Judging from what I see around here (stiff little balls of one variety, either in pots or stuck randomly into the ground, all turning brown), I don’t regret one negative word or thought I’ve had about mums—as they are commonly used.
But, and it’s a big but, I spent some time at the Botanical Gardens today and I did see some lovely mums. This was one of the first shows the Gardens put together after opening in 1901, and they’ve had it ever since. They’re still mums—most still have the stiff habit that make florist and gift mums so difficult to display at home—but these are more exotic varieties. The shaggy heads have a lot of personality, as you can see above.
I thought they were most successful when placed with tropicals or as part of other displays (above); by themselves (below), the tall ones don’t fare so well.
I think most of what they had were curved, incurved, spider, quill, and intermediate types, combined with shorter, anemone-flowering ones. One attractive, relaxed variety was sprawling over a rock in the fern area.
The classifications aren’t nearly as interesting or wide-ranging as tulips, for example, but they’re a lot more confusing. (Even Botanica lists some plants in the chrysanthemum area, but in quotes. If they’re uncertain, then I don’t have a clue.) The gardeners here start these from cuttings in March, pinching back twice and occasionally using extra light to encourage foliage growth.
Fun fact: The red circle on the Japanese flag is meant to be a stylized mum image, NOT the sun. I did not know that.