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Dendranthema x grandiflorum
syn. Chrysanthemum x morifolium
Chrysanthemum, Mum, Florist mum
Chrysanthemums display composite heads of ray and disk flowers
in numerous forms and sizes. These plants may have
single-flowered stems (standards), or they can be pinched to
form multiple-flowered stems (sprays). There are many flower
forms including daisy, spider, fuji, quill, incurve (football),
cushion, button and spoon.
Chrysanthemums are available in hues of red, pink, purple,
lavender, orange, bronze, yellow, green, white and bicolors.
Chrysanthemums have a vase life of seven to 14 days, sometimes
longer, depending upon the variety and the care they receive.
Mums are available year-round.
PROCESSING Remove leaves
below the water line, and recut stems, removing at least 1 inch
and making sure the cut is above the woody portion. Dip or place
stems into a cool hydration solution.
FEEDING Following hydration,
chrysanthemums will open better in a solution of fresh flower
REFRIGERATION Store mums at
33 F to 35 F.
Chrysanthemums aren’t sensitive to ethylene gas.
HEAT SOURCES Place the
flowers in cool areas away from sun and heat sources, including
FLOWER PAIRINGS Certain
microorganisms normally associated with carnations can reduce
the vase life of chrysanthemums if the two flowers are stored in
the same container.
Petals on chrysanthemums are actually florets, or small flowers.
That means that each chrysanthemum bloom is actually a composite
of many individual flowers on one head. Chrysanthemums have two
types of florets: ray florets, which would be called petals on a
daisy-type bloom, and disc florets, which compose the center of
a daisy-type bloom. All classes of chrysanthemums have both
types of florets, but in many of the classes, the disc florets
are not apparent.
BLOOMS Choose flowers that
are between two-thirds and three-quarters open. They will last
longer than those harvested in tighter bud stage. Check for
signs of discoloration on petals, which indicates old flowers or
flowers grown in too-cold conditions. Avoid blooms that show
blackening in the center, or “disc,” florets.
FOLIAGE Check for stems with
yellow foliage, which varies by variety and is caused by poor
production methods, excessive or improper storage, or fresh
flower food solutions being used at higher-than-recommended
MEANING The common name
“chrysan-themum” comes from the Greek words “chrusos,” which
means “gold,” and “anthemom,” which means “flower.”
FAMILY Chrysanthemums are
members of the Asteraceae (aster), or Compositae (daisy),
family. Relatives include Cosmos, Dahlias, Calendulas (pot
marigold), Zinnias and strawflowers (Helichrysum bracteatum).
ORIGINS The flowers are
native to China.
HISTORY Chrysanthemums have
been cultivated for 2,000 years in China, where infusions of the
leaves and flowers were used as medicine and fermented into
wine. In the United States, the chrysanthemum is the largest
commercially produced flower due to its ease of cultivation,
capability to bloom on schedule, diversity of bloom forms and
colors, and lasting quality of the blooms. In European
countries, the chrysanthemum is known as the death flower and is
used almost exclusively as a memorial on graves.
Some information provided by:
The Chain of Life Network®,
National Chrysanthemum Society, USA,
Repetto Nurseries, Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Society of American Florists’ Flower & Plant Care manual
Photos courtesy of Royal Van Zanten
You may reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
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