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The Beautiful, Edible and Historic Chrysanthemum

Often called the “last smile of the season” mums have a long history, are included in holiday celebrations, used in preparing meals and beverages, added to bouquets and of course grown in our landscapes.

It’s believed that the florist mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium) was first brought into garden cultivation in China more than three thousand years ago. The original plants were just simple yellow daisies. But Chinese breeders developed hundreds of new cultivars.

The Japanese started growing the chrysanthemum in 386 A.D. and also developed many new varieties and an appreciation for this floral beauty.

The yellow and white flowers of this species are boiled to make a sweet drink and the leaves are steamed or boiled and used as greens in parts of Asia.

The diversity of flower shapes and colors makes this a good choice for the garden or garden bouquet.

A bit more information: Grow mums in full sun and moist well-drained soil. Most Chrysanthemum morifoliums are hardy in zones 5 to 9. Select cultivars sold as hardy or garden mums for earlier fall bloom. The University of Minnesota has introduced quite a few new cultivars hardy in zones 3 and 4.

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