Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum morifolium; Chrysanthemum x morifolium
Origin: Chrysanthemum morifolium originate from China
Height: Florist Chrysanthemum grow to heights ranging between 30 and 60 cm (12 to 24 in).
Soil: Chrysanthemum morifolium typically grow best in potting mixes based on peat moss.
Light: This house plant needs lots of sunlight, but must also have sufficient darkness throughout the night in order to bloom abundantly.
Humidity: Average levels of humidity are adequate for this plant.
Temperatures: To prolong blooming, plants are best kept in temperatures ranging between 13 and 18 degrees C (55 to 65 degrees F).
Water: To prevent foliage wilting, the soil should be kept evenly moistened at all times.
Fertiliser: Potted Florist Chrysanthemums typically do not require fertilising, but those planted out should be given a slow-release 5-10-5 or 5-10-10 fertiliser in spring.
Propagation: This house plant can be propagated from seeds or stem/ leaf cuttings, which should be taken in spring.
Description and Care Tips
Cultivated in China for two millennia under the name of Chusan Daisy, Florist Chrysanthemums, which are often simply referred to as Xants or Mums, were introduced to Japan - by Buddhist monks - during 400 AD, where they became so popular, the imperial family adopted them as their emblem. Some Japanese cities host spectacular Chrysanthemum exhibitions each year even today. The plants reached Europe during the late 18th Century, and were initially known as Pompon Chrysanthemums.
A member of the Asteraceae family, which includes more than 1,000 genera and around 20,000 different species, the Florist Chrysanthemum has dark green foliage and may feature daisy or anemone-like, pompon shaped or spider-like flowers.
Originally golden yellow (hence its name Chrysanthemum, which essentially means Golden Flower), this plant is now available in a plethora of colours, including white and off-white; pink, red, and burgundy; yellow, bronze, lavender and purple.
To keep it flowering for longer, the plant should be placed into a well-ventilated, cool - but sunny - position and watered regularly, as dry roots will cause the foliage to wilt and stunt formation of buds.
Part of the Florist Chrysanthemum's popularity is due to the wealth of meanings associated with its flowers. In addition to this flower symbolising fidelity, joy, long life and optimism, red flowers are said to convey love; white flowers are used to symbolise loyal love and truth, and yellow flowers are often used to symbolise slighted love.
In Italy and parts of Germany, Florist Chrysanthemums are associated with funerals, and many refuse to have them in their house - especially if white or yellow -for any other reason. This is based on a superstition that having these flowers in the house will result in a funeral becoming necessary - and is a real shame considering their beauty.
Used in ancient China as a medicine, or fermented into wine, the petals of Chrysanthemums are said to be edible and can be used in salads, sprinkled on top of clear soups or in tea. Chrysanthemum flavour tea is said to be useful as a relaxant. It should, however, be noted that the leaves of this plant are toxic and should never be ingested.
As it is not possible to get this plant to bloom again indoors, it is often thrown out after flowering has ended. This is a shame, as this comparatively easy to grow plant can be cut back (down to 7 to 10 cm/ 3 to 4 in) and transferred into the garden, where it will require fertilising (see above) in spring.
Pinching growing tips out every two to three weeks, starting when new spring growth has reached 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in) and ending in early summer, will result in the plant becoming bushier and producing more flower buds. Deadheading spent flowers will also encourage prolonged blooming.
As Chrysanthemum morifolium is susceptible to various common pests (in particular aphids and spider mites) and diseases (including powdery mildew, septoria leaf spot and verticillium wilt), it is vital to regularly check for signs of such problems and deal with them as soon as possible to prevent spreading infestations/ infections.