In the language of flowers, the chrysanthemum symbolises devoted love, loyalty, happiness, and longevity.
Also known as the mum, the chrysanthemum is one of the most popular cut flowers used for bouquets today, and is also a common bedding plant used in landscaping. The name Chrysanthemum comes from the Greek words Chrysos, meaning gold, and Anthemon, meaning flower, which were combined to reflect its beauty and value. This translation extends to the Chinese and Japanese translations which literally mean gold flower or blossom as well. The symbolic meaning of the Chrysanthemum can differ depending on the colour, the type of bloom, and the local culture.
In Victorian times, the yellow(gold) chrysanthemums symbolised sorrow and neglected love, quite contradictory to their bright, cheerful colouring. However nowadays this isn’t the case, especially in the United States where yellow flowers are believed to represent happiness, joy, celebration, and high spirits.
The white chrysanthemum can symbolise sympathy and remembrance, as white often conveys sentiments of condolences. However, it also epitomises purity, innocence, spirituality, loyalty, and honesty.
The colour red traditionally symbolises romantic love, strong feelings, and deep passion; needless to say, red chrysanthemums carry these same sentiments.
In Japan, pink chrysanthemums specifically are well loved because they symbolise the emperor and the Imperial family. They also represent longevity. The colour pink is usually associated with carrying feelings of gentle affection, attraction, and romance, making them a great choice for a first date or a new love.
Violet chrysanthemums convey well wishes to the receiver. Green chrysanthemums carry a host of positive meanings such as rebirth, renewal, good fortune, good health, and youthfulness.
Lastly, orange chrysanthemums symbolise brimming, bubbly feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and passion.
A few fun facts about the Chrysanthemum:
- The chrysanthemum was primarily used as a culinary herb in China back in the 15th Century B.C.
- The chrysanthemum is the crest and official seal of the Emperor in Japan
- Many European countries believed the flower symbolised death
- The chrysanthemum can symbolise rebirth or a period of personal growth, renewal, and tranquillity
- More than 20,000 different chrysanthemum varieties exist
The chrysanthemum is a part of the daisy family
As a perennial flower, they have soft stems, pointed leaves, and generous flower heads ranging in shape from round pom-poms to flat discs. The petals vary from needle-like to spidery or flat, sometimes even curled. They blossom in almost every colour including combinations of colours you can’t imagine.
The flower has many uses such as being a natural insecticide. If they’re planted in your garden, they should ward off pesky bugs and insects. They are also thought to have potential medicinal uses. In natural medicine, the roots can be boiled to treat headaches and also they are claimed to help lower blood sugar.
The chrysanthemum was first cultivated back in the 15th Century B.C. in China where it was primarily used as a culinary herb. Although chrysanthemums don’t produce a very strong smell whilst growing, there’s a delicate and sweet aroma released when certain types are used for food. Its petals and young shoots were used in salads and its flowers and leaves were brewed into teas. It was believed to have the power of life and according to legend, its roots were used as a headache remedy. In China a city was named after the chrysanthemum flower to honour it, this city was called Chu-Hsien which translates to Chrysanthemum City.
During the 6th to 8th century A.D, the chrysanthemum migrated across the water to Japan. The Japanese were so enamoured by the flower that they gave it a royal status. The chrysanthemum, otherwise known as Kiku in Japan, was made the crest and official seal of the Emperor. Furthermore, it is the highest level of honour that can be awarded to an individual for distinguished service to the nation. It is called the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum and with the exception of the Imperial Family, only six Japanese citizens have ever been honoured with the collar. National Chrysanthemum Day falls on September 9th in Japan which is also known as the Festival of Happiness.
The chrysanthemum made its way to the Western world during the 17th century. It is said that a French merchant named Pierre Louis Blancard who hailed from Marseilles brought three cultivars of chrysanthemum home from China with only one surviving. It was called Old Purple, and was the first named cultivar to grow in the western world. In contrast to the positive symbolism of the flower in China and Japan, several European countries had a significantly different meaning for the flower symbolic of death. It was often used for decorating funerals, and in countries such as Belgium and Austria the chrysanthemum is almost exclusively used as a memorial on graves.
The chrysanthemum was introduced into the United States during colonial times. Its popularity grew substantially since its introduction, the flower now dominating as the undisputed “Queen of the Fall Flower.” For many, the flower was a corsage for girlfriends and mothers at Homecoming football games. They continue to be the most widely grown pot plant in the country, and are the largest commercially produced flower due to their ease of cultivation, capability to bloom on schedule, diversity of forms and colours, and holding quality of the blooms.
Today it is estimated that more than 20,000 different chrysanthemum varieties exist.
Chrysanthemums are quite popular as tattoos because of their beauty and the endless styles in which they can be illustrated. Also, they can symbolise rebirth or a period of personal growth, renewal, tranquillity, and joy. These flowers are also used to celebrate significant relationships or events which have brought the owner peace and joy. As a tattoo, chrysanthemum flowers are very positive.
As Chrysanthemums are perennial flowers they are best planted in the spring. This allows the flower time to establish root systems and gain strength before their first winter. They can grow up to three feet tall and two feet wide so it is best to space them out to avoid overcrowding. Also, their shallow roots struggle to compete with other plants for moisture so you should keep them well watered as they are susceptible to drying out. Chrysanthemums should be pruned to encourage growth, two or three times of the tips of branches is usually enough, stopping by mid-summer to allow the plants to bloom in the fall.