Some of the greatest surprises in horticulture are the spider petalled chrysanthemums. These were very popular perhaps 20 years ago and you could find them at many places. Nowadays they have become rare and are almost unknown to gardeners. Amazing! Chrysanthemums are easy to grow. More challenging perhaps are to grow them to their ultimate potential as exhibition blooms. For easy culture in the garden or in pots, you just plant them in a good potting mix or garden soil (well drained) and water regularly and fertilize regularly. This will give you good results for their fall bloom period. But if you just do a little bit extra, you will have much better looking plants! Pinching the stem tips while growing during spring and summer will give you bushier plants and MORE blooms in fall. Staking plants will keep them upright and tidy, important for when the rains come; (If you do not stake plants, they can fall over under the weight of rain, and perhaps stems will even break)
If you have snails, slugs, you will need to snail bait. These are easy care plants and provide gardeners with lots of color in the garden and for the vase in fall.
If you choose to get the maximum effects from your plants, try giving them high cultural practises. This means growing them under high fertility and watering regimes. Grooming the plants regularly as well (staking, pinching, tying, and then disbudding) Mums are easy to grow, exhibition blooms are not so easy and require a long growing season with lots of attention to plant needs until bloom time. But doing this will give you EXTREMELY impressive bloom size and displays! Some of the largest classes of mums are the irregular incurves and spiders and quills. These designations differentiate the floret shapes of the blooms. Spider and quill classes of blooms are the most elegant and unique in the floral kingdom. Lacey, elegant, dramatic, eye catching, awe inspiring are some of the descriptions given to these bloomers! AND to top it off, they are easy care plants. Rare nowadays, the spiders are dramatic blooms for display in the garden, containers, or cut for the vase. Not to mention they make wonderful gifts during hoiday time. Their blossom period can begin as early as August (there are some very early blooming cvs.) and very late into December. Many color choices, whites, yellows, pinks, bronzes, purples, pinks, some bicolors, and even chartreuse and green. Additionally, the width of the florets (the ‘petals’) varies with cv. some have broad more substantial florets, while others have extremely lacey or thin threadlike florets) Spider style blooms have hooked, curved or coiled petal ends, quills are not, just straight at ends, spoons have widened petal tips.,often showing a different color. Some cvs. will give bloom size up to 15″ across if under exhibition culture (high fertilizing and watering growing conditions)
For largest size, you can select flower buds (earlier buds come at stem tips surrounded by growth buds/ look for these closely as they are more difficult to see) and disbud the side vegetative growth to give energy to that first flower bud. These produce more petalled blooms and being earlier to bloom, are somewhat less deep in color that later blooms. To get deeper color and later blooms, let plant tips grow and then when you see a cluster of flower buds, let them grow until you can pinch off the side flower buds, giving the most energy to that bigger central bud and get maximum size from that disbudding. (these are called terminal buds, whereas the earlier buds surrounded by growth are called crown buds). You will get deeper colored flowers with this later method.