In the fall garden, chrysanthemums are the showstoppers, blooming prolifically well after other garden plants have called it quits for the season

Native to China and prized for over 2,000 years, the name “chrysanthemum” comes from the Greek words for gold (chrysos) and flower (anthos) and is often affectionately shortened to “mum.”

Research into chrysanthemums will lead to some confusion as you encounter two botanical names: Chrysanthemum sp. and Dendrathema sp.

The plants were originally named and placed in the genus Chrysanthemum in the 1700s. Then, in the 1990s, they were moved to the genus of Dendrathema because of the sheer number of varieties being developed.

Varieties of Chrysanthemums There are literally hundreds of types of chrysanthemums – with variations in height, spread, color, size of flower, bloom time, and type of bloom.

Decorative: Large with many rows of petals, often with petals curling toward the center Cushion: Aptly named for its medium-sized, cushion-shaped blossom

Anemone: Cushion-shaped, but with the center covered by shorter petals of a darker color Pompon: Small, firm globe of tight petals (tiny ones are called “buttons”)

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