Chrysanthemums, commonly known as mums, are a vibrant and captivating herb that holds immense significance in various cultures. With their extensive array of colors, including shades of yellow, red, white, and purple, these flowers are not only visually stunning but also possess several medicinal properties. Mums have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat ailments such as inflammation, headaches, and fever. Additionally, their leaves contain high levels of antioxidants which may help boost the immune system.
In addition to their healing properties, chrysanthemums also have cultural importance. In Japan, the mum is considered a symbol of autumn and is celebrated during a festival called Festival of Happiness. These cheerful blooms represent longevity and rejuvenation in Chinese culture and are often presented during special occasions or given as gifts to convey good luck. It’s fascinating how these simple flowers can hold such deep meaning across different cultures.
- It’s best to plant mums in the spring or fall, as they prefer cooler temperatures and moderate sunlight. Avoid planting them during the scorching summer months or in freezing winter temperatures.
- Mums thrive in full sun, meaning they need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If you don’t have a spot with full sun, make sure they still receive enough light to promote healthy growth. Consider choosing an area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade for optimal results.
- When planting mums, space them about 18 inches apart from each other to allow proper air circulation and prevent overcrowding. This spacing is necessary for the plants’ overall health as well as ensuring optimal growth and flower production.
- Mums are heavy feeders and require monthly applications of fertilizer. They have shallow root systems that can compete with nearby plants for nutrients and water.
- Spread mulch around the mum to conserve soil moisture.
- Avoid planting them in areas prone to standing water or poor drainage since this can lead to root rot.
- Seedlings require consistent moisture to promote healthy growth. Keep the soil evenly moist, but be careful not to overwater. A good rule of thumb is to check the top inch of soil and water when it feels dry to the touch.
- When the seedlings are around 2 inches tall and have developed a strong root system, it’s time to transplant them into their permanent location. Plant them in well-draining soil, spacing them at least 12 inches apart. Be sure to choose a sunny location for optimal growth.
- After transplanting, continue watering your newly planted seedlings regularly. Water deeply, allowing the soil to soak up moisture down to the roots. Avoid wetting the foliage as this can lead to disease issues.
- As your mums start growing and producing more leaves, you may notice overcrowding. Thin out excess growth by pinching or cutting away any weak or spindly stems. This will allow air circulation and sunlight penetration through the plant.
- Once your mums have reached maturity, they still require regular watering. However, avoid excessive irrigation that can lead to root rot or other issues. Use a mulch layer around each plant to retain moisture in the soil without causing excessive water accumulation.
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Recommended Mum Varieties
When it comes to chrysanthemums, there are numerous varieties to choose from that will surely add beauty and charm to any garden. One of the most popular variety is the ‘Pompom‘ mum, which features small, round flowers that resemble fluffy pom-poms. These mums come in a wide range of colors, including pink, purple, yellow, and white, making them a versatile choice for any landscape.
Another popular variety is the ‘Cushion‘ mum, known for its compact growth habit and dense mound of flowers. These mums produce abundant blooms in vibrant shades of red, orange, and bronze. With their short stature and bushy appearance, Cushion mums are perfect for borders or containers.
For those looking for something more unique and eye-catching, the ‘Spider‘ mum might be the perfect choice. As its name suggests, this variety boasts long slender petals that resemble spider legs. Available in striking colors such as burgundy or electric blue, Spider mums add a touch of intrigue to any floral arrangement.
For those living in colder climates where winters are harsh, overwintering chrysanthemums is essential for their survival. Towards the end of fall when temperatures start dropping below freezing point, carefully dig up each plant and gently shake off excess soil from their roots. Trim back stem growth to about 6 inches above ground level and group similar varieties together before storing them in a cool (around 35°F), dark area like an unheated basement or garage. Water occasionally to prevent drying out without soaking the roots excessively during winter months until they can be replanted outdoors once frost danger has passed next spring.
Harvesting Cut Flowers
- To harvest chrysanthemums flowers it’s best to wait until the buds start showing color but haven’t fully opened yet. This ensures that the flowers will have a longer vase life. Use clean, sharp clippers or pruners to cut the stems at an angle, just above a node or bud.
