What are some different types of mums?

There are many types of mums. There are two main kinds: hardy and non-hardy. Hardiness refers to the ability of a variety to survive in our climate conditions. Non-Hardiness refers to the type or characteristics of a variety which make it unsuitable for certain uses such as decoration, food, medicine etc..

A non-hardy variety will not grow well in our climate conditions. For example, a variety with high water needs may be unsuitable for use as a decorative flower. A variety with low water requirements may be suitable for use as a medicinal flower but not so good for culinary purposes.

The following table lists some of the most common types of mums.

Name Type of mum History Anemone Mums – These are also known as Japanese Mums. They have a short stem and a large head made up of florets with an outer ring of petals (called a corona) which is usually colorful. The flowers may be white, pink or red and they bloom in early fall and late fall. They are short but sturdy plants which are grown for ornamental purposes.

They are hybrids that were created in Japan in the 1880s and have been extensively bred ever since then. – The name ‘Anemone’ comes from the Greek word for ‘flower’ and ‘wind’, referring to the way the flowers are carried in a breeze.

Hardy Chrysanthemum These are also called Mammoth Mums. They are the oldest type of chrysanthemums. They have a shorter stem than other types and a large head of florets with an outer ring of petals (called a corona). The flowers are usually white with yellow centers.

They are the most common type of mum found in florist’s shops. They are grown for their ornamental purposes. They were first bred in China in 2500 BC. – The name ‘Chrysanthemum’ comes from the Greek words for golden flower.

Dendranthema These are also known as Painted Lady mums or Painted-Flower Mums. They have a short stem and a head of florets with an outer ring of petals which may be frilled or ruffled. The petals may be yellow, orange, red, cream or pink and the centers may be white or shaded. They may be used for ornamental purposes.

The were bred in France, England and the United States in the 19th century. – The name ‘Dendranthema’ comes from the Greek words for tooth and flower, referring to the fringed petals.

Spider Mums These are also known as spiders or spider flowers. They have a short stem with a head of florets without an outer ring of petals (called a corona). The name spider mum comes from the way the florets look like spiders, hence the name. The petals are white or yellow with red spotting.

They were bred in Scotland in 1893. – The name ‘chrysanthemum’ comes from the Greek words for yellow flower

Leatherleaf Mums These are also known as Hoop Mums. They have a short stem with a head of florets with an outer ring of petals (called a corona). The center may be white or shaded but the petals in the corona may be red, yellow, orange or purple. They were bred in Scotland in 1882.

– The name ‘chrysanthemum’ comes from the Greek words for yellow flower

Shasta Mums These are also known as Shasta Daisies. They have a short stem with a daisy-like head of petals, white or yellow, with no outer ring or corona. They were bred in England in 1907. – The name ‘Chrysanthemum’ comes from the Greek words for yellow flower

Troubleshooting Mum Diseases & Pests

The main diseases that Mums are susceptible to are as follows:

Botrytis – also known as grey mold, this affects mums when the weather is very damp and cool at the time of flowering. The flowers will turn brown and wither in severe cases.

Powdery Mildew – affects the leaves, which will develop a grayish powdery appearance, hence the name.

Both of the above are weather related so the best way to prevent them is to make sure that your mums get good air circulation and adequate spacing so that air can circulate freely around them.

A common pest is the aphid, which are small green insects that suck the nutrients from the leaves. You may see the leaves of your mum turning yellow and withering. You can treat with an insecticidal soap to get rid of them.

Harvesting Your Mums

You can start to harvest your mum plants once they have flowered, usually starting in late summer and going into fall. Cut the flowers off as close to the base of the plant as possible. You do not need to remove the dead flowers from the plant.

Another way to harvest mums is to leave them on the plant until after the first frost then cut off the entire stem, as close to the base as you can. Then cut the stems into lengths and allow to thoroughly dry out before storing.

Not all mums will last very long after cutting but some of the newer varieties have been developed for longer life, such as ‘Lasting Beauties’ that will stay in flower for up to twelve weeks. These can be treated in the same way as other mums once they have finished flowering.

Once you cut the blooms off the plant, it will continue to grow and produce more flowers so cut these as they occur.

Mum Varieties

As you can see from the list above, there are many different types of mum. Here is a little more information about some of the most popular ones.

Casablanca Mum (Common Mum) – otherwise known as ‘Common Mum’, this is the traditional type of mum with the big flamboyant daisy-like flowers in pinks, whites and reds, that we all know and love.

Nippon Mum – also known as the Thousand Flower, these have small clusters of flowers on thick stems. They are available in white and red or white and pink. There is even a gold variety.

Cannastar Mum – these have more of a peony type flower head. They come in shades of red and pink with some having a white center.

Snow mums – the name says it all with this one, they are pure white and even the leaves are a pale green. They are particularly attractive when planted alongside a path or walkway.

John Clayton Mum – these have clusters of tiny pink and white flowers on shorter stems perfect for small containers or for the front of the border.

Sparkler Mum – these have small flowers in white and shades of pink. The flower buds start off deep purple and then gradually get lighter until they turn into a reddish pink. The buds are also known as ‘Torch’ mum and the flowers are sometimes called ‘Pinwheel’ mums.

Blazing Star or Oregon Grape Mum – while not a true mum, it is often grouped with them as its botanical name is called is Symphyandrum. It has huge clusters of purple, pink and white flowers and is often used in place of the trailing types of mum as it can reach up to three feet in height.

Halloween mum – these have white flowers with a hint of pale pink and are particularly popular for planting around at this time of year.

Mum varieties come in such a wide range that you should be able to find one to suit your tastes and garden space no matter what the size. They are relatively easy to grow, hardy and produce masses of flowers that will have you cutting and bringing them into your home long before the actual mum season arrives.

If you are thinking about planting up a container or small garden area with some mums consider mixing some of the different varieties together to produce some really spectacular results. You could also think about mixing in some candy-tuft or pansies for some extra color and interest.

Sources & references used in this article:

Leafminer species causes California mum growers new problems by M Parrella, W Allen, P Morishita – California Agriculture, 1981 – calag.ucanr.edu

Meiosis and pollen germinability in small-flowered anemone type chrysanthemum cultivars by CA Charlton, WW Allen – Proceedings of IFAS-Industry Conference on Biology …, 1981

Rapid detection of genetic variability in chrysanthemum (Dendranthema grandiflora Tzvelev) using random primers by FD Chen, FT Li, SM Chen, ZY Guan… – Plant systematics and …, 2009 – Springer

Chrysanthemum genetic resources and related genera of Chrysanthemum collected in China by K Wolff, J Peters-van Rijn – Heredity, 1993 – nature.com

Some properties of chrysanthemum stunt, a virus with the characteristics of an uncoated ribonucleic acid by HE Zhao, ZH Liu, X Hu, JL Yin, W Li, GY Rao… – Genetic resources and …, 2009 – Springer

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