If you are looking for show-stopping blooms to add in your home garden, chrysanthemum should be on the top of the list. Its prolific flowers will brighten up any space. Thankfully, you do not have to struggle to grow this plant. Even as a beginner in gardening, there is no need to worry since growing chrysanthemum is a relatively easy task.
Background and History
Being around for more than 2,000 years now, chrysanthemum is a native to China. In as early as the 15th century, chrysanthemum was mentioned in historical writings, especially as being useful for an herbal remedy. There was even a city in China called Chu-Hsien, which literally translates to Chrysanthemum City. Buddhist monks brought the flower to Japan, and since then, it became more popular. It was in the 17th century when the flower made its way to Europe.
It is a part of the Asteraceae family. With more than 23,000 species, the latter is the largest from the families of flowering plants. The name of the flower is from the Greek word chrysos, which means gold, and anthos, which means flower. It is also often called mums, which is just a short word for chrysanthemum. The flower’s name was from Carolus Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy.
Being around for centuries, chrysanthemum is also symbolic. In Japan, they have Festival of Happiness, which is basically a celebration of chrysanthemum. The latter is seen as a symbol of the sun. It is also the official flower of Chicago. If you are born in November, this is your birth flower. Chrysanthemums can also symbolize joy, long life, and fidelity, depending on the color of the flowers. If you want to wish someone to be well, violet is the right color. To show someone that you are honest, give that person white chrysanthemums. Meanwhile, red shows love and yellow signifies sorrow.
Physical Characteristics of Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemums are popular for their showy flowers and aromatic leaves. Like other flowers from the family where it belongs, such as sunflowers, daisies, and asters, it has a flower head or inflorescence. There are dense clusters of small flowers or flowers surrounding an inner portion or disc.
There are differences in the physical characteristics of chrysanthemum depending on the specific variety that you will plant. Most of them, however, will have a height of one to three feet. The same is true with their average width. The color of the flowers may vary, but some of the most common are blue, white, red, pink, and orange. They also have fragrant and bright green leaves, which will perfectly complement its colorful flowers. They can also be compact and bushy or tall-growing, depending on which type of chrysanthemum you choose to propagate.
Varieties of Chrysanthemum
Before talking about the specific varieties of chrysanthemum, let us first have a quick look at their different types depending on the appearance or growth of their bloom:
In its simplest form, this flower comes with a single row of florets that surround the central disk. They have long petals that are similar to a daisy.
If you want cute and small flowers, this is the type that you should pick. They have small and globe flowers.
This type comes with cushion-shaped flowers with a medium size.
The shape is similar to cushion chrysanthemum, but the difference is that here are shorter petals covering the middle part. The color is also darker.
It has long and tubular flowers, which tend to curl at the end. They make a great choice for floral arrangements.
Their petals are long and look like a spoon, hence the name.
They have straight, long, and tubular petals with an opening at the tip.
Now, let us talk about the different varieties that you might want to consider:
- Cambodian Queen Chrysanthemum
- Delano Chrysanthemum
- Hillside Pink Sheffield Chrysanthemum
- Peach Centerpiece Chrysanthemum
- Indian Summer Chrysanthemum
- Ruby Mound Chrysanthemum
- Jasper Chrysanthemum
- Marilyn Chrysanthemum
- Zesty Jean Chrysanthemum
- Sunny Robin Chrysanthemum
- Happy Face Chrysanthemum
This variety produces large and pink daisy-like blooms. It is a medium variety with an average height of 24 inches, making it ideal even in pots.
If you are looking for a decorative mum, this is one option you need not miss. It has attractive red flowers. Even for container gardening, this plant will grow easily.
This herbaceous perennial has an average height and spread of two to three feet. They grow delicate apricot pink flowers with a bright gold disk at the center.
With an average height and width of 24 inches, the daisy-like blooms have a yellow center and peach petals. It is a low maintenance plant and can grow even in a container that is big enough for the size of the plant.
A variety of a decorative chrysanthemum, it produces large blooms, but the plant itself is compact. This makes it a great choice for container gardening.
One thing that makes this beautiful is the ruby color of the petals. It produces bushy flowers. This perennial mum grows at an average height of 16 to 24 inches.
An anemone chrysanthemum, it has red flowers that are perfectly complemented with the yellow disks. The average diameter of the blooms is 2.5 inches.
A decorative cultivar, it produces double flowers, which start to bloom in September. It has white blossoms, although there can be traces of red if you are in a place with cold climate.
For those who are looking for an unusual variety of chrysanthemum, this is a great choice. It has a pastel and delicate color that makes it great for floral arrangements.
Unlike most of the chrysanthemums with large and showy flowers, this variety has a compact yellow bloom.
With an average height of 18 inches and spread of 24 inches, it grows spoon-like double yellow pompom flowers. With their bright color, they will make an excellent option for an ornamental garden plant.
A lot of people may grow mums in the garden because of their colorful flowers. More than just their physical appearance, chrysanthemums can also deliver a variety of health benefits, including those that we will briefly mention below. You can obtain most of these benefits by drinking tea made of chrysanthemum.
