cut flower of the month
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Dendranthema X grandiflorum (den-DRAN-thuh-muh grand-i-FLOR-um)
Chrysanthemum, Mum, Florist mum
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.
Bloom forms include
button, daisy, decorative (cushion, Dahlia-type, etc.), spider,
feathered, anemone (mounded cushionlike center), incurve
(“football”), and more.
Sizes include the larger single-flowered stems (disbuds,
standard mums [see more photos on Page 10]) and the smaller
multiflowered stems (spray mums, pompons). Spray mums also are
available in “micro” varieties.
Mums are available in lavender, purple, red-violet, burgundy,
red, pink, orange, coral, salmon, yellow, bronze, butterscotch,
cream and white, as well as bicolors.
typically last from seven to 14 days at the consumer level,
depending on variety, maturity at the time of sale and the care
Both disbud and spray mums are available year-round.
Buy cut spray mums when half to three-fourths of the
blooms are opening. Research shows that spray mums
harvested at a more mature stage will last longer than
those harvested in a tighter stage.
These single-bloom-per-stem flowers are usually sold
individually and unbunched although some bloom types
often are “netted” to protect the blossoms. In any case,
check each flower for damage resulting in shattering
FOLIAGE AND STEMS
Make sure foliage is deep green, crisp and turgid, and
that stems are thick and strong.
Immediately remove mums from their shipping boxes, and check
flower quality. Chrysanthemums are particularly susceptible to
dehydration during shipment. Remove any stem bindings as well as
any leaves that would be under water in storage containers.
Sleeves and nets may be removed later; keeping them on at this
point will help protect the blooms.
Next, recut the stems, under water or in air, on an angle, with
a sharp knife, removing at least 1 inch of stem; be sure to cut
off any woody portions. Do not pound or break stem ends; doing
so damages the stems’ vascular system, which inhibits water
Immediately after cutting the stem ends, dip or place them into
a cool hydration solution (refrigerate, or add some ice cubes),
then into containers partially filled with lukewarm (100 F to
110 F) properly proportioned flower-food solution.
The nutrient (sugar) in
flower-food solution is not beneficial to disbud chrysanthemums,
but flower food should always be used with these flowers to
control the growth of bacteria in storage and arrangement
containers. With spray mums, the sugar in flower foods is
required for the buds to open.
Immediately place chrysanthemums into a floral cooler at 33 F to
36 F, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours before
using or selling them. If sleeves were not removed earlier, take
them off after hydration to encourage air circulation between
stems and blooms.
Mums are fairly resistant to the effects of ethylene.
Care extra Yellowing
foliage is a common problem for many varieties of
chrysanthemums, and it can be exacerbated by flower food
prepared at higher-than-recommended concentrations, so be sure
to mix flower-food solutions properly.
Certain microorganisms originating from carnation stems can
reduce the vase life of chrysanthemums when both flowers are
held together in storage containers.
HOME SWEET HOME
Chrysanthemums originated in China prior to 500 B.C. and
were introduced into Japan around A.D. 400 and into
Europe (England) in 1795.
In the fifth century, the chrysanthemum became the
emblem of Japan’s imperial family. The Chrysanthemum
Throne is the common term for the Imperial Throne of
Japan, the oldest continuing hereditary monarchy in the
world (2,700 years, 125 monarchs).
Some information provided by:
of Life Network®,
Flower & Plant Care: The 21st Century Approach, by Terril
A. Nell, Ph.D. and
Michael S. Reid, Ph.D.
Cut Flowers of the World, by Johannes Maree and Ben-Erik
Hortus Third by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners by
William T. Stearn
Photos: Association of Colombian Flower Exporters (Asocolflores),