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Chrysanthemum flowers are among the most famous plants tended for by a lot of gardening enthusiasts. Also called garden mums, chrysanthemums can be defined as herbaceous perennials that belong to the daisy family. Get to know more about these hardy perennials called chrysanthemums or mums through this article.
About the Chrysanthemum Flowers/Mums
Chrysanthemums or garden mums belong to the Compositae or Asteraceae family, which is strongly related to sunflowers, cosmos, zinnias, marigolds, and dahlias. During bloom time in the late summer, expect these plant mums to bloom hundreds of florets or small flowers.
Garden mums are also available in various sizes, ranging from the typical tiny cushion mum to the huge spider mums. You will also fall in love with its colors as you will notice the plant mums or chrysanthemums coming in almost all shades of the rainbow, including lavender, purple, yellow, white, orange, red, pink, and bronze. It also has blue or green leaves with a nice shape that will definitely look great in your flower garden.
Origin of Chrysanthemums/Garden Mums
Chrysanthemum flowers originated from China. It was in China where the plants were cultivated first as flowering herbs during the 15th century BC. At that time, it is mainly a flower that looked like a daisy.
Eventually, though, it was bred in various sizes and shapes, allowing the plant to bring out a wide range of colors and styles that do not resemble the way it looked when it started.
Also, there is a designated National Chrysanthemum Society, which divided the different forms of blooms into several classes.
As mentioned just a while ago, chrysanthemums are available in various bloom classes. You can differentiate these classes based on the shape of the petal and the form of the flowers.
- Jessica – comes with long-lasting flowers in bright yellow, bloom time is mid-season
- Yellow Sarah – yellow flowers and quilled petals, late-blooming
- Cabernet – up to 3-inch lavender flowers, bloom time is late-season
- Tripoli – comes with flowers in vibrant pink resembling the shape of daisies, has yellow center, very late-season blooms
- Barbara – tiny plant with flowers in pompon shape and purple shade, late-season
- Tinkerbell – compact and strong with flowers in intense purple shades, early season
- Denise – large plant featuring flowers in pastel bronze, very late season blooms
- Cheyenne – large plant that has a button-like texture, mid-season bloom
- Chablis – white flowers with a creamy center, early-season bloom
- Patriot – white flowers holding a pompon shape, middle to late season
- Garnet – red flowers shaped like pompons, turn to bronze once mature, mid-season
- Ruby mound – large flowers in maroon-red shade, early season
Common Applications and Uses of Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemums or garden mums are more than just decorative or ornamental plants. It has a wide range of applications and uses – among which are the following:
Several varieties of chrysanthemums or mums feature edible petals, making them great and colorful additions to your salad recipes. Other mum varieties also have edible leaves so you can use them as healthy ingredients for your dishes.
With the many things that chrysanthemum flowers can do for your health, it definitely has a place in alternative medicine. The mum flowers, for instance, are famous for relieving hypertension, treating sore throat, curing skin infections, and improving vision, among many other benefits. Garden mums are even used by the Chinese every since for therapeutic purposes.
Indoor Air Purifier
You can also use chrysanthemum or mum flowers to purify the air indoors. It is effective in removing pollutants causing several health issues at home. It does so by filtering out benzene in the air, which is a harsh compound commonly found in paints and detergents.
You can also create a tea out of garden mums. Some mum varieties have yellow and white flowers that you can boil in water, so you can make a refreshing and healthy drink.
How to Plant Chrysanthemums?
You have a few options when it comes to planting chrysanthemums or mums – among which are from the seeds, cuttings, and potted plants. Here are some basic tips once you start planting the mums in your garden:
If you decide to grow your chrysanthemum flowers or mums from seeds, then you can choose to begin indoors and transplant them later in your garden or directly sow the seeds in your garden or flowerbeds.
For those living in freezing-point areas, planting the seeds in the ground once the last spring frost happens is advisable. Wait for around four months for the seeds to reach enough maturity for them to encourage the start of their bloom time.
You may also begin a few weeks prior to the last frost. This is possible if you plant the seeds in small containers and seed trays then put them indoors. You can transfer them to your garden when the right time comes, also often after around four months.
While it still requires the same time to mature, many still prefer planting the seeds that way as it gives them a huge head start. In other words, it is possible to start seeing their colorful blooms earlier.
To plant seeds in small containers or seed trays indoors, follow these steps:
- Use a sterile potting mix to fill your container.
- Add some chrysanthemum or mum seeds. Use a thin layer of the soil to cover the seeds gently.
- Use water to add moisture to the soil. Avoid creating a mess or splashing with the help of a turkey baster or dropper.
- Put the container or pot close to a sunny window. It would be best to put it in a room that is around 70 degrees.
To ensure proper growth of the root system, one of the most crucial tips is keeping the soil moist for around 10 to 14 days. Once you start seeing sprouts appearing through the soil, let it dry out slightly before you water again. Soon enough, at least one seedling will come up in every pot. Monitor their size consistently.
If you think that they are large enough that it is easy to cut them using a sharp knife or garden or kitchen shears, then you can start thinning them. This helps in stimulating the production of stronger and fewer seedlings that you can use for transplanting and growing these perennials.
