The Pot Mum or Florist's Mum is a classic houseplant often brought as a present at Christmas, Easter or Mothering Sunday. In some parts of the world it's given to a person as a symbolism of motherhood, for example shortly after the recipient has given birth.
Strictly speaking the plant is a garden plant, and gardeners will know it as Chrysanthemum, or chrysanth flowering in late Summer through to Autumn / Fall and reaching 90cm / 3ft tall.
However you can also buy it as a smaller houseplant where it has been treated with hormones and lighting tricks to restrict the growth and cause out of season flowering. As a result you will be able to buy it all year round in a compact size.
Pot Mum's are normally only temporary guests in our homes, the duration of their stay usually mirrors how long they are in bloom, which in ideal conditions is around 6 - 8 weeks.
How do you pronounce Chrysanthemum correctly? Say:
For this reason the Chrysanthemum indoors is more of a pot plant, used for splashes of colour to brighten up a dull spot or a thoughtful birthday present from a work colleague. After the flowering period is over the plant is normally discarded, because trying to get them to re-bloom indoors is often more hassle than it's worth, they're also cheap to buy and therefore simple to replace.
If you live in an area of the world that does not have very cold Winters, once flowering has finished indoors, plant it outside. The Pot Mum will revert back to its proper growth patterns and should flower again next Summer / Autumn.
If you decide to get one of these plants then the choice on offer in respect of the flowers is huge. As well as there being blooms in almost every shade you can imagine, they can also look very different. Some have the more simpler and natural "single" look, but you can also get semi-doubles and doubles. These flowers have had their stamens transformed into extra petals for a fuller, showier bloom.
The photo below shows some of the doubles available with a couple of semi-double flowers. You can see some flowers with the single look in our photo gallery.
In all cases bright light is required. The weak Winter sun, or early morning / late afternoon Summer sun will be beneficial.
The Pot Mum has an incredible transpiration rate and this is one of the reasons it is so effective at cleaning the air, because of this you will need to water quite often, perhaps up to twice a week. Keep the soil damp at all times.
If being treated as a temporary pot plant there is no need to be concerned with humidity. If you plan on keeping it around for sometime you'll need to avoid placing it in very dry and low humidity areas.
Any decent all purpose fertiliser once a month.
Most flowering houseplants, including the Pot Mum, will keep their flowers for longer if the temperatures are on the average to low side, so 10°C - 18°C / 50°F - 65°F.
This isn't needed as it wont be sticking around long enough to outgrow the pot it arrives in. If you insist on keeping it, then normal repotting rules apply. i.e. replace the existing pot with one that is slightly bigger.
Hormones are used by the Nurseries to stunt the growth of the plants you buy from the shops, so anything you "propagate" will revert to the natural tall appearance state that you usually see in the garden "varieties".
There isn't really any point therefore trying to multiply the plant for indoor use, however if you perhaps want to grow it outdoors on mass, say because you like the flower colourings or design of them then collect the seed.
Chrysanthemum doesn't really grow indoors. However if you plant outside after flowering has finished then it will revert back to its natural growth pattern which is fast.
As brought, which is typically anything up to 30cm / 12in both in height and spread.
Normally the flowers are the sole reason for buying the plant in the first place. The blooms come in a wide variety of colours and different shapes, although the doubles look nice with their upbeat cheerleader pompon like appearance, the single flowers with the daisy like yellow centres are the most popular. You can get them in every colour shade except blue and black.
Unfortunately these plants are mildly toxic and an irritant to cats and dogs (as well as many other types of pets).
This is one of the very best houseplants for removing formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia from the atmosphere surrounding it.
Also these plants produce amazingly long lasting cut flowers that can make a stunning bouquet of flowers. You can even make your own if you have long enough stems.
Bright Light or Full Sun Good bright light is a must if you want to keep the flowers vibrant and the plant producing new buds. Some direct sunlight will be accepted too.
Moderate Watering In good light and warm locations you could need to water once or twice a week. Once week or so In Winter or if growing in lower light / cooler conditions.
Cool or Medium Temperature The flowers last longer in cooler rooms, so aim for temperatures 18°C (64°F) and below. The plant will still be fine if you pick a warmer location, just don't expect the flowers to last for quite as a long.
Feeding If you can, fertilise every months or so during Spring and Summer.
Pot Mum flowers not opening
Not all buds will open so this is quite normal. To avoid disappointment aim to buy plants which show colour in a lot of the buds. Those which are too closed are less likely to open when you get it home, as apposed to the buds which are showing some of the final colour and look closer to opening.
Flowers fading too quickly
Caused by too much sun, too warm temperatures or not enough water. Check the Pot Mum Care Instructions to see what you should be doing.
Caused by extensive underwatering, low humidity and too much sun. Pot Mums are tough plants and won't show side effects of poor care for sometime, so you will normally only experience crispy leaves when you are trying to keep the plant in your home long after the nursery induced flush of flowers have faded.
Remember Chrysanthemum is primarily an outdoor plant, so keeping it as a permanent happy house guest becomes incredibly hard to do as time goes on.
Grey mould on stems, flowers or leaves
These are classic symptoms of Botrytis, caused by cold and / or wet conditions. Remove infected parts of the plant and correct the growing conditions.
(Article / Gallery) Photo credit of the picture showing the multiple different Pot Mum blooms - Saifullah