Can’t decide which mesmerizing ornamental plants to choose as your next lifetime companions? We are here to help you figure it out! In this article, we’ll talk about Chrysanthemums a.k.a. Mums or Chrysanths why they are a must-have addition to every flower-loving collector’s garden.
Chrysanthemums are absolutely gorgeous species of flowering plants in the Asteraceae family. These flowers are native to various regions of East Asia and northeastern Europe. Yet, their centre of diversity is in China, where they enjoy popularity as ornamentals and also cultural importance.
Chrysanthemums come with lots of colourful and attractive specimens to choose from. The most eye-catching varieties include ‘Bolero’, ‘Cheryl Pink’, ‘Fireglow Bronze’, ‘Harmony’, ‘Jolly Cheryl’, ‘Matchsticks’, ‘Overture’, ‘Rhumba’, ‘Samba’, ‘Will’s Wonderful’, and C. carinatum. This is the perfect opportunity to find out which colours your plant family lacks and to choose a beautiful Chrysanthemum cultivar that will match your indoor or outdoor area.
- Prized for their low-demanding nature and vibrant flowers, over 140 Chrysanthemum cultivars have gained the prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
- Chrysanthemums are the city flowers of Kaifeng and Beijing. In China, locals organize a yearly Kaifeng Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival from 18 October to 18 November. Likewise, they are the official flowers of Chicago and Salinas, California.
- The ‘Mum’ is one of the “Four Gentlemen” of China, alongside the orchid, the plum blossom, and the bamboo. Mums are the main topic in hundreds of Chinese poems and were also the favourite flowers of an influential Chinese poet known as Tao Qian.
- In Chinese culture, Mums are the flowers of the ninth moon and a common symbol of autumn, nobility, and longevity. Because it was commonly believed that Chrysanthemum wine would prolong their lives, many people used to drink it on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month.
- In Japan, these plants represent the Emperor and the Imperial family. Chrysanthemums appear on numerous traditional kimonos and also on sake ewers or scabbards of wakizashi swords using the maki-e decoration technique.
- On Mother’s Day, Australians traditionally wear white Chrysanthemums or similar flowers to honour their mothers. Plus, these plants are a very popular Mother’s Day gift.
- Some studies have shown that Mums are excellent comrades to reduce air pollution. C. cinerariaefolium species are a natural source of insecticide, bringing them economic importance around the world.
- In some parts of East Asia, folks use the white or yellow blossoms of the C. morifolium species to make a beverage called chrysanthemum tea. In Korea, people flavour rice wine with Mum flowers to obtain a drink known as gukhwaju.
- Chrysanthemums play a big part in several oriental culinary recipes. While the leaves of these plants can be great greens, the flowers make for aromatic additions to dishes like thick shake meat soup, mixian broth, or sashimi garnish.
- A few Chrysanthemum species serve as effective treatments for numerous health problems, such as high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, respiratory issues, inflammation, stress, colds, headaches, vertigo, conjunctivitis, and others.
- Chrysanthemums contain a natural insecticide, so they can be pretty toxic to cats, dogs, and children if ingested. For safety purposes, keep these plants in a location where your curious kids or pets cannot reach them.
Chrysanthemums Features: An Overview
- These plants belong to the Chrysanthemum genus that contains about 40 species of flowering plants. They grow mostly in subtropical and temperate areas.
- Chrysanthemums are perennial herbs or subshrubs. Depending on the species, they can reach from 15 to 40 inches (40-100 cm) in height and usually have a similar spread rate.
- Their foliage consists of simple, aromatic, and green leaves that appear alternately arranged on long, upright stems. The leaves contain numerous tiny toothed leaflets but can show up with smooth margins occasionally.
- Chrysanthemums begin their blooming period in early autumn. During this season, they produce many inflorescences that contain arrays of several flower heads or, sometimes, a solitary blossom.
- While their flowers typically have both disk and ray flowers, some cultivars can lack either of them. They vary in shape and size and exhibit different shades of white, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, green, or even hypnotic combinations.
- Due to their generous colour palette, Chrysanthemums can make for good-looking companions to other species of plants. Some of these are Alyssum, Blue Fescue, Coneflower, Asters, Oriental Fountain Grass, and Reblooming Daylily.
