Longwood Grows 11-Foot Chrysanthemum

Longwood Gardens recently unveiled what it claims to be the largest chrysanthemum ever grown in North America–a single plant with 991 blooms that measures more than 11 feet in diameter.

Called the Thousand Bloom, this plant derives its name from the ambitious goal of cultivating a single chrysanthemum plant to produce as many perfectly placed blooms as possible. This ancient technique, known in Japan as Ozukuri, originated more than 200 years ago in Asia and is the most exacting and challenging of all chrysanthemum training styles.

“A Thousand Bloom chrysanthemum is one of the biggest wonders in the world of flowers,” says Longwood Gardens director Paul Redman. “Each year the challenge to grow one of the world’s largest mums is one of the most intensive horticultural efforts we engage in here at Longwood.”

The 18-month growing technique involves meticulous watering, pinching and tying of the chrysanthemum to a customized wire frame to train the plant to grow into the desired form. The blooms are painstakingly arranged in a dome shape, with the goal of achieving as many uniform blooms as possible.

Only a few growers in the entire world today are skilled in the techniques of training a Thousand Bloom. Longwood Gardens’ team of growers is led by Yoko Arakawa, who has trained with master chrysanthemum growers in Japan and frequently travels there to advance her understanding of the art form.

This year’s Thousand Bloom is on display at Longwood Gardens’ annual Chrysanthemum Festival, which runs through November 21. The festival features 20,000 blooming chrysanthemums grown in extraordinary ways throughout Longwood’s 4-acre conservatory. More than 34 million pinches, three miles of wire and more than 10,000 twist ties were used to create the festival’s one-of-a-kind display.

For more information, visit LongwoodGardens.org. Learn more about the Thousand Bloom chrysanthemum in the video below.

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