Nothing screams fall season like our garden chrysanthemums. Also called "mums", their flowers are small, colorful, and beautiful. Revered throughout history for different reasons, their massive commercial success and abundance of cultivars have continued to delight gardeners around the world. In our Chrysanthemum plant profile below, you'll learn about the many benefits this beautiful plant has to offer.
Read our chrysanthemum plant profile post below to learn:
- How to maintain and care for chrysanthemums in your garden.
- The best growing conditions for your mums.
- The history of mums.
- Are mums annuals or perennials?
- Fun facts and so much more.
By the way, our chrysanthemum plant profile guide below is meant for beginner gardeners but can be used by anyone who wants to learn more about this plant. We hope you enjoy it!
Why We're Featuring a Chrysanthemum Plant Profile
First, fall season and garden mums are a perfect fit. Although mums also bloom in the spring, the fall season is where they stand apart and shine. They add beautiful pops of color around the yard and are suitable for both borders and container baskets.
In addition to their beauty, these hardy plants are really easy to maintain. With just a bit of deadheading for spent flowers, mums can be enjoyed throughout most of the fall months and often into the following spring. Plus, they have a long growing season as long as they have proper care, adequate sunlight exposure (at least 5-6 hours daily), and are not immersed in standing water. Their low maintenance needs are
perfectly suited for both beginning gardeners and novices alike.
Finally, we're featuring chrysanthemums because of their variety in size, color, and shape. Aside from the mums you might buy in stores every fall that look like pom poms, there are so many other types of mums out there to explore including spider mums or anenome mums. In fact, there are 12-13 different flower forms that have been designated for this one plant!
Chrysanthemum Plant Profile: Brief History
Chrysanthemum Family Group
Mums are in the plant family Asteraceae (Compositae). Also known as the Daisy Family, this family group has more than 20,000 species of flowering plants throughout the world! Other family members include sunflowers, zinnias, lettuce, and Shasta daisies to name a few.
Chrysanthemum History of Use
Chrysanthemum has a long, storied history going back to 15th Century China. Research suggests that mums were first cultivated there based on drawings, descriptions, and pottery from that time period. They used mums medicinally to calm headaches or brew the leaves into festive drinks, like tea.
Currently, Chrysanthemum tea is still a very popular East Asian beverage. It is believed to offer medicinal properties including the ability to protect your heart, boost your immune system, improve vision, calm your nerves, and many other things.
Symbolically, chrysanthemums have been used to signify everything from life to death throughout the world. In most parts of the world, chrysanthemums symbolize life, joy, and longevity. However, in many European countries, the Chrysanthemum flower symbolizes death and is used as a funeral flower.
Today, mums remain the most widely grown potted plant in the U.S. and are one of the longest lasting of all the cut flowers.
If you want to read more about the history of chrysanthemums, check out National Chrysanthemum Society, USA.
Chrysanthemums Around the World
The Chinese city of Chu-Hsien translates to "Chrysanthemum City" and was named to honor the flower. This was in direct result of how popular and beloved the flower was in the 15th Century B.C.
Eventually, mums found their way to Japan by the 8th Century A.D. where they became the most beloved flower of that time. In fact, the Japanese people were so enamored by mums they made them the official seal of their emperor! To this day, Japan celebrates "Chrysanthemum Day."
By the 17th Century, Karl Linnaeus introduced mums to the Western world. Naming the flower after the Greek words chrysos, meaning gold, and anthemon, meaning flower. Mums grew in popularity and eventually made their way to the U.S. where the rest is history.
Today, mums continue to gain popularity, especially each fall as they adorn American porches and walkways. In addition, they are celebrated through many official Chrysanthemum societies that exist throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Now that you’ve caught up on a brief history, let's move on to the common characteristics of Chrysanthemums.
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"The Gardener's Guide to Chrysanthemum" Plant Profile
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|Common/Trade Name||Chrysanthemum or Mums|
|Botanical/Scientific Name||Chrysanthemum x grandiflorum|
|Cultivars||'Firewheel' ; 'Kelvin Mandarin'; 'Apricot' ; 'Penny Lane' ; 'Pink Miss Olympia' ; 'Super Yellow'; 'Fireflash'; 'Crimson Tide'; 'Dorridge King'; 'Virginia'; and more.|
|Zones||USDA - hardy to zones 5 to 9; Sunset - grows in zones 2 to 24 and H1|
|General Information||In the Asteraceae family , related to Shasta Daisy, Asters, Zinnia, and others in this family.|
This species is considered the "Florists' Chrysanthemum" with flower forms coming in: Anemone, Brush, Incurve, Irregular Incurve, Laciniated, Pompon, Quill, Reflex, Semidouble, Single or Daisy, Spider, and Spoon forms.
