With a history that dates back to 15th century B.C., chrysanthemum mythology is filled with a multitude of stories and symbolism.
Daisy-like with a typically yellow center and a decorative pompon, chrysanthemums symbolize optimism and joy. They’re the November birth flower, the official flower of the city of Chicago and the 13th wedding anniversary flower
Eastern cultures regard the chrysanthemum as a celebration of life. In Japan, chrysanthemums symbolize long life and happiness and bear the honor of being The Emperor’s Symbol. There is even a national holiday celebrating this sacred flower. In China, this happy flower joins the plum, orchid, and bamboo as one of “The Four Gentlemen” and signifies longevity and a quiet life.
There are over thirty varieties of chrysanthemums, mostly in autumnal tones of red, yellow, and russet, but also in white. One of the most popular varieties is the “hardy mum”, called so because it blooms in the last dark days before winter, as harvests come to an end and winter creeps in.
Chrysanthemums flourish well both indoors as well as out, and if propagated properly, can yield a high number of plants in a short time. Chrysanthemums require bright light but cannot tolerate direct sunlight. An area near a sunny window out of the direct rays of the sun provides optimum lighting. The mums tolerate indoor temperatures, but the flowers survive longest with a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees during the day and 10 degrees cooler during the night. The cooler night temperatures allow the plant to rest and extend the blossom life.
Garden mums burst forth in brilliant fall hues when other perennials are fading fast. Combine them with pansies, ornamental cabbages and kale for a gorgeous fall display that will last well into early winter.
Some Interesting Facts about Chrysanthemums
- Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as a flowering herb.
- Chrysanthemums, often called mums, are native to Asia and northeastern Europe.
- Yellow or white chrysanthemum flowers are boiled to make a sweet drink in some parts of Asia.
- Chrysanthemum leaves are steamed or boiled & used as greens, especially in Chinese cuisine.
- Chrysanthemum plants have been shown to reduce indoor air pollution by the NASA Clean Air Study.
Beautifully bundled together chrysanthemums make for lovely gifts no matter what the occasion. Send a bouquet to your loved one to express how much you value them. If you find yourself feeling blue because the days are growing shorter, bring a pot of bright chrysanthemums into the house. It will elevate your spirit and serve as the focus of your daily meditation.
Chrysanthemums in general are regarded as floral beacon of life as the days darken towards winter. This is the time to enjoy the brightness of the holidays and enjoy the blessings of joyful times.