Chrysanthemums, often shortened to "mums," grow in a wide variety of colours and sizes. Mums were cultivated in China as a flowering herb as early as the 15th century BC, and, as of 2011, the flowers are grown around the world by professional and amateur gardeners. So many chrysanthemum varieties are available, gardeners may find the right colour, size and cold-hardiness for their particular needs.
Mums should be planted in mid-spring, once frost no longer poses a danger to the tender young flowers. Chrysanthemums are easy to grow, and will thrive in many soil types as long as they have adequate drainage. Plant the flowers in full to partial sunlight, and add 2 to 4 inches of peat moss or compost to the soil prior to planting. Place each mum at least 18 inches apart to provide ample room for roots between flowers. Different varieties of chrysanthemums will produce blooms in different colours, shapes and sizes.
Choose chrysanthemum varieties by colours if you want to create a perfect garden palette. Nicole, encore, illusion and Tolima mum varieties all grow in shades of white. Choose Donna, Jessica, goldmine or target to grow yellow chrysanthemums. Naomi, debonair, stardom and sundoro all grow in shades of pink. To grow red mums, look for bravo, remarkable and minngopher varieties. Mid-season bloomer autumn fire, classified as a tall chrysanthemum at 3 1/2 feet, grows with deep orange flowers. Tall burnt copper mums, which grow in a vivid orange colour, also bloom midseason (early to midsummer). Snowscape mum flowers are white with bright purple tips, blooming early in the season in spring. Royal pomp mum blossoms are bright purple all over and give off a spicy aroma.
Grow chrysanthemum varieties by shape to design a unique garden layout. Plant bonsai mums that may be trained to resemble small, flowering tress or even a more unexpected shape -- a person or a piece of furniture, for instance. Cascading chrysanthemum varieties will grow with long, draping blooms and may be trained to follow certain lines or shapes.
National Botanic Varieties
The National Botanic Research Institute has created its own varieties of chrysanthemums to achieve specific size, colour and shape combinations. The NRBI Indiana grows with a multi-petalled pom-pom flower that blooms in shades of yellow. The Indiana blooms in late November, and was grown from a cross of orange little darling mums with yellow nanako mums. The NBRI Kusum was made for container growth and also grows yellow flowers in late November. NBRI mini Jessies are miniature chrysanthemums that grow with very little care, blooming in early December. The mini Jessie was produced from a cross of pink cameo mums and purple Jessie mums.