plant of the month
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syn: Chrysanthemum X morifolium
Chrysanthemums have “composite” flower heads of ray flowers
(petal-like florets) and disk flowers (tiny florets in the
center), in a range of forms and sizes. The most common bloom
forms for pot mums are daisy, decorative (cushion, Dahlia-type,
etc.), spider, spoon-tip, quill and anemone (mounded cushionlike
center). Stems are leafy and either branched, with multiple
flowers per stem, or disbudded, with a single bloom per stem.
Potted chrysanthemums are available in lavender, purple,
red-violet, burgundy, red, pink, orange, coral, salmon, yellow,
bronze, butterscotch, cream and white, as well as bicolors.
These plants typically last for two to four weeks (sometimes
longer), depending on variety, maturity at the time of sale and
the care they receive. The ideal stage for mums to be sold is
when plants have a few open blooms along with a mass of buds
that are showing color.
Potted mums are available year-round.
Place potted mums in moderately bright to bright light, but
protect them from direct midday sun.
Keep soil consistently moist at all times. This likely will
require watering several times each week, if not every day,
depending on how root bound a plant is. Under watering results
in wilted blooms and leaves, and wilting shortens the life of
Potted mums prefer cool environments (55 F to 65 F). Room
temperatures higher than 70 F will shorten flowering time and
plant life. If necessary, these plants can be stored in a floral
cooler at temperatures as low as 33 F for up to six days.
Mist leaves occasionally if plants are in dry environments.
Most varieties of chrysanthemums are fairly resistant to the
effects of ethylene gas.
Fertilizing is not needed at the retail or consumer levels.
Remove faded blooms, damaged buds and yellow leaves daily.
Most people dispose of florist mums after the blooms fade
because the plants are not hardy in cold climates; however, if
you want to transplant one outdoors, cut the stems back to 3
inches after flowering, and keep the pruned plant in a cool but
frost-free place until spring, after the chance of hard freezes
has passed. In warm climates, florist mums should revert to
their natural growth habits.
Aphids and red spider mites can be problems. If plants are not
too badly infested, rinse them with an insecticidal soap, and
water them with a systemic insecticide. Discard badly infested
BUDS FAIL TO OPEN
Causes include not enough light, the plant was too immature when
taken from the greenhouse and severe stress during transit.
FOLIAGE TURNS YELLOW
This is a relatively common occurrence for florist mums although
it can be exacerbated by not enough light and under watering.
(See “In-Store and Consumer Care: Grooming,”)
WHAT’S IN A NAME
The botanical name “Dendranthema” comes from the
Greek words dendron (tree) and anthos or
anthemon (flower), in reference to these plants’
somewhat woody stems. “Chrysanthe-mum” is from the Greek
words chrysos (golden) and anthos or
anthemon (flower). The specific epithet “grandiflorum”
means large flowered. The “X” in the botanical name
means the plant is a hybrid of at least two species.
Chrysanthemums are members of the huge Asteraceae
(Compositae) family. Close relatives include
Gerberas, Dahlias, Zinnias,
marguerites, sunflowers, marigolds, China asters and
Some information provided
Chain of Life Network® ,
Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, The, by Barbara
Flower & Plant Care: The 21st Century Approach, by Terril
A. Nell, Ph.D. and
Michael S. Reid, Ph.D.
House Plant Expert, The, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners,by
William T. Stearn