|Native Environment||Native to China, Japan, and Europe.|
|Plant Type||Perennial in most climates, but annual in some, too.|
|Water Needs||Regular water.|
|Mature Height/Width||Can vary, from under 1-foot to 6-feet tall with variable width.|
|Bloom Time||Summer to mid-Fall.|
|Flower Colors||Pink, purple, red, yellow, bronze, orange, lavender and white. Also in multi-colors.|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Growth Habit||Small to medium shrub; upright.|
|Soil Needs||Well-drained soil with lots of organic matter.|
|Fertilize||Feed plants with balanced fertilizer two to three times during the growing season and then 2-weeks before blooms are expected to break with a low nitrogen fertilizer. This will help with flowering.|
|Plant Spacing||Can vary, but if spaced closer together, the taller your flower stems will be, in general, and your plant overall. If spaced further apart, the shorter your flower stems will be, in general, and your plant overall.|
|Suggested Companion Plant/s||This species is great for use along in-ground borders or containers. They can definitely be used as focal points and to enhance entrances and walkways.|
Work well with many different plants, including in containers with Dusty-Miller, later-blooming Dahlias, and Violas. They also help liven up evergreen landscapes that otherwise wouldn't have color in the fall. Border plantings in front of Rhodys, Azaleas, Laurels, Boxwoods, Arborvitae, and Ornamental Grass plantings.
|Maintenance Level||During growth and flowering, moderate maintenance is needed. You will need to start pinching or removing tip-buds after each new growth of up to 5-inch long stems. This will start in the Spring and continue through the growing season until late Summer when flower blooms start to form. Stop pinching at this time. Pinching the top leaf pair will make your plants sturdier and you could have larger flowers. Once flowering starts, only maintenance is the removal of older or spent flowers to keep plants looking fresh. Depending on your climate, possibly move potted plants close to your house or other structures to protect from freezing temperatures. Remove any dead stems or die-back the following Spring and place the pots out into the yard after the threat of frost has passed.|
|Pest Susceptibility||Susceptible to borers (in desert areas) and aphids.|
|Poisonous to Pets?||Yes, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, incoordination, and dermatitis.|
|Edible for Humans?||In general, Mum flowers and leaves can potentially cause skin irritations, scales, and blisters if you come in physical contact ( depending if you are susceptible or not). Ingestion is a different story where different flowers can be sweet to bitter used in drinks or food preparation.|
|Fun (or historical) Facts||- The Chinese city of Chu-Hsien (which means Chrysanthemum City) was so named to honor the flower.|
- Mums are the birth flower for the month of November.
- Mums are revered in Japanese culture and were signified on the emperor's official seal.
- Chrysanthemum tea is very popular and considered good for curing some serious cardiac and vascular disorders.
- The petals of Chrysanthemums are often used in dishes for a pleasant aroma and a good taste.
Chrysanthemum Plant Profile: Product Recommendations
Want to buy your own chrysanthemum plants after learning all about their characteristics? Check out Burpee Seeds for amazing Chrysanthemum varieties! Burpee seeds are non-GMO. They also have all kinds of other types of bulbs and perennial plants to choose from. Right now, Burpee Seeds' is offering $5 Off Your Purchase of $25 with code BURPEE5.
Or, do you need to stock up on other types of plants? Here's a great fall deal which will help you fill up your garden with late summer and fall blooming plants. Check out this Everyday Deal! Buy 3 Perennial Plants and Save 20% from Burpee!
Chrysanthemum Plant Profile: Conclusion
Today, mums are one of the most popular flowers you can buy at the florist. Each fall, mums can be found adorning American porches and walkways, and high school homecoming dances. They remain the most widely grown potted plant in the U.S. and are one of the longest lasting of all the cut flowers.
In addition to being a colorful flower in your fall garden beds, mums require very little maintenance, besides any pinching you want to do for sturdier plants. They are perfect for containers or borders because they add color to your fall garden. Plus, they love the cooler temperatures.
Chrysanthemums are perfect for beginner to more experienced gardeners due to their variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. It's no wonder they are one of the favorites of the fall garden.
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Well, that's all for now.
Thanks for reading and we hope we inspired you or educated you in some way with our Chrysanthemum plant profile. For information about updating your yard for the fall season, check out all our fall-related content on our podcast page. Also, if you're interested in learning about more plants, check out some of our other monthly plant profiles below:
- The Gardener's Guide to Sunflowers
- The Essential Guide to the Shasta Daisy
- The Captivating Crocosmia
- The Fantastic Fuchsia
- A Rose By Any Other Name: February Plant Profile
- The Divine Daffodil: March Plant Profile
See you in the garden!
~ Sean and Allison
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