Chrysanthemums (mums) are fall showstoppers that will bloom prolifically beyond the time period when other flowers start to wither and die due to the dipping mercury.
History of the Chrysanthemum
The cheerful mum is native to China and has been prized for over 2,000 years by gardeners. The name ‘chrysanthemum is derived from the Greek word ‘chrysos’ for gold and anthos for flower. Many gardeners get confused because there are two botanical names Dendrathema sp. and Chrysanthemum sp, but this is simply because the genus was named Chrysanthemum in the 1700s but later recategorized in the 1990s to the genus of Dendrathema, but the decision was short-lived and the plant was soon changed back.
Types of Mums
Chrysanthemums vary in height, color, size, bloom type, and spread. There are hundreds of types. Some are hardy for the garden and others are considered ‘florist’ varieties and far less cold-tolerant.
- Single: The single petal varieties have a daisy-like appearance.
- Cushion: These look like pin cushions in shape.
- Decorative: Large blooms with petals that curl towards the flower’s center.
- Anemone: The outer edge is covered in longer petals than the center of the bloom.
- Spider: Features long, tube-shaped petals that look like a spider’s legs
- Spoon: A flat bloom with multiple rows of spoon shaped petals
- Quill: The petals are long, straight, and tubular.
Home gardeners typically prefer anemone or cushion varieties. On occasion, you will also see single petal types.
How to Grow Chrysanthemums
The wonderful thing about chrysanthemums is that they are easy to grow in the home garden.
- Mums require the following to thrive:
- Full sun (at least five to six hours per day)
- A planting location that affords ample air circulation, so the plants’ leaves are exposed to the morning sun. Mums are highly susceptible to mildew so you want to make sure that the plants are not in a location where they are crowded or overly wet for an extended time.
- Fertile soil with a pH of around 6.5 is ideal. Mums prefer sandy or loamy soil.
- A balanced nutrient solution such as those sold by Humboldts Secret Supplies encourages flower production and health. Frequently feeding during the growing season is ideal.
Planting Mums in the Garden
Plant chrysanthemums in the early spring when all danger of freezing weather has passed. You’ll notice that in the fall months, garden centers offer a wide assortment of dazzling mums in full bloom but when you plant the chrysanthemums so late in the season, you risk the plants not becoming fully established before the cold weather hits.
When planting the tall varieties of chrysanthemums, you might need a trellis or garden stake to afford ample support. When the plant’s stems become heavy with blooms, they will often flop to the ground.
Pinch off mums when they stand approximately six inches tall to encourage a bushy growth habit and ensure that the plant makes ample blooms in the fall.
Growing chrysanthemums is a remarkably rewarding experience and, best of all, they make a great cut flower. You’ll have lovely fall bouquets to decorate your holiday table!
Contact Humboldts Secret Supplies to learn more about our many nutrient solutions so you can grow outstanding chrysanthemums this fall.