Harvest flowers when at least 50% of the flowers are completely open. Harvesting too immature generally results in diseased buds. Postharvest flower life was the same regardless of the relative humidity the plants were exposed to (70-93%) during production. However, plants grown under high relative humidity (90-95%) produced more dry weight than when grown under lower humidity (55-60%). Application of a proper growing media wetting agent just prior to harvest and sale can delay postharvest wilting time by about 3-4 days. Application of the growth retardant B-Nine at 2500 ppm 2 weeks after the initiation of short days can increase postharvest flower life. If growing media temperatures reach 104F or higher (which can happen if sunlight reaches dark colored pots), the plants can be predisposed to severe Phytophthora infection.
Member of the Asteraceae or Compositae (aster or sunflower) family.
Native to China.
Common relatives include lettuce, endive, cosmos, dahlia, calendula, zinnia and strawflower.
Composite heads of ray and disk flowers in numerous forms and sizes at ends of branches.
Stems leafy, usually branched or pinched to form single or multiple flowered stems.
Plant is a semi-woody perennial, classed as a dicotyledon, leaves not parallel veined.
Flower fragrance is essentially zero or slightly vegetative in nature.
They can be stored at 45-55F (5 days or less) or 32-34 F (if over 5 days).
From Greek “dendron” (tree) and “anthemon” (flower). Chrysanthemum is from Greek “chryos” (golden) and “anthos” (flower). Many flower forms exis: standards have one flower per stem, spray mums are branched with several flowers per stem. Some form classes are daisy, spider (Fuji), quill, football, pompon, cushion, button and spoon. The “X” in the botanical name means that it is a hybrid between at least two different species. The specific epithet name of its second name grandiflorum means large flowers.
Mums have been cultivated in China for 2000 years, infusions of the leaves and flowers were used as medicine and fermented into wine. The dew collected from the flowers was said to promote longevity.
The mum was introduced to Japan in 400 AD and became the emblem of the imperial family. Name was recently changed back to the more common Chrysanthemum x morifolium. It is a short day plant meaning that it will only flower when the days are short and the night long. That is why it naturally only flowers in the fall. At other times of the year the light/dark periods of the day have to be controlled by growers to promote flowering.
Will generally do well in light levels at least bright enough to read a newspaper in comfort but more light to full sunlight would be better. Mums reached Europe in the late 18th century, where the Chusan daisy became known as the pompon chrysanthemum because it resembled tassels on French sailors’ hats. In Italy, mums are associated only with funerals and death.
Appearance of pink/red coloration on petals for cultivars not of this color indicates old flowers and/or flowers grown too cold. The Compositae or aster family is vast, with over 20,000 species, and is also one of the most developed families. It was named Compositae because the flowers are actually a “composite” of many individual flowers into one head. Hence, when children pull one “petal” off at a time, saying “she/he loves me, loves me not”, they are actually removing a complete flower, not just a petal. According to Creasy (1999), fresh petals are edible. Can be used in salads and teas or sprinkled over clear soups.
Recent Research Findings:
Roude et al. (1991) noted that high levels of ammonium fertilization during production caused increased abscisic acid and decreased cytokinin levels resulting in decreased flower life after harvest. As summarized by Brown (1988) of the work by Wolverton et al. (numerous years), this is one of many foliage and flowering plant species that can remove air pollutants such as formaldehyde and/or benzene often found in cigarette smoke from interior environments. Wohlgenant et al. (2001) showed that a 10% increase in the retail price of a potted mum would cause an approximate 7.6% decrease in sales. Rajapakse et al. (1988) showed that under low light intensities generally encountered under interior conditions, the majority of the transpirational water loss was not through stomata but directly through the leaf surface. Hence, anti-transpirants that work by controlling stomata opening will not work with this species. Compared to African violets, azaleas, dracaenas and philodendrons, McClary and Layne (1977) showed that the surface of chrysanthemums harbored more bacteria species and higher populations.
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