The Mum Project

Certainly our largest project to date.

The Mum project is our groundbreaking initiative aimed at revitalizing American agriculture through the world of heirloom chrysanthemum production.

This collaborative endeavor brings together passionate growers, visionary designers, avid gardeners, and devoted flower advocates, all united in a shared pursuit of creating a transformative positive change in agriculture. 

The Problem 

The United States cut flower industry is valued at a staggering $9 billion, with 80% of its demand being met through imported flowers. Shockingly, not a single variety of cut flowers is exported from American soil. In a $32 billion global cut flower market (2022), projected to reach $50 billion by 2030, the lack of American exports is a missed economic opportunity.

The Solution

The Mum Project focuses on heirloom chrysanthemum production as a solution to bolster the US economy and domestic agriculture. While the “big three” cut flowers (roses, chrysanthemums, and carnations) are predominantly grown in other countries, heirloom chrysanthemums offer a unique opportunity. These versatile plants can be grown in all 50 states, have an exceptional shelf life and shipping durability, and can extend the revenue-generating window for season flower farmers by two or three months. 

The Opportunity

The historical significance of cut mums in the US cannot be overlooked. In the 1960s and 1970s, major grow houses shifted their focus to pot mum genetics, leading to a decline in cut mum cultivation. However, the return of the heirloom chrysanthemums presents a chance to reinvigorate this tradition. Our project aims to bring back these heirloom varieties and position chrysanthemums as a potential first US floral export. 

Market Potential

With the growth of US flower farming, there’s a unique opportunity to reshape the industry. Flower farming is the fastest-growing sector of US agriculture, attracting a diverse range of individuals and providing a profitable entry point, especially for the younger generation, who doesn’t have access to large plots of farmland like previous generations could afford. Flower farming is the most profitable agriculture crop by square foot, therefore, farmers are not required to have large lots of land to be successful. By tapping into the demand for locally-grown, high-quality flowers, The Mum Project aligns with the changing landscape of agriculture.

Collaboration, Innovation, and The Mum Trial 

Our project operates in collaboration with established suppliers like Ball Horticulture, which is exploring new pot mum varieties for the cut flower market. However, our emphasis on heirloom chrysanthemums differentiates us. As more domestic producers (flower farmers) enter the market to fill US demand for chrysanthemums, US floriculture can flourish, and in time, provide the US with a signature cut flower export. 

In an effort to engage farmers nationwide and provide an incubator for chrysanthemum producers, we have partnered with growers across the country to participate in our Mum Trial Program. This program allows growers to share knowledge, challenges, and successes of growing mums while collecting consistent growing data across various growing zones. In its first year, the Mum Trial program received nearly 100 applicants, of which 10 were chosen all in unique growing climates. 

Goals and Vision

American farming is in crisis. Exportation tariffs have put a lot of smaller farmers out of business, leaving only the bigger farms capable of affording the cost of exporting.  The Mum Project envisions a revitalized American agriculture sector where heirloom chrysanthemums thrive, local flower farmers flourish, and the US becomes a prominent player in the global floral export market. By combining expertise, passion, and innovation, we strive to bring back the cultural and economic significance of cut mums and contribute to a sustainable, diversified agricultural future. 

How you can help

There are many ways that you can support The Mum Project. Our immediate goal is to save and make long-lost varieties of heirloom mums accessible to farmers across the US. With one of the “big three” cut flowers being chrysanthemums, we can reclaim mums for American farmers. While there is a long road ahead of us, the first step is to help meet the domestic demands for flowers, to decrease the percentage of flowers that are being imported. We have absorbed the initial investment of the 300+ varieties, but the ongoing stewardship of the plants, genetic testing, and industry advocacy requires your support. To learn more about the Mum Project Sponsorship, click here to download our Sponsorship Packet.

If you are a fellow flower farmer, you can help by growing heirloom chrysanthemums with us. Each year, we launch a mum sale.

If you are a person local to our area, and would like to contribute your time to our project, here is a link to the email volunteer sign-up.

By nurturing collaborations, supporting local flower farmers, and embracing innovation, we can establish a thriving industry that not only cultivates beautiful blooms but also transforms the landscape of American agriculture. Together, we can bring the United States back into the global floral market, through heirloom chrysanthemums.

Want to get involved in the mum project? Here are three easy ways!