Traditionally in Australia we give the Chrysanthemum to mum’s on Mother’s Day. During autumn Chrysanthemums are in flower making them both a plentiful flower and also one that is cheap to buy.
There are many named cultivars of the Chrysanthemum – they have been grown in Asia for thousands of years and were not widely known to the rest of the world until the early nineteenth century when the plants were imported into the United Kingdom and cultivation began. The flowers range in shapes and sizes and come in a variety of colours from white to pink, bronze, purple, yellow and everything in between. Chrysanthemums, often called mums or chrysanths.
Chrysanthemums are used as mother’s day flowers in particular; they also make great potted or garden flowers. The plants flower for a long time and the cut flowers are also long lasting. The plants grow easily and are relatively pest free. Commercial growers are able to produce flowers all year round by just adjusting the amount of light the plants receive.
Florists love to work Chrysanthemums in to floral arrangements. Chrysanthemums provide beautiful, bold colours and textures.
Mini Chrysanthemums are also quite popular with florists, featuring in many floral arrangements
If you are growing Chrysanthemums at home, potted plants will last up to several weeks indoors but remember to keep them watered when dry and keep them in a well lit spot. Always remove any dying flowers and discoloured leaves. When the plant has finished flowering either throw it away or cut it back to about 15 cm in height and plant it outside in a sunny, well drained spot. Chrysanthemums like well drained soil and full sun. Water well through summer and every four to six weeks to encourage strong growth. Feed the plant with a liquid fertiliser.
Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as far back as the fifteenth century; as a flowering herb and they are known as one of the Four Gentleman in Eastern Asian and Chinese art. In the seventeenth century the flower was brought to Europe and was named from the Greek word Chrysous – meaning golden, which was the colour of the original flower and anthemon – meaning Flower.
The modern Chrysanthemum is far showier than their wild growing relatives, with the flowers coming in many forms including pompoms, buttons, decorative or daisy like. Over 140 varieties of Chrysanthemum have gained the Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society, with the flower divided into two basic groups – the exhibition and the garden hardy. The garden hardy range is defined by their ability to grow in cold grounds and will produce blooms without much help. Exhibition varieties are nowhere near as sturdy, requiring staking, a dry and cool environment and in some cases the addition of a night light.
The bloom of a Chrysanthemum is composed of many individual flowers with each one capable of producing a seed. In Asia, the white or yellow Chrysanthemum is boiled to make a sweet drink – known simply as Chrysanthemum tea. While in Korea, a rice wine and Chrysanthemum flower is blended into a drink called gukhaju.
In the NASA Clean Air Study, the Chrysanthemum plant has been shown to reduce indoor air pollution!