Guide to Chrysanthemum Flowers
1.1 What is the meaning of the chrysanthemum flower and what do they symbolise?
Chrysanthemums primarily symbolise love, affection and truth but have a few more subtle implications. The colour is also an important feature in distinguishing the meaning of a mum.
- Love: Plain and simple – like many flowers, mums are renowned for their symbolism of love. Red chrysanthemums are signs of pure love, where as the yellow chrysanthemum signifies unreciprocated love.
- Optimism: There’s an age old tradition stemming from oriental times of placing a chrysanthemum petal at the bottom of a friend’s wine glass to bless them with a long and happy life.
- Peace: Adopted by buddhist culture as one of their traditional flowers, the tea of mum leaves are said to stimulate an inner sense of wellbeing and promote meditation.
- Truth: An important virtue to Asiatic culture, let alone any culture in the world is truth. White chrysanthemums are said to convey truth and reality.
1.2 What occasions are best to give chrysanthemum flowers as a gift?
There are few occasions specifically designed where chrysanthemum flowers are expected to be given. One of these is the Chinese Double Ninth Festival where chrysanthemum wine is drunk in celebration of long life and spiritual cleansing.
In general, mums are given on occasions according to what they represent. For example, as they are symbols of love, it makes them appropriate for Valentine’s Day, Anniversaries and just about any instance you want to show your passion and love for a partner or friend. A white chrysanthemum would be an ideal flower to give to your partner after a rough patch between your relationship as it symbolises truth and hope.
1.3 How long do Chrysanthemum from a florist live for?
When chrysanthemums bought from a florist have been ordered, they will typically come with closed buds, ready to bloom within a few days of arrival. The type of arrangement and transportation will affect the life of mums as well – boxed chrysanthemums may be a beautiful floral arrangement but they’re life may be shortened as they have lacked air and sunlight during their delivery.
If you wish to prolong the life of your mum flowers as long as possible, keep in mind that chyrsanthemum’s are a sun-loving plant which thrives on fresh air. You can expect up to a week from bud to full bloom, then another week of bright appearance before significant signs of wilt begin to spread through the florets.
Other than these, common sense when managing flower gifts is the best thing to do – water, clean, cut the stems and provide sufficient sunlight.
1.4 What different type of Chrysanthemum flower species are there?
When classing chrysanthemums, it is easier to go by type than specie. There are two broad categories mums can fall under, either hardy or non-hardy. Hardy flowers have the characteristics to survive weather and conditions not suited to it, such as cold winters.
If the type of chrysanthemum purchased from an online florist is unspecified, you can assume it is an irregular incurved mum, such as the white flowers pictured above. These are generally the largest and most elegant variant of the mum, and are similiar to the pompom variety, named after it’s bulbous shape made up of miniature florets.
Other types of mums include:
- Single-flowered chrysanthemums are often confused with Daisy flowers, as they have a dark central stigma with 3 inch petals attached, primarily white, red and yellow. The petals can be used for tea and ground up to be used as an insecticide.
- Button chrysanthemums are far from regular mums, with small heads comprised of inch long petals. They are a shorter variant of the common chrysanthemum strains.
- Read about more mum types at Do It Yourself guide to Hardy Chrysanthemums.
1.5 What conditions does the Chrysanthemum flower need to grow?
Climate:Chrysanthemums are a beginners plant to grow and cultivate due to the fact that they can be sown in just about any season, providing the climate offers ample sunlight and doesn’t have a monsoon season.
Soil: They favor slightly acidic soils, with pH levels from ~5.5-7.0.
Planting: Mums should be planted a few cm below the soil where there is sufficient drainage and sunlight.
Fertilizer: General purpose fertilizer should be applied once or twice per year, depending on the nutrient levels of the soil.
Insects & Disease: Insects and disease are particularly bad problems for mums in relation to most flowers. Fungal diseases can be combated with simple sulphur or copper fungicides. It is also recommended to transport the roots to different areas as growing in the same soil for over 5 years leaves chrysanthemums susceptible to infections. For insects, any household or industrial insecticide is effective at fighting off caterpillars, snails, beetles and just about any pest.
For a more in-depth insight, see the Clemson University guide to chrysanthemum insects and diseases.
Height at Bloom: Once the stems have hit 15cm or so in height, they should be pinched in order to maintain a sturdy base for the plant to bloom from. Including the stem, a chrysanthemum flower can grow up to 80cm.
Watering: Rainfall generally provides enough water for chrysanthemums to live of. During a dry spell, they should be watered twice a week.
See the eHow guide to planting and caring for chrysanthemums for more information.