The Greeks were obsessed with the Chrysanthemum and named it appropriately as the “Gold flower”, picking the word “Chrysos” for gold and “Anthos” for flower.
Native to China and affectionately shortened to “mum”, it is known to have been discovered more than 2000 years ago and would be the only flower blooming in any garden even after all the others have faded away.
Initial research into the Chrysanthemum caused some confusion with two botanical names being allocated to it, the “Chrysanthemum sp” and the “Dendrathema sp”.
They were both placed in the genus Chrysanthemum somewhere in the 18th century but then in the early 1990’s due to the immense varieties being propagated they were placed back into the genus Dendrathema, this was reverted back and the botanical name became Chrysanthemum once again.
The vibrant colors and a spectrum of flower types in which Chrysanthemums are found makes it an ideal gift plant due to the least care it needs to bloom with flowers that would last for a very long time.
They can be placed either indoors or outdoors on porches, patios or just anywhere you would like, as they are adaptable to the environment and with the colors it comes in would suit any indoor décor and match any color scheme you would think of.
A vibrant world of Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums come in vibrant colors, sizes, heights and patterns of flowers along with time of bloom and also in types of bloom, if one was to look into the hundreds of varieties that are made available in this versatile flower.
Some are called “hardy garden mums or show mums” and they are all blooms to behold and enjoy with the following known to be some of the most common types available around us.
- a) Decorative – With many rows of petals and mostly curling towards the center.
- b) Cushion – Cushion like shaped blossom and medium in size
- c) Single – Petals daisy like and long
- d) Pompon – Tight petals virtually forming a globe like structure with the smaller ones being called “buttons”
- e) Spoon – Petals that are spoon shaped and flatter in blossom
- f) Quill – Petals that are straight and long but shaped like tubes
- g) Spider – Curve ended petals and tube shaped and long
- h) Anemone – Darker and shorter petals at the center and a cushion shaped bloom
Of the above it is the anemone, cushion, decorative and single types of bloom that are ideal for a home garden because they are easier to grow and maintain whilst the others need more care and not considered the hardy blooms.
How to grow the Garden Mums
Lighting – 5 to 6 hours of early bright Sun daily
Location – Chrysanthemums hate mildew hence keeping the plants dry is important and with enough of good air circulation, drainage of water and of course the usual morning Sun to dry the whole plant.
Avoid planting them in areas with minimal air circulation, wet low areas or boxed in places and hence they bloom well in shortening days and long nights keep them away from artificial lighting.
Soil – Should be fertile, sandy or soft soil that should drain well and with a pH value of around 6.5
Fertilization – The growing and blooming season is important and though they are tough plants would need the right fertilization to help it come out in full bloom and ample light.
Planting of Chrysanthemums
Early spring would be the best time to plant them after the cold weather has lapsed but they can be planted at anytime provided they have been on the ground at least 6 to 7 weeks to take root and then the extremes of nature would not affect them.
Sold in gallon sized pots it would be helpful to purchase bushy plants with enough of stems with leaves on them which branch out at the base.
A hole twice that of the root ball would be ideal and added with some compost or peat to enable drainage and planting them at the same depth as it was in the pot preventing water around the stem and all plants should be 18 to 24 inches apart.
It would be prudent to support taller plants with stakes of other support and the beds should always have loose top soil.
The art of pruning Chrysanthemums
Pinching the top when they are 6 inches tall and pinch again when a foot tall which helps bushiness and a spurt of blooms.
Pinching every few weeks until July would help good fall blooming of which the final pinch should be just 100 days before it is time for blooming.
Chrysanthemums that have been planted in spring would have been in greenhouses hence pinch them to about a third when you plant and it would bloom again in the fall.
After bloom time cutting them to about 4 feet and covering it with light airy straw or other shades would help and holding mulch in place is vital.
How to propagate Chrysanthemums
Seeds and stem cuttings or plant division with some varieties being patented cannot be propagated without permission which would be indicated on the plant.
Add some phosphorus and other organic matter to the hole before planting whilst throwing away any unhealthy plants would be best when they are just a few inches tall after the last spring and replant every 3 to 4 years to avoid disease.
To grow from stem cuttings clip off a length of stem about 4 to 6 inches removing leaves at the bottom then dip in root hormone, and dip into vermiculite, sand or sphagnum moss and make your mini greenhouse using wire and plastic.
For seeds they should be sowed 2 months before the first frost alternatively start indoors in winter where the medium to plant would be 70 to 75 degrees and the seeds will sprout out n 1 to 3 weeks.
Growing Chrysanthemums in pots and tips
Some varieties of chrysanthemums grow well in pots and would reach heights of up to 30 to 100 centimeters whilst some resist frost others would not.
Remove faded blooms to encourage more, prune dead stems and discolored leaves and keep pinching the plant often to encourage bushy leaves.
Taking care from diseases and pests
Like any plant Chrysanthemums too have to be well cared for to avoid pests and diseases like eel worm, aphids, caterpillars, leaf and stem miners, whilst grey mold, powdery mildew and root rot could affect it.