Chrysanthemums have been intensively bred for centuries, resulting in a number of cut flower forms. The most common are sprays, with several flowers per stem, which come in every colour, except blue. These are tremendously popular cut flowers due to their bright colours and long vase life. In 2004 they were rated #3 on the Dutch Flower Auction system.
The other main chrysanthemum type are called ‘disbuds’, which consist of one large flower per stem. Instead of letting the plant produce side shoots which would each bear flowers, as in sprays, all these shoots are removed, leaving only one central stem, which produces one large flower. All the energy of the plant is directed into this bud which then grows to a huge size. Blooms come in many different forms, many looking very like dahlias. Some are tight petalled, with all the petals curling upwards. Some have loose petals which look like spider legs, hence the common name ‘spiders’.
Large breeders include Royal Van Zanten (Holland & UK), Fides (Holland), and Serres de Oisseme (France). Check these breeders’ websites for more information.
Chrysanthemums tend to be grown in glasshouses or polyhouses, and like roses, the main areas of production have become more southern – Spain and Africa for Europe and South America. In Australia they are grown close to the capital cities, particularly in Victoria (Dandenong Ranges and Mornington Peninsula) due to the relatively cool climate with low humidity.
Types: Sprays, Disbuds, Spiders, Buttons
Language: (General) – You’re a wonderful friend, Cheerfulness and rest, (Red) – I Love You, (White) – Truth, (Yellow) – Slighted Love
Birth Flower: November
What to look for
- Sprays: one flower per stem is fully open;
- Disbuds: central petals form a tuft;
- Petals should be free of brown blemishes;
- Avoid bunches with yellow leaves – leaves age before flowers.
- Keep cool at all times.
- Strip leaves from the bottom half of each stem.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each stem making sure you remove the woody base of each stem and place in water immediately.
- Never pound or crush stem ends.
- Always use a preservative as this will help buds open and keep open flowers looking fresh.
- Replace vase water with fresh preservative every 2 to 3 days.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
The chrysanthemum flower has been known since before 5000 BC – in those days it was a small yellow flower. It was first cultivated in China as a flowering herb and is described in writings as early as the 15th Century B.C. As an herb, it was believed to have the power of life. Legend has it that the boiled roots were used as a headache remedy; young sprouts and petals were eaten in salads; and leaves were brewed for a festive drink. The Chinese consider them the highest of all flowers, and named their royal throne after the flower.
The chrysanthemum appeared in Japan around the 8th century A.D. So taken were the Japanese with this flower that they adopted a single flowered chrysanthemum as the crest and official seal of the Emperor. In Japan, the Imperial Order of the Chrysanthemum is the highest Order of Chivalry. Japan also has a National Chrysanthemum Day, which is called the Festival of Happiness (9th Sept).
The chrysanthemum was first introduced into the Western world during the 17th Century. In 1753 Carl Linnaeus, renowned Swedish botanist, combined the Greek words chrysos, meaning ‘gold’ with anthos, meaning ‘flower’. In the West, it is associated with funerals and All Saints Day. In Germany, people put white chrysanthemums in their homes at Christmas, to welcome baby Jesus.
In the Language of Flowers, any coloured chrysanthemum means ‘You’re a wonderful friend’, red means ‘love’, while white means ‘truth’.
Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum morifolium or Dendranthema morifolium
Stem Length: From 30 cm to 80 cm (Mums)
Country of Origin: China
Available Colours: Cream, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow