General gardening topics

What are the different types of chrysanthemums?

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There are several ways to look at how to group chrysanthemums (aka mums) together. The UK National Chrysanthemum Society lists many categories of these flowers in which you can display your prized blooms in shows. We, however, have put together a selection of types of chrysanthemum that make sense to regular and enthusiastic chrysanthemum growers in their gardens. We look at early vs late-blooming plants, annual vs perennial mums, categories of colours and full size vs dwarf varieties.

Are you exhibiting your chrysanthemums?

Chrysanthemums for the exhibitions are broken down into types by colour, type (shape and petal arrangement), bloom size (small, medium or large) and flowering time (early, mid or late). If you come across this classification for any mum plant, you can tell what it’s going to develop into. The UK National Chrysanthemum Society has a full explanation of this system.

What’s the difference between hardy and florist mums?

Hardy mums are also known as garden mums. These are the types to look for if you plan to plant them outdoors. These bushes are hardy in the mild zones in the UK but will thrive in sheltered positions even further north.

Florist mums, in contrast, are intended to look good inside your home – they survive outdoors only in the very mildest climate and usually only in pots. These are the Chrysanthemums that you buy from the florist and the supermarket rather than the garden centre.

Look for the hardy or half-hardy mums.

Read next: When do chrysanthemums flower?

Which mums bloom early and which bloom late?

Autumn season flower chrysanthemums

Mums can bloom anywhere from late summer to late autumn – that’s from September to early November. Officially, early plants flower in September, mid-season plants in October and late bloomers come into their own in November and are usually sold to give some autumn colour.

But as always with any form of horticulture, the dates depend on your own particular micro-climate in those seasons, the condition of your soil and your care for the plants. If you have a first-year chrysanthemum, the time you planted it – spring or fall – also affects when the blooms appear.

Check when the blooming period of the chrysanthemum is to see when you’ll get the flowers, and plant it as early as possible.

Are chrysanthemums annuals or perennials?

chrysanthemums with good root system which is annual

In general, chrysanthemum are considered to be annual plants rather than reappearing every year as perennials. There are some hybrids of chrysanthemum crossed with other plants that are marketed as perennial chrysanthemums, and some very hardy annuals are also thought of as being perennials. In addition, our article, Are chrysanthemums perennials or annuals? – How to decide, gives instructions on how to care for your mums so that, instead of being annuals, they come back every year.

Look for mums marked as hardy or perennial if you want to over-winter them until next spring. Treat everything else as an annual plant.

Learn more about Chrysanthemums

What colours do chrysanthemums come in?

different chrysanthemum

Back to the National Chrysanthemum Society’s classification system. They identify six main colour categories for mums: pink, red, purple, yellow, bronze and salmon. Each of these colours can also be a light or a dark shade. Other colour groups are white, cream and a category for anything else. That’s 21 official categories of colours for these plants.

However, not everyone uses these colour categories, so you may find different colours described with the plants in your local garden centre. In particular, green chrysanthemums (such as Green Mist and Green Star) fall just into the “other colours” category and unfortunately tend to get lost in the rest of the unusual colours there.

What size do chrysanthemums grow to?

large garden chrysanthemum in flower

Different types of chrysanthemums grow to different heights. Most mums grow to around 60cm tall while ‘dwarf’ plants are around 30cm tall and are great for pots or flower beds. In addition, often called “Giant” or “Tall” can grow to around 90cm in height.

Consider also how wide your mum bush may spread. This does depend on how you prune the plant to keep it tidy. However, there’s a difference in widths between plants that have single flowers on a branch and those which produce a mound of flowers.

Florist mums are usually compact bushy plants that produce a small dome of flowers; these are the ones that you put outside in pots in the fall. Garden or hardy mums produce a sturdy root system that can support a taller or wider plant.

What flower shapes can chrysanthemums have?

The National Chrysanthemum Society classification system has a useful explanation of all the terms for different flower shapes that you may see on the information tag for your mum. For example, decorative petals are short with a flattened look while pompoms are tight globe-shaped blooms of various sizes; quill flowers are tubular straight florets, 15cm or more long, and have no visible centre.

Review the many mum flower shapes for your favourite, or take a chance and just purchase a chrysanthemum without knowing how it blooms.

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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