plant of the month
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Dendranthema X grandiflorum
(den-DRAN-thuh-muh or den-dran-THEEM-uh grand-i-FLOOR-um)
syn: 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.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
These plants can tolerate and prefer full sun (at least half a
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:
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.
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).
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.
Although garden mums are relatively pest tolerant, aphids and
mites can infest. Control with pesticides.
Leaf blight (a disease causing browning and falling of the
leaves) and powdery mildew (a leaf and stem fungus) are the
BLACK SPOTS ON LEAVES/STEMS
The best solution is to prune the affected parts.
Causes include improper light, watering and/or fertilization.
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
Chrysanthemums are members of the Asteraceae (Compositae)
family. Close relatives include Ageratum,
Gerberas, Dahlias, Calendulas,
Zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, China asters and
HOME SWEET HOME
These plants are native to China and Japan.
Some information provided
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’
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T.
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural
Sciences (IFAS) Extension
Photo: Syngenta Flowers