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Cut Flower
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chrysanthemum

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BOTANICAL NAME

Dendranthema x grandiflorum
(den-DRAN-the-ma grand-i-FLOR-um),
syn. Chrysanthemum x morifolium
(kris-AN-the-mum mor-i-FOL-i-um)

COMMON NAMES
Chrysanthemum, Mum, Florist mum

DESCRIPTION
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.

COLORS
Chrysanthemums are available in hues of red, pink, purple, lavender, orange, bronze, yellow, green, white and bicolors.

VASE LIFE
Chrysanthemums have a vase life of seven to 14 days, sometimes longer, depending upon the variety and the care they receive.

AVAILABILITY
Mums are available year-round.

VASE-LIFE EXTENDERS
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 food.
REFRIGERATION Store mums at 33 F to 35 F.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Chrysanthemums aren’t sensitive to ethylene gas.
HEAT SOURCES Place the flowers in cool areas away from sun and heat sources, including electronic equipment.
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.

MANY-FLOWERED BLOOMS
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.

QUALITY CHECKLIST
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 concentrations.

FUN FACTS
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®, www.chainoflifenetwork.org
National Chrysanthemum Society, USA, www.mums.org
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 sbfloral@aol.com or by phone at (415) 239-3140.

 

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