I’m not sure about anywhere else, but in Australia Chrysanthemums are Mother’s day Flower (Mother’s day in Australia in the 2nd Sunday of May). My husband and son always give me potted Chrysanthemum flowers for Mother’s Day. I prefer the living chrysanthemums. This way I can stick them somewhere in the garden when they have finished flowering. I have a patch chrysanthemums plants that always flower every year.
Traditionally, white chrysanthemums are used for Mother’s Day presents. But for me I love the colourful ones. I’m not sure why they use chrysanthemums as Mother’s Day flowers, but I think because Mother’s Day is in May and during this month Chrysanthemums are in season, they are abundant and cheap. Maybe it is also because Chrysanthemums are long last thing flowers both in the garden and in flower arrangements.
The botanic name is Dendranthema x grandiflora. There are about 40 species of chrysanthemums, mostly are from China, Japan and East Asia. Some are single petals, some double and the rare ones are so exotic and large they resemble a pompom, and some are spider shaped. To day many hybrids have been produced with magnificent brilliant shades of red, pink, salmon, yellow, orange, bronze and green. The sheer beauty and versatility of these flowers are the reason why the Chinese people have been growing them for 2,500 year. Chrysanthemums are also known as the national flower of Japan.
The easiest and cheap way is to buy Chrysanthemums in pot and make sure when you buy them they have roots. You can check underneath the pot to see of there are some roots poking out through the drainage holes.
When the potted chrysanthemum has finish flowering, pick a sunny spot in the garden with reasonably rich and well drain soil. The best is you add compost into the soil. Take the plant out of the pot and plunge it into a hole that is slightly larger than the size of the pot. Cover it with soil and add more compost on the top. It will die down, but if alive, it will promise you more flowers each year when they are in season. They are hardy, even during the draught. What they need when they started to grow is a little bit of complete fertilizer. If you prefer short compact bush, then pinch the top when they start to grow leaves in December (in Australia). After few years, you can dig up the plants and divide them. They are very easy to grow and practically disease free.
- Flower arrangement: long lasting and provide many different sizes, shapes and colour. Today, the flowers are available all year around as they are hybridized and cultivated in green houses. Naturally they flower in late summer through autumn.
- Chrysanthemum tea. It is made from the species called Chrysanthemum morifolium or indicum. It is a popular beverage in East Asia. The tea is available in dry form or in powder. The dried flowers are brewed in a teapot or in a cup with a bit of rock sugar, normal sugar or honey. The hot water is perfect around 90 degrees C or slightly cooled after boiling. It is believed that Chrysanthemum tea has a cooling effect in a hot day.
- Medicinal purposes: It helps to relieve symptoms of influenza. Also used for sore throat and to reduce fever. Some believe the tea is good for alertness to keep you from falling asleep. In western herbal medicine it is used to treat circulatory disorders like varicose veins and atherosclerosis. The tea is also good to keep healthy eyes with sharp vision and treat dry eyes.
- Natural Insect Repellent: White Chrysanthemum Tanacetum cinerarriaefolium flowers produce a natural insecticide called pyrethrum. It provides safe fast acting insecticide to kill most insect pests. Non toxic to human and warm blooded animals and easy to break down in sunlight to prevent build up in environment.
Note: It has been very dry here in Melbourne this summer, so I’m not really confident that the chrysanthemums in my garden will have good flowers this year, and currently we are under 3A water restrictions here. There was a good rain last night after almost 3 months without any rain. Hopefully there will be much more rains so that they will bear reaonably good flowers this year.