When it comes to lighting, Chrysanthemums generally thrive in full sunlight. Under this kind of light exposure, your plants will reward you with the most profuse blooming. Still, they can also tolerate some shade once in a while. In fact, if you live in a region with a warm climate, your flowers will often appreciate some shade during the dry and hot summer afternoons.
In terms of temperatures, Mums do well in moderate climate conditions. While extreme heat can result in overall struggling plants, your fellows will also suffer in areas with hard winter freezing. As a general rule, these flowers perform best in USDA zones 3 to 9 without any extra effort on your part. In cooler regions, you can help your plants go easier through winter by covering their roots with a deep layer of mulch.
Although Chrysanthemums are pretty tough ornamentals, they can suffer when pests like aphids, spider mites, and thrips visit them too often. These intruders usually show their presence through leaf damage, unhealthy stems, or a cotton-like web. In case of infestation, you must handpick the pests, then apply neem oil or, for severe situations, suitable insecticides/pesticides.
Other common problems that can occur while growing and caring for Mums are diseases. Some of these are leaf spots, powdery mildew, rust, root rot, or botrytis. If you notice that your plants behave somehow oddly, they may go through a disease fight. While powdery mildew and leaf spots are rarely life-threatening, you have to remove and get rid of the plants that are affected by these diseases before the problem spreads to other plants.
If you want to witness a dramatic and exquisite show during the autumn months, the ideal time to plant your Chrysanthemums is in spring. These plants usually bloom at the end of the summer or during the fall. Planting them in spring will help your buddies to develop a strong enough root system to support their flowers. Likewise, a good root system will enable your plants to resist the harsh conditions of autumn and winter much better.
In general, Mums can tolerate a wide range of soil types without any future problems. However, they grow at their best in rich, somewhat acidic substrates that also come with excellent drainage. Poor soil drainage may cause your beloved plants to rot with time. If you would like to keep your flowers indoors, plant them in pots that have drainage holes at the bottom.
During their dormant period, your Chrysanthemums will need some potassium and nitrogen to remain in their best shape. So it’s best to feed them before their flowers buds form, typically in March, April, or May. The best product to fertilize these plants with is a time-released 12-6-6 fertilizer because it will provide them with enough nutrients for about three months.
For container-grown plants, regular repotting is mandatory. Chrysanthemums grow at a pretty fast pace, so they will outgrow their pots and also overcrowd their roots. Transplant your plants in new containers that are a bit bigger than the current ones. You can also trim the roots if you want to control their future spread, but be gentle and try not to damage them.
Chrysanthemums need lots of water to grow healthy and happy. During their first growing season, your flowers will do just fine with just one inch (2.5 cm) of water weekly. Once their flower buds reach maturity and they begin to open, you can increase the frequency of watering to 2-3 times per week.
You can avoid over-watering your Mums by checking their soil regularly. When the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil feels dry to the touch, you can give your flowers a nice drink.
Chrysanthemums are so charming and easy-going that you surely want to have as many as possible. Especially since, in all their splendour, they can make for superb gifts for your beloved family members or friends. If you wish to make more of these flowers, you can easily propagate them through division or cuttings with no extra expenses.
It is possible to divide your Mums only after they have grown in your garden for at least two years and have at least 6 inches (15 cm) in height. Once established, you can divide these plants once every three years in spring. This process will also rejuvenate your companions and keep them alive for a long time. All you must do is dig your plants out of the soil, divide their roots into tiny sections, then replant them in their permanent locations.
Propagation using cuttings is an effective method to get a replica of your Chrysanthemums. Look for healthy stems and cut about 4 inches (10 cm) off them with a sharp, sterilized knife. For optimal results, you can also dip the cut ends in a rooting hormone. After this step, plant them in pots and wait about four weeks or so to develop a healthy root system.
Chrysanthemums have always found ways to win every gardener’s heart, so you will surely be their next victim! With their showy, colourful flowers, they can fill any dull spot from your garden or home and produce beautiful blooms with little to no effort on your part.
Do you already have one of these beauties in your collection? Share your journey with us in the comments!