Chrysanthemums, or mums—their endearing nickname—are not merely a favorite fall flower, but a faithful friend in the garden. Let the 5 following reasons convince you to be mesmerized by mums and plant a few in your garden this fall.
#1 Mums Declare Fall Fun!
Mums are a flower-lover’s way of saying, “Celebrate Fall!” Complementing the autumn colors of changing leaves, gourds and squashes, and pumpkin-spiced lattes, chrysanthemums bloom in the warm, fruity hues of yellows, oranges, rusts, and reds. Mums have become synonymous with merriment, a festive flower for garden and table.
Plant several of the small, roundish, budded bushes around the front door, or in an entry way container to help greet guests with seasonal fun and flourish. A few potted in a centerpiece on the dining room table will connect indoors to out, bringing flower and foliage to family feasts, as the tradition from ancient Israel established:
Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.
Leviticus 23:40 NASB
Granted, mums are not a literal adherence to the botanical species lifted up in fall’s Feast of Tabernacles. Instead, they are a more general embrace of the decoration celebrating the Israelites’ autumn festival, which honors the Lord for an abundant harvest.
#2 Mums Enchant with a Pleasing Scent
Mums have a distinct aroma, an enchanting scent that hints to their daisy family ties, yet spreads a spicy fragrance all their own. Working the soil to cultivate chrysanthemums yields a certain scent-dimension simply missing from your garden until you smell for yourself.
“Awake, O north wind, And come, wind of the south; Make my garden breathe out fragrance, let its spices be wafted abroad. May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits!”
Song of Songs 4:16 NASB
Scent is an important, pleasing aspect of gardening, part of the refreshment found in a few moments outside, close to the earth. Planting Chrysanthemums in your garden will enhance this experience.
#3 Mums are Faithful to Return
Though mums’ showy flowers announce autumn, they are faithful garden plants all year, a hardy addition to pots or green spaces from northeast to southwest (Zones 5-9). Buy them now, as growers and florists rarely bring them to market the rest of the year. Enjoy their upright, fuss-free display this fall; then watch for their faithful return next spring and summer as graceful, spreading groundcover. These mums have grown in my garden for nearly 15 years!
The Lord is good! There is no end to his faithful love. We can trust him forever and ever!
Psalm 100:5 ERV
After the flowers fade this season, plants will take a humble turn, their blooms turning dry, their leaves retreating. Trim off dead buds and foliage and protect with mulch through the winter. Soon enough, you will see new growth at the plants’ base; their enduring, scented, deep green leaves will return to fill the background to spring’s display and summer’s yield.
#4 Mums Teach Great Expectancy
Mums stand with some of the flower greats—tulips, peonies, and camellias come to mind—that make us giddy with anticipation. Their tightly clasped buds form weeks and weeks before they actually burst into bloom; the eagerness bordering on frenzy that they create in anticipating their flower-opening is a garden adventure you will come to cherish. It’s the type of expectancy the Lord cultivates in us, eagerly awaiting His next move.
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?”
Romans 8:15 The Message
Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale.
1 Corinthians 1:7-9 The Message
Mums are a great garden reminder of the great expectancy formed in a God-following life.
#5 Mums are Bible Plant Relatives
Bible plant enthusiasts enjoy adding plants from the Holy Land to their own land, a surprisingly compelling pursuit once begun (speaking from experience!). While the chrysanthemums commonly grown and sold in the U. S. today are likely cultivars of Chrysanthemum X morifolium, the crown daisy, Chrysanthemum coronarium is native to the Mediterranean, and several Bible plant scholars consider this plant a possible “flower of the field.”
Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field.
James 1:9-10 NRSV
Crown daisies bloom vivid yellow, with a tufted center and flat petals, in more typical daisy-style than most garden mum forms. Nevertheless, the single-season flowering associated with mums aligns with the reminder in God’s Word of the fleeting nature of flowers.
Additionally, a cost saving tip! To fill your garden with mums without emptying your wallet, find plants marked down in price at the end of the season, once their flowers have faded—at the nursery or even the grocery store. You will have missed the “fleeting flowers;” however, these perennials will be hardy in your garden for years. Follow the tips in #3 above and in the following articles to get the most from these faithful garden friends.
Plant Chrysanthemums – More Garden Advice
For more detailed information on planting mums, the following articles have helpful advice:
Today’s Homeowner on Growing Chrysanthemums
Better Homes & Gardens Plant Dictionary – Chrysanthemum
Gardener’s Path – How to Grow Chrysanthemums
Many thanks to my mom for our recent chat about the faithful mums in our gardens—mine in Texas, hers in the Pacific northwest—that inspired me to write in praise of planting chrysanthemums!
Happy Autumn Gardening!!
©2016 Shelley S. Cramm
Edelsa V Hernandez
Thank you for writing this lovely article about mums, and about the Lord. I truly enjoyed it and have learned a little more about them. ❤️