- Improves Heart Health: This is in relation to the ability of chrysanthemum to improve blood circulation. It prevents clogs in the coronary arteries. To add, it lowers the levels of bad cholesterol and blood pressure, which are both essential for a healthier heart.
- Improves Skin: The Vitamin A in chrysanthemum is the one that is responsible for this benefit. It is rich in antioxidants that inhibit cellular damage that can be due to the presence of free radicals.
- Strengthens the Bone: To prevent osteoporosis, which is a common problem amongst aging individuals, the regular consumption of chrysanthemum tea will be a big help. It has minerals that will prevent density loss in the bones.
- Improves Vision: For better eye health, chrysanthemum can also be beneficial. It contains Vitamin A, which converts into beta carotene. It has antioxidants that can prevent macular degeneration, cataracts, and other common vision problems.
- Boosts the Immune System: As a potent source of Vitamin C, chrysanthemum helps in the stimulation of the production of white blood cells. The latter is necessary for fighting free radical damage.
Uses and Applications
Aside from being an ornamental plant, you can also use chrysanthemum in several ways, such as through the following:
- Alternative Medicine: For thousands of years, chrysanthemum is a promising plant with endless applications in alternative medicine. Especially in China, the flowers are popular for relief from hypertension, improvement of vision, treatment of a sore throat, and healing of skin infections, among others.
- Culinary Applications: Many of the varieties of chrysanthemums have edible petals. They will make a colorful addition to salads. There are also leaves that are edible, making them a healthy ingredient for different recipes.
- Tea: Especially in China, the white and yellow flowers of chrysanthemum varieties are boiled in water to make a tea. This is not only a refreshing drink, but also offers a wealth of health benefits.
- Indoor Air Purifier: Chrysanthemum is one of those flowers that you need indoors as they purify the air. It helps to get rid of pollutants that can bring several health problems at home. They can filter out benzene in the air, a common compound in detergent and paint.
How to Plant Chrysanthemums
There are different ways to grow chrysanthemums, such as from cuttings. Nonetheless, for most people, they choose to grow it from seeds. Purchase seeds that are disease-free from a reputable supplier. Pick a variety that will work best for you, such as in terms of whether you will plant it in a container or a large open space.
Prepare your potting soil. You can create your own potting mix that contains peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. While there are different types of soil that will work, one thing that is important is to make sure that it is going to be well-draining.
Fill your container with soil or potting mix. A rectangular tray is a good choice since it has more space that a traditional round pot. Fill 2/3 of the tray with soil and make it moist but not soggy. Sprinkle the seeds on the top of the soil, making sure to maintain generous space. Do not cover the seeds with soil. They will need light to speed up their germination.
Cover the tray with transparent plastic, which will allow it to mimic a greenhouse. Place it in an area where it will receive bright but indirect heat from the sun. Wait until the seeds sprout, which will approximately take one to four weeks. Once it is ready, you can now transplant it in the garden.
If in case you are transplanting a seedling from a nursery, the first thing that you have to do is to choose a sunny location with a shade in the garden. Dig a hole, which should be big enough to accommodate the size of the seedling. Fill the hole with water and wait until it drains. Burry the transplant in the soil, leaving about half an inch. Cover it with soil and press firmly.
Common Pests and Diseases
Without full sun, well-draining soil, and regular watering, mums can be prone to a number of problems that will affect its overall health, especially the vigor of its flowers. It can suffer from a variety of diseases, such as powdery mildew, rust, leaf spot, gray mold, and bacterial blight. There are also viral diseases that can be apparent, which can result to stunting. Meanwhile, in the case of pests, some of the common causes of infestation include aphids, earwigs, leaf miners, snails, and slugs, among others.
How to Take Care of Chrysanthemums
Maintaining chrysanthemums in their peak condition is an easy task. Here are some of the things that you need to do:
- Watering is one of the most important for keeping the mums healthy. Those that are in containers will need more water than those in the ground. However, make sure to water only enough and do not overdo it. If you overwater, root rot can be a big problem.
- Regular pruning is necessary to keep the plant compact and bushy. In most cases, you have to start pruning when the plant grows beyond six inches. Rather than using shears, you can pinch using your fingers. Pinch the stem above the second set of the leaves. This will help to encourage downward growth.
- It will also help if you will fertilize, although this is something that you need to do with caution. Overfertilizing and using the wrong type of fertilizer can lead to having more leaves and no flowers. A time-release fertilizer is best to use in spring.
- There will also come a time wherein you will have to repot the mums. This is especially the case if they are already overcrowding in a single container. They need space to breathe and room to grow. If they are too close to each other, this will also make it easier for diseases to spread.
For most people, they harvest the flower of chrysanthemum to use it for floral decorations, tea, or edibles, among others. In most instances, it will take anywhere from five to six months before the flowers are ready for harvest, although this is dependent on the variety. Cut the flowers about ten centimeters from the top of the soil. A transparent plastic sleeve will help to retain the freshness of the flower. Also, be sure to use only clean shears to prevent the spread of pathogens that can cause infection.
A late-season flowering plant, chrysanthemum is one of the best flowers to grow if you want to have a colorful garden and a more beautiful landscape. Mums are great even for container gardening. To ensure the highest level of success, pay attention to the right growing conditions and pick a variety that will work well for the external environment.