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garden mum

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Dendranthema X grandiflorum
(den-DRAN-thuh-muh or den-dran-THEEM-uh    grand-i-FLOOR-um)
Chrysanthemum X morifolium

Garden chrysanthemum (mum)
Hardy chrysanthemum (mum)

     Garden mums have densely massed, 1-to-2-foot-diameter clusters of blooms. Bloom types include cushions, daisies, pompons (ball), buttons, spiders and spoon petaled. Garden mums typically attain heights from 7 to 24 inches. Stems are leafy and usually branched near the top, with multiple flower clusters at the end of each.

Garden mum colors include white, cream, red, brown, bronze, butterscotch, red-orange, orange, yellow, pink, lavender, purple and red-violet, as well as bicolors.

     Garden mums can flower for several weeks, usually in the fall, but they can also flower in the spring, depending on variety and temperate zone (see “Outdoor and Consumer Care: Reblooming”)

     Garden mums are generally available from July through October, depending on region.


LIGHT These plants can tolerate and prefer full sun (at least half a day).
WATER Never allow plants to wilt. Plants in containers should be watered every other day. Newly planted mums should be watered daily during the first week, then two or three times per week. Established plants in the ground should be fine with natural rainfall, but in droughts, supplemental watering will be needed. (See “Challenges: Foliage Yellowing/Wilting.)
FERTILIZER Fertilize garden mums monthly until August with a general-purpose fertilizer. Newly planted mums should not need fertilizer the first year. If plants are fed too heavily, it is impossible to keep their height down.
GROWING MEDIA These plants require well-drained soils amended with organic matter. In sandy soils, a 3- to 4-inch layer of peat or compost should be worked into the top 6 inches of soil.
GROOMING From late spring through mid-August, pinch or snip off the top 2-3 inches of budless stems every time new growth reaches 6 inches. Stop pinching around mid-July in the North and the last week of July in the South. Cut off blooms when they die, leaving the foliated stems. In cold climes, when the stems freeze and turn black, cut them back nearly to the soil level. In warmer climes, prune old growth in late winter (early to mid-March).
REBLOOMING Garden mums are perennial plants, so, with the exception of those planted in extremely cold climates, they should reflower every year—generally in the fall but, in temperate regions, sometimes in the spring, too. These plants will flower only when nights are long; night length triggers flowering. Some gardening authorities recommend not allowing garden mums to flower in the spring, advocating instead pinching off the budded stems to encourage vegetative growth.


PESTS Although garden mums are relatively pest tolerant, aphids and mites can infest. Control with pesticides.
DISEASES Leaf blight (a disease causing browning and falling of the leaves) and powdery mildew (a leaf and stem fungus) are the biggest concerns.
BLACK SPOTS ON LEAVES/STEMS The best solution is to prune the affected parts.
FOLIAGE YELLOWING/WILTING Causes include improper light, watering and/or fertilization.

  fun facts  

WHAT’S IN A NAME The botanical name “Dendranthema” comes from the Greek words dendron (tree) and anthos or anthemon (flower). “Chrysanthemum” is from the Greek words chryos (golden) and anthos or anthemon (flower). The specific epithets “grandiflorum” and “morifolium” mean large flowered and leaves like mulberry, respectively. The “X” in the botanical name means the plant is a hybrid of at least two different species.

FAMILY MATTERS Chrysanthemums are members of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family. Close relatives include Ageratum, Gerberas, Dahlias, Calendulas, Zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, China asters and many more.

HOME SWEET HOME These plants are native to China and Japan.


Some information provided by:

Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network® ,
Dictionary of Plant Names, by Allen J. Coombes
Herbaceous Perennial Plants, by Allan M. Armitage, Ph.D.
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
New Pronouncing Dictionary of Plant Names by Florists’ Publishing Company
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T. Stearn
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension

Photo: Syngenta Flowers

Super Floral Retailing • Copyright 2010
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.