Transplant the seedlings after the spring’s last frost. If you are in a place dominated by cold weather, then begin putting the pots or containers outdoors throughout the day first then put them back indoors at night. Do this before you transplant them so they will get the chance to acclimate first.
You can also plant chrysanthemums or mums through cuttings taken from established plants. In that case, ensure that the new growth shoots you have chosen are healthy and around three inches long at the very least. With a knife or shears, cut them then take out the leaves around one to two inches away from the stem’s bottom.
Get a seed pot or tray and fill it with peat moss, perlite, or potting soil. Put each cutting around a half-inch deep there. Ensure that the soil has enough moisture until every cutting has a well-developed root system. This should take around one to four weeks.
Once the roots take hold, let the surface dry before watering again. Stimulate full growing capacity by pinching off the topmost part’s shoots by around half an inch. Do this once you are sure that the cuttings have already properly rooted.
After that, transplant them gently into a large spot. This will let the roots expand for one more month before you transplant the new ones outdoors. Soon enough, particularly during the summer, you will witness the plants growing the best way possible.
You can also choose to buy already established garden mums that are already in containers. In that case, you just have to transplant each mum into your garden. Just dig holes around two times the actual size of the pot then plant them with eighteen inches to two feet gap in between.
If you plant them in clay soil throughout Southern California and San Diego, then it is advisable to integrate some compost. This will help in nourishing the area and improving drainage.
Fill each hole surrounding the plants. Water the mums sufficiently then wait for their colorful blooms to come out during the late summer and fall.
Growth Rate of Mums and Their Bloom Time During the Late Summer
The growth rate of the chrysanthemum or mum depends on various variables and factors. Various mum varieties feature various rates of growth and maturity size. If you grow the mums from seeds, then there is a great chance that it will still take a few years before reaching their complete growing potential.
If you grow those garden mums that were already well-established in a garden center, then expect the waiting time to be shorter as they already have a head-start as far as growth is concerned. Still, remember that proper care, including fertilizing, pinching, and watering, is the key to ensuring that the mum or chrysanthemum will reach its full growing potential and capability.
Some varieties of these pretty perennials called mums or chrysanthemums, including the painted daisy, can be expected to bloom during the middle of summer. Most mums will start growing flowers during late summer, though, and bloom completely through the mid-autumn.
It is also crucial to note that there are a few types of blooming garden mums – the early, the early fall, and the late fall bloomers. The early bloomers usually start growing flowers in the later parts of July. Meanwhile, mums categorized as early fall bloomers will start flowering in September.
As for the late fall bloomers, you can expect them to show their enticing color display in October. One thing to note, though, is that every variety is different. However, you can expect the majority of mums to continue growing blooms for around one to two months (roughly 4 to 8 weeks).
Caring for the Hardy Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum needs proper care for it to grow the best way it should in various gardens. Here are some areas you should focus on when caring for these hardy plants known as mums:
The hardy chrysanthemum requires full sun to survive but it can also do well with just a slight shade. In most cases, though, you can expect more profuse flowering when growing these garden mums in full sun.
If you live in a place with an extremely warm climate, though, it would be best to give the plants some shade, especially during the afternoon heat. This will protect them from intense light and heat.
One advantage of chrysanthemum is that it is versatile in the sense that it can handle various types of soil in gardens. However, they thrive better when planted in a rich one with good and proper drainage. Growing the plant in soil with a slightly acidic pH is also good for it.
Chrysanthemum needs plenty of water. Supply it with around an inch every week when it is still in its early growing season. Increase the watering twice or thrice weekly upon noticing the flower buds maturing and the flowers starting to open up as the mums prepare to bloom in the late summer.
If you grow the chrysanthemum in a pot, use a watering can to water the surface of the soil until you notice the moisture starting to drain from the pot’s bottom. Make sure that the water freely drains throughout the soil then out the pot’s bottom every time you water the plant. The goal is to make it moist without the sogginess that may lead to rotting and other diseases.
Humidity and Temperature
In terms of their required temperature, expect mums to survive well in moderate climates. Avoid exposing mums to extreme heat and hard winter freezing. The plant also needs some humidity, but make sure that if it is already too high, there is good air circulation, so it will not suffer from diseases or rotting.
It is advisable to supply the chrysanthemum with sufficient potassium and nitrogen once in its vegetative phase. It also helps to feed these mums before you see flower buds forming as such can help promote a healthy root system, vigorous growth, and healthy bud development.
Depending on your zone, you can begin the feeding cycle by March, April, or May. If you want, use a time-released fertilizer, allowing you to feed the plant for around three months. The use of this fertilizer is convenient as it means that you only have to feed your plants once.
Also, it helps to start feeding once the harm that the frost may cause has already passed. This assures you that all new growth stimulated by the added nourishment is not at risk of damage due to the icy weather. Avoid feeding established plants past July to prevent frost from injuring new growth.
Growing chrysanthemum is not that hard at all. The only thing you have to do is to ensure that you supply these garden mums with everything they need to survive – among which are sufficient sunshine, good drainage, and quality fertilizer at the start of summer. It is also advisable to pinch it vigorously so your chrysanthemum will achieve compact growth and produce an attractive display of flowers during its bloom time.