Ever heard of Dendranthemas?  Me, neither.  They used to be one of the types of Chrysanthemums but that genus was split in 1961 and now we have this new term for them.  Other terms include “perennial chrysanthemums” and “garden mums,” as opposed to what are sometimes called “florist mums.”

I became interested in this new name and the plants behind them after discovering them in the Behnkes Perennial Department the other day.  From the photos on the signs, they resemble daisies and indeed daisies used to be in the same genus before the “splitters” of  the hort nomenclature world got hold of them and declared them something else.  (They like to keep us on our toes.)  Other dendranthemas have double flowers and that look exactly like the mums we’re used to seeing this time of year.

All of these tough perennials are deer-resistant, great for cutting, and bloom from early fall until frost on 3′ tall bushes.  The plant can be made shorter and bushier by cutting them back half-way or even sheared to the ground (advice varies) in early summer – before July 4.  They can also be kept at their best – and shared with friends – by dividing them every three years or so.

They’re on sale - 1/2 off – and there’s a nice choice:

- Clara Curtis, a favorite of horticulturist Carol Allen, has single blooms in a salmony pink.

- Cambodian Queen has single pink blooms, sh own below left.

- Brandywine Sunset has single peach-colored blooms.

- Mei-kyo has double lavender blooms.

- Venus has single pale pink blooms.

- Yellow Sheffield has single yellow with pink overtone.

About those “Florist Mums”
But how about the common mums we see everywhere in the fall, the ones that are so often tossed, grown only as annuals?  I asked Carol Allen about them and she swears that they come back every year for her, so come to find out, they’re perennial, too.  In subsequent years they won’t be quite as short and full as they are when you buy them because they were carefully raised to look that way, but if you cut them back once or even twice before that July 4 date, they’ll do very well in your perennial garden.

Just a few of the color choices available right now.

Posted by  Susan Harris.

Filed under: AnnualsPerennials