Garden Chrysanthemum (Dendranthema x grandiflora)
Garden Chrysanthemums are a versatile and vigorous group of flowering plants that come from ancient China. The many species of this popular perennial boast attractive blossoms of wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors that are real assets in the late summer flower garden. Garden chrysanthemums, also called “hardy mums," are tough plants that flower abundantly and bloom in the garden for four to six weeks. Technically perennials, their cold hardiness is variable, but most will return for many years of flowering if they are protected in the yard during the winter. They are rarely bothered by pest and disease problems. These mums can be grown as far north as the Ohio Valley and along the eastern coast up into New England (zone 5). They are cold hardy in areas where winter temperatures seldom dip below -5° to -10°F.
Size: Depending on the variety, garden mum plants grow 9 inches (dwarf varieties) to 4 feet tall, and spread 1 to 3 feet. By that time, the plant clumps will need dividing .
Foliage: Garden chrysanthemum leaves are oval shaped, but deeply lobed. They are up to 3 inches long, and have a distinctive aromatic scent. Most are dull green. Their undersides are fuzzy and gray.
Flowers: Garden chrysanthemum flowers come in many forms. Some examples include:
Singles - resemble daisies;
Doubles - large outer petals and smaller center petals;
Pompons - dense masses of petals curve in to form a globular shape;
Spiders - long, thin petals;
Spoons - tubular petals flare out into little spoons at the tips;
Anemones - one or more rows of petals surrounding a raised central disc.
Flower colors include white and shades of , yellow, pink, orange, red, bronze, purple, and lavender. The flowers of the different varieties range from 1 to 7 inches in diameter. Garden mums bloom in response to how late in the summer their stems were pinched back, the amount of daily light they receive and the advent of cooler days. Some are bred to bloom mid-season, others later in the fall.
Garden Chrysanthemum Choices
Garden mum varieties that are very tough: ‘Baby Tears’, ‘Yellow Baby Tears’, ‘White Grandchild’, ‘Small Wonder’ and ‘Little Pennies’.
Extremely compact, bushy mums are the Prophetsä series: ‘Goldmine’, ‘Debonaire’ or ‘Remarkable’.
Very reliable mums: ‘Jessica’ (yellow) can take the heat in the South, ‘Lynn’ (two toned lavender) is very compact. ‘Mini-Autumn’ is early flowering, has rust-red flowers, and is suited for regions with very cold winters.