There are many different types of chrysanthemum (or mum) flowers, coming in different shapes, sizes and colours. Some outdoor mums are hardier than others and can survive mild winters, while others will die in the winter, regardless of how much protection they receive. Many people receive chrysanthemum flowers as gifts, which are often left inside to bloom. Unlike many other flowers, certain chrysanthemums will stay in bloom for weeks on end, keeping gardens just a little later into the fall.
Irregular Incurve Mums
Mum blooms are defined by the arrangement of the florets, both in the disk at the centre (disk florets) and toward the perimeter (ray florets). An irregular incurve chrysanthemum has ray florets that curve inward, hiding the disk florets and others that curve the other way. These mums are the largest of the mums with a diameter bigger than that of a CD. The Crimson Tide is an example of a giant blooming chrysanthemum and like many other irregular incurve chrysanthemums, it is hardy through USDA hardiness zones 5b to 8b. This includes states such as California, Texas, Alabama and Virginia.
Regular Incurve Mums
Regular incurve mums, such as the Ajina purple or the Snowball, are very similar to irregular incurve blooms but all of the ray florets curve inward to create a bloom that is spherical in shape. Regular incurve mums are usually smaller than irregular incurve mums. As with all chrysanthemums, regular incurve chrysanthemums come in many colours. These types generally thrive best in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through to 9.
Spoon and Daisy Mums
The disk on a spoon chrysanthemum usually has one to two layers of florets that shoot off from the disk, perpendicular to the stem. The florets are long and thin in shape, spreading out at the tips into a spoon or spatula shape. Spoon mums are grouped with and often mistaken for daisy mums. They both have similar ray florets, but daisy mums have a tapered end and the disk florets in both chrysanthemum blooms are exposed. These mums, like many other varieties, originated from Japan or China and now do very well in the United States in USDA zones 5 through to 9.
Quill and Spider Mums
These types of chrysanthemums are quite elaborate in their bloom. Both the quill mum and the spider mum have disk florets that are hidden and both have very long, thin ray florets that hang down around and below the disk. The ray florets on the quill mum are tube like that open up at the end. Spider mums have long tubular ray florets as well, but these end in hooks or barbs. Some types of spider mums include Yellow Rayonnante, Magdelena and Pietro, which thrive in hardiness zones 4a through 8b. Quill mums, like the Yellow Quill plant, can range from zones 3 through to 9.
Reflex mums are another type of bloom that likes to put on a show. The disk florets are hidden from smaller ray florets that curve inward to cover them, while longer ray florets curve out and down often overlapping to resemble a mop or a bird's plumage. The purple chrysanthemum blooms in many different ways. More commonly with irregular or reflex florets but sometimes with spider or daisy blooms. These mums prefer USDA hardiness zones 3 through 9.