Botanical name: Chrysanthemum x morifolium
Family: Compositae (Daisy)
Origin: Asia, Europe
Class: Annual/house plant
Display period: Variable
Height: 9 to 12 inches
Environment: Bright, indirect light
For a table centerpiece or other such decoration, or on a porch or patio, fleurettes are made-to-order.
Developed by Yoder Brothers Inc. of Barberton, Ohio, this innovative class of chrysanthemums bears inch-size flowers in such profusion that they cover the plant with a sheet of color. The compact nature of the variety in combination with its diminutive height and bushiness make it look like a bouquet.
Yoder, one of the foremost breeders and producers of chrysanthemums, was, in fact, looking for a different form to offer the public when it began work on fleurettes seven years before introducing them last February. Fleurettes are available year-round. Their blossoming period lasts from three to five weeks.
For greatest longevity, says Yoder horticulturist John Wienke, buy plants when buds are half to three-quarters open, but not in tight bud. At that stage, they still need greenhouse conditions to complete development. Because the reflowering of fleurettes requires a particular set of circumstances, the plants are best enjoyed as a temporary display.
Fleurettes resulted from crosses between daisy-type species of wild Chinese chrysanthemums and selections from the group known as "florist mums" marketed in pots. From the Asian side, says Edward Higgins, a chrysanthemum product manager at Yoder, the plants inherited their fullness and floriferousness, with each of the numerous stems bearing 10 to 15 flowers. The characteristics of sturdiness and uniformity of flowers all blooming at the same time were contributed by the other side of the family.
Care is a simple matter of providing moderately bright light and adequate water, but no fertilizer, which shortens life. Colors include shades of white, yellow and lavender as well as cherry. Each hue is identified by a varietal name.