The chrysanthemum collection is a grouping of Chrysanthemum × morifolium cultivars of primarily Japanese origin and is integral to the mission, legacy, display goals, and plant collection at Longwood Gardens. It is the centerpiece of the yearly Chrysanthemum Festival, a major programming event in the Longwood Conservatory. Cultivars in the collection were bred specifically for use in at least one of four Asian (mostly Japanese) cultural techniques: bonsai, cascade, thousand blooms, and chrysanthemum doll techniques.
Chrysanthemums were displayed at Longwood Gardens as early as 1921, when the conservatories first opened, and became a special exhibit of trained forms in 1924. During Pierre and Alice du Pont‘s time at Longwood, chrysanthemums were primarily displayed in the conservatories in fall and winter. In 1956, John Creech collected many cultivars during a plant collection trip to Japan co-sponsored by Longwood Gardens and the USDA. Longwood received over 124 different cultivars from this effort and in 1957 and 1958 created a display using 118 of the selections.