold medal for chrysanthemum bonsai 4 times, as well as the silver medal for educational displays on the topic 4 times.

Most chrysanthemum bonsai will not make it past the first season.
I have kept them alive for up to 4 years.

If you want to overwinter one, I suggest the following: 1) do not let the flowers fade on the tree, cut them off when the are almost still at peak, 2) move the plant into a cold frame (35 - 50 degrees F) all winter, 3) be very light on the watering, keep the soil very very dry, 4) put a night light on for about 2 hours each night (around 2 am), this will keep them vegetative and avoid flower bud formation

As for the Art of the Chrysanthemum, it was really written by H. Carl Young. He is still alive and living in North Carolina, having recently suffered a stroke is unable to speak on the phone. I have been friends with him since 2003. He doesn't like my cascades, I don't do them the same way he did.

King's Mums (www.kingsmums.com) is your best source for commercially available bonsai varieties. I have several of the older cultivars that they no longer sell, additionally, I started a breeding program to increase the diversity of cultivars available. I showed them locally and at the national show this year and won a number of 1st place ribbons.

I am finishing up production on a chrysanthemum bonsai How-to video this month.

Check out the yahoo user group: Crhysanthemum Bonsai for pictures of some of my work.

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John,

Welcome to the forum and thanks for the information.

I picked up another mother plant this fall but neglected to get my cuttings started. It has no real character to it now, just a landscape plant. Is there any way to proceed with this material or will I be waiting another year? It's in my unheated garage under fluorescents now.

Norm

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jecapobianco
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Chrysanthemum Bonsai

Norm,

You are referring to what I call the Nakajima method, which does not work for me. I have also tried a method that I call the Corbisiero/Abrams method (named after 2 members of the Long Island Chrysanthemum Society, Inc.) wherein they purchase rooted cuttings from King's mums in the spring and work with that rooted stock.

I prefer my own method. I overwinter the root stock that has been growing all season. In January I place the plant in a warm environment (I have access to a tropical greenhouse) where the temp is 60 degrees F. Once in that location, I start to get a lot of new fleshy growth.

I take my cuttings in February from that new fleshy growth and keep it warm and moist. I have very few problems with the plant getting too woody, and if you keep a night light going, you will avoid flower bud production.

That's the method that I have been most successful with.

John

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jecapobianco
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pics

Is there a place for me to share pics of my chrysanthemum bonsai?

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Gnome
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John,
I prefer my own method. I overwinter the root stock that has been growing all season. In January I place the plant in a warm environment (I have access to a tropical greenhouse) where the temp is 60 degrees F. Once in that location, I start to get a lot of new fleshy growth.
This sounds interesting. I also keep fluorescents going 16 hours in a cool basement which might be appropriate to get some cuttings started.
I take my cuttings in February from that new fleshy growth and keep it warm and moist. I have very few problems with the plant getting too woody, and if you keep a night light going, you will avoid flower bud production.
Could you please elaborate on this? What would be the issue with the stems getting woody too early?

You mention using a night light. I assume you are relying on natural light and use this technique to interrupt the long nights. I assume my setup, in the basement, would eliminate the need for this.
Is there a place for me to share pics of my chrysanthemum bonsai?
Unfortunately we do not have that feature, you must link to pictures that are hosted elsewhere. We would really enjoy seeing some examples of your work. I did briefly check out the Yahoo group but did not see any pictures. I suppose I would need to subscribe.

Norm

grumpa
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Chrysanthemum Article Of Interest

Hi Gnome, I found this article on mums for my club that might be of interest to you. Go to www.wmbonsai.org , go to their newsletter section, and click on may 2006. Good detailed instruction I think. Steve

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Steve,

Thanks for the link, I'll make sure to check it out soon.

Norm

Josh from GISG
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Hi,
I know this post is a little old but I recently visited a Japanese garden in Osaka and they had this interesting display of chrysanthemums and chrysanthemum bonsai. The one guy I was talking to was quite into bonsai but he said that he didn't particularly care for this style of flowering bonsai because it was sort of like flower arranging compared to the art of ikebana.
Anyway, he was a traditionalist but it was interesting to hear his opinions. I like most of what I saw and posted some pics took from it here:

https://grand-island-serene-gardens.com/chrysanthemum-bonsai.html

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