Never ask a plant addict how many varieties of a crop they have. You wouldn't get an accurate answer anyway - I have no idea how many mums we have tucked around the farm these days.
After years of scouting, sourcing, and trading, I’ve amassed quite the collection of heirloom chrysanthemums. While there are varieties that have been moved out of production and into the surrounding gardens for general enjoyment, there are plenty of labeled crates of lovingly monitored mother mums. Mums that we like growing for bouquets and bulk boxes are grown in our high tunnel structures to help better control the environment.
In my last blog post, I talked about the amazing mum trial I had the privilege of hosting on the farm from Ball Horticulture. These were new mum varieties that are licensed and tested in our tunnels for cut flower production. While these mums cannot be propagated (the plant police are the real deal!), they are totally worth the investment for the cut season and enjoying the landscape beyond. We grew 35 different mums to trial against our standards and the results were stunning. We had so many good ones that I couldn't just pick our top five, so I picked our top six!
Presidio Deep Pink
With a nice 20-inch stem length and 4 blooms per stem spray, this workhorse bloomer packed a real punch in our bouquets this year. She also has the right vintage, washed-out look at maturity to work well for fall weddings. We loved having this variety, and the sturdy blooms and lengthy vase life of 10-14 days mean you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Everyone needs a weird flower in the mix and this is our gal. Green Valley has a light green hue to her otherwise cream blooms. The unique, spider-like petals provide lots of novel interest and are less fragile than they appear. Stem length was recorded at 18 inches with 7 blooms per stem.
This one has a royal color with deep saturation - think jewel tones! She’s perfect for a traditional fall color palette but delivers a little extra pizazz. Stem length was 20 inches and there were 4 blooms per stem.
Fire Island Red Bicolor
Yes, it’s a simple daisy-style bloom, however, this one is magic. This amazing flower may not impress with its shape, but its color will leave your jaw dropped. The color changes from an electric pinky orange to a faded orange with pink undertones. It was the top favorite among our crew and intrigues all ages! With an 18-inch stem length and 6 blooms per stem, she was a treasure in every bouquet she starred in.
A soft purple spider-style mum that is striking in form and color. With a lighter color than typically seen in late-season blooms, this showy flower will work well in wedding designs and less traditional color designs. Stem length was 17 inches with 5 blooms per stem, which is impressive considering bloom size.
There’s always room for a classic white and this one is pretty awesome at its job. With billowy blooms loaded with curved petals, this is a more traditional football-style mum. The beautiful, soft color held well even at marginal temps, which was impressive since white is usually the first and worst affected. Even better is the production, clocking in at 21 inches and a wild 8 blooms per stem.
Those were the top six from our trial crop and we can't wait to offer them to you so you can grow this awesome collection along with us. They are such a fun way to increase the mum bounty in your garden!