Mr. D's Plant of the Week Series: Garden Chrysanthemum

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From its humble Chinese beginnings as a culinary herb for table salads and brewed for herbal teas, the Garden Chrysanthemum, would one day gain royalty status from Japan.

Not to mention, it was also believed to contain the power of life. With its showy and classy looking colorful flowers, this perennial has been known to bring any landscape back to life.

The Dendranthema x grandiflora, (the Garden Chrysanthemum’s scientific name; pronounced: den-dran-THEEM-uh x gran-dif-FLOR-uh), from the family of Compositae, is not a native of North America.

The perennial’s origins are native to Asia and Northeastern Europe. The other names the Garden Chrysanthemum is known by are Garden Mum and Florists' Chrysanthemum.

FUN FACT: In 1798, American horticulture got its first look at this flower, by way of Colonel John Stevens, the American lawyer, engineer, inventor, and influencer to the creation of U.S. patent law. Col Stevens, as it is told, imported a variety of plants called the “Dark Purple” from England. The Garden Chrysanthemum being one of them helped promote attractions, one of which was the birthplace of baseball, at Elysian Fields.

How to care and manage the Garden Chrysanthemum

The Florists' Chrysanthemum is a spreading perennial that typically reaches a height of about 6 inches tall. When it flowers, it has been recorded to grow as tall as 24 inches. In the fall and spring expect to see flower spikes. These flowers come in six different colors; white, yellow, pink, red-orange, red and brown. The best time to plant them in Leon County is March, April, and October.  

Depending on how you will plant or display the Chrysanthemums, do be aware there are two primary mum groups, Exhibition, and Garden Hardy. Even though the National Chrysanthemum Society has grouped Dendranthema x grandiflora into thirteen different classifications, they will still fall into one or the other group.

The Exhibition mum varieties are not as strong as the Garden hardy types. They require staking, overwintering in a relatively dry, calm environment, and at different times you may need to install a night light. The Garden Hardy Chrysanthemum varieties are strapping and can weather winter climates. They produce a mass of small blooms without being staked and are robust to withstand wind and rain.

Mr. D’s Garden Chrysanthemum pest control tip

Even though Chrysanthemums are relatively trouble-free, they do have many enemies when it comes to pests. These pests come in the forms of funguses, viruses, bugs, and diseases. Below are a few examples.

  • Leaf Spot – multiple types of fungi

  • Foliar Nematodes – unsegmented roundworms

  • Rust – Puccinia chrysanthemi fungus

  • Wilt – Verticillium fungi

  • Powdery Mildew – Erysiphe cichoracearum fungus

  • Ray Blight – Mycosphaerella ligulicola fungus

  • Ray Speck – Stemphylium and Alternaria fungi

  • Gray Mold – Botrytis cinerea fungus

  • Bacterial Blight – Erwinia chrysanthemi disease

  • Crown Gall - Agrobacterium tumefaciens disease

  • Mosaic – Virus disease

  • Chrysanthemum smut – Virus disease

  • Tomato spotted wilt – Virus disease

  • Aster yellows – Virus disease

From this shortlist, you can see, a beautiful flower with royal status can also develop a sickness when you least expect it. Before your Garden Mum shows signs it’s coming down with something, remember there are preventions and treatments to keep this plant healthy for a long time. If you’d like to know more about the Garden Chrysanthemum, give us a call and one of our landscaping and garden plant specialists will assist you.

If you found the Garden Chrysanthemum interesting, then check out our Mexican Bluebell material and let us know your thoughts!