A perennial fall favorite, Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum), commonly referred to as mums, add beautiful color to fall gardens, patio plantings and container arrangements. Looking for all the world like bright, colorful bouquets that have sprung up amidst the shriveling leaves and dead stalks of fading summer flowers, Chrysanthemums revitalize garden landscapes.
Chrysanthemums grow in rounded, bushy globes bursting with scores of vividly colored blooms atop deeply lobed, dark green foliage. Dense layers of tiny daisy-fringed petals form button or pompon-shaped flowers that grow in close profusion. Chrysanthemums offer gardeners a delightfully varied color palette from which to choose, ranging from pale pinks and lavenders to bold crimsons and oranges. Chrysanthemums are also available in such a rich variety of shapes, sizes and textures from the small, compact flowers of button mums to the loose, leggy starbursts of spider mums to the giant, showy balls of snowball mums.
Native to Asia and northeastern Europe, Chrysanthemums were first cultivated as a flowering herb by ancient Chinese farmers as early as the 15th century BC. A very popular flower in China, Chrysanthemums appear frequently in Chinese paintings, arts and designs. As trade spread among early cultures, the Chrysanthemum was introduced to Japan in the 8th century AD. So prized was the flower in Japan that the Emperor adopted it as his official seal. The annual Japanese Festival of Happiness still celebrates the flower’s beauty. Chrysanthemums did not appear in Europe until the 17th century, but spread quickly once introduced and were eventually brought to America where they continue to be a garden favorite.
Easy to grow, Chrysanthemums will thrive in any sunny location, but do best in fertile, well-drained soil. Although many people plant Chrysanthemums in the fall, when planted in the spring they will flower all season long until frost. This plant should be watered freely during dry spells. For best display, fertilize regularly and remove flowers as they fade.