The chrysanthemum is a flower commonly associated with the fall season. It is often used as a decoration for autumn displays because of its long history of symbolism. Chrysanthemums have been around for centuries, and their meaning has been passed down through generations.
Chrysanthemums originate from Asia and get their name from Greek prefixes meaning ‘gold’ (chrysos) and ‘flower’ (anthemon). It’s thought that Swedish botanist, Carl Linnaeus, named the plant.
The chrysanthemum initially flowered in shades of yellow and gold but has since been bred to bloom in a spectrum of colours including white, purple pink and red. A part of the Asteraceae family which contains other daisy species, the chrysanthemum is one of the most commonly cultivated flowers.
Chrysanthemum Meanings and Symbolism
Chrysanthemums of different colours can represent different things: red for true love, white for innocence and honesty, and yellow for a wounded heart or neglected love.
For some Europeans, the chrysanthemum is a custom of conveying sadness and a representation of passing away and mourning.
The chrysanthemum holds a different meaning for Chinese and Japanese cultures. It is seen as a sign of youth and is linked with stories of people living longer, healthier lives. In some folklore, it is believed that adding a chrysanthemum petal to wine will also promote longevity.
In Chinese tradition, it is believed that the flower prevents gray hair.
The History of The Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemums have been beloved in China for centuries, with a history dating back to 15th century B.C. Initially grown as a flowering herb used in salads and teas, this special flower also holds significant meaning in Chinese art as one of the Four Gentlemen representing the four seasons - along with plum blossoms, orchids, and bamboo.
The chrysanthemum is a cherished symbol in Japanese culture, representing happiness, nobility, and strength. Each year on September 9th, Japan celebrates this important flower with the Festival of Happiness.
There are several ways that mums can be grown - from seed, cutting or division. Easy to cultivate as a perennial it is best to plant in early spring once the risk of frost has gone. They can technically be planted at any time but would need around 6 weeks for the roots to take hold before subjecting it to hot weather or cold temperatures. The plant will grow during spring and summer until flowers appear come autumn.