- Once harvested, remove any leaves that will be submerged in water as they can cause bacteria growth and shorten the vase life of the flowers. Fill a clean bucket with water and immediately place the freshly cut stems in it. Keep them in a cool location for several hours, allowing them to fully hydrate before arranging them in vases or floral arrangements.
- If your interested in harvesting seed the seed pods are typically ready for collection when they turn brown or dry out. This is usually towards the end of summer or early fall. It’s essential to monitor the plants closely during this time to ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to collect viable seeds.
- To collect the seeds, gently pinch or cut off the seed heads from the plant and place them in a paper bag. Avoid using plastic bags as they can trap moisture and cause mold formation. Letting the seed heads dry completely inside the bag will help release any remaining seeds that may still be attached. Once dry, shake the bag gently to dislodge any loose seeds.
- After harvesting, it’s crucial to store your collected seeds properly. Place them in an airtight container, such as a glass jar or small plastic baggie, and store them in a cool, dark location until you’re ready to use them for planting next spring. Be sure to label your containers with the date and specific mum variety so that you can keep track of what you have stored.
- Mums’ will self-seed directly into your garden beds if you leave some flower heads on the plants until they naturally disperse their seeds in late fall or winter, you allow new plants to emerge on their own accord come springtime.
- Harvesting mums’ seeds may not produce offspring identical to their parent plant
Origin, History and Symbolism:
Originating in China over 2,000 years ago, chrysanthemums have a rich and fascinating history. In fact, they were so highly regarded that the Chinese emperor adopted them as the official seal of the empire. The flower’s name is derived from the Greek words chrysos meaning gold and anthemon meaning flower, reflecting its original vibrant yellow color.
Throughout its history, this versatile flower has become deeply woven into various cultures and traditions. In Japan, for instance, chrysanthemums are celebrated during the National Chrysanthemum Exhibition held every November. This event showcases intricate chrysanthemum displays depicting famous figures and iconic landscapes. These creative arrangements not only display the beauty of chrysanthemums but also highlight their significance in Japanese art and culture.
Symbolically, chrysanthemums convey different meanings across cultures. In many parts of Asia, these flowers are symbols of longevity and resilience due to their ability to bloom late into autumn when other plants begin to wither away. Alternatively, they can also represent honesty and purity in Western cultures. Moreover, some believe that chrysanthemums possess healing properties and use them medicinally for treating colds or reducing inflammation.
Pest and Diseases:
Aphids: These small, soft-bodied insects are a common pest for chrysanthemums. They suck the sap from the leaves and can cause wilting and yellowing of the foliage. Regular inspection and the use of insecticidal soap or neem oil can help control aphid infestations.
Spider mites: These tiny pests often go unnoticed until their webbing becomes visible on the undersides of leaves. Infested plants may display stippled or discolored foliage, as well as reduced vigor. Spider mites thrive in hot and dry conditions, so it’s important to provide adequate watering and prevent drought stress.
Botrytis blight: Also known as gray mold, this fungal disease affects chrysanthemum flowers and foliage in humid conditions with poor air circulation. It causes browning or rotting of petals, leaf spots, wilted stems, and overall plant decline. To prevent botrytis blight, ensure proper spacing between plants to maximize airflow, avoid overhead watering which promotes moisture on leaves, and remove any infected parts promptly.
Pythium root rot: This soil-borne disease can be a problem especially in over-watered or poorly drained areas. Chrysanthemums affected by pythium root rot may exhibit stunted growth with yellowed leaves that eventually die off. Proper soil drainage through well-amended beds or containers is crucial to prevent this disease.
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Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, it’s important to understand the basic needs of plants to ensure successful growth and bountiful harvests. That’s why we’ve created a downloadable Fact Sheet for your journal or garden planner, so you have all the key information at your fingertips.
Our fact sheet provides a quick overview of details on plant care. You’ll be able to refer to this reference whenever you need to look up the ideal growing conditions for this plant, including soil type and temperature requirements. With this quick reference guide in hand, you can easily consult it whenever you need reminders about caring for your plants.
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