Q. What is kiku?
“Kiku” is the Japanese word for chrysanthemum. Chrysanthemums were introduced into Japan from China about the 8th century and were adopted by the Japanese as an important part of their culture. Kiku is the national flower of Japan. Japanese gardeners have developed ways of training mums over the growing season into elaborate displays. Among the types of kiku displays are:
Ozukuri (Thousand blooms) – in this highly complex and painstaking procedure a single chrysanthemum plant is trained to produce hundreds of blossoms simultaneously in a massive, dome-shaped array. This task requires about a year to accomplish.
Ogiku (Single stem) – in this variation a plant is grown and pruned to produce a single stem about six feet tall with one single, perfect flower on top. Several varieties of mums are used, including incurved and spider types. In a display the stems are precisely arranged in diagonal lines that decrease in height from the back to the front of the bed. Ogiku take about six months to grow, starting from cuttings.
Kengai (Cascade) – this display uses small flowered chrysanthemums. They are trained on frames so that they cascade downwards like waterfalls for lengths of up to six feet. Hundreds of tightly clustered blooms are used.
More modern kiku displays use less formal arrangements of flowers.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service