November - Chrysanthemum

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Botanical name: Asteraceae/

Plant type: Flower

Sun exposure: Full Early Sun

Soil type: SandyLoamy

  • Flower color: OrangeYellow, Gold, Pink,

  • Bronze, Red, Maroon, Violet, Purple

Bloom time: SpringSummerFall

The November birth flowers, chrysanthemums, are often nicknamed “mums.” 

The word, “chrysanthemum,” comes from the Greek prefix “chrys-” meaning golden and “-anthemion,” meaning flower. It’s original colors were golden, though mums now come in many colors.



A native to Asia with a history that dates back to 15th century B.C., chrysanthemum symbolism often originates from its original birthplace.

In Japan, there’s even a “Festival of Happiness” to celebrate this flower each year.

  • Both the Chinese and Japanese consider chrysanthemums a powerful emblem of youth. The Chinese also believe that it prevents gray hair. 

  • A symbol of the sun, the Japanese consider the orderly unfolding of the chrysanthemum’s petals to represent perfection.

  • Confucius once suggested chrysanthemums be used as an object of meditation.

  • It’s said that a single petal placed in the bottom of a glass of wine enhances longevity.


  • A red chrysanthemum means “I love you.”

  • A white chrysanthemum means innocence, purity, and pure love. 

  • A yellow chrysanthemum means slighted love. 


Chrysanthemums are perennials. After they finish blooming in the fall, mulch them with several inches of straw to protect them from the cold.


Mums are hardy perennial plant best planted in the spring. Mums that are sold in garden centers in the autumn are really being treated as annuals. They are already in full bloom with beautiful autumn jewel-hued colors to decorate your house, along with autumn wreaths and gourds. Once a flower is in full bloom, it’s actually past its peak and declining. (Be sure to buy mums with lots of unopened buds so that they last longer into the fall season.)

If these plants are put in the ground from August on, most won’t make it through the winter in areas where temperatures dip into the single digits. The reason is that mums planted late in the season are near or at the flowering stage, and they don’t grow roots to sustain plants through the winter. All the energy is put into blooming. That is why mums are best planted in the spring. 

Gardeners in northern states where temperatures regularly dip below zero can lose even spring-planted hardy mums to winter. You can changes the odds in your favor by leaving the dead foliage on mums and asters instead of shearing for neatness. An Iowa State University study found that unpruned plants survive at much lower temperatures than those that were pruned. Be sure to add 4 to 6 inches of mulch after the ground has frozen for more protection.


Also, potted mums from the florist or grocery store and exotics like huge football chrysanthemums, delicate spiders, and spoons don’t survive cold winters either and are not good choices for landscapes. They are not bred to be hardy; it’s their form, color and size that are prized. Think of them as disposable holiday decor, along with the pumpkins you buy.


For your fall mums to have the best chance at survival in cold areas, overwinter them in the basement or a dark, cold closet. Pot up plants after the first frost if they are in the ground; include as much root system as possible. Leave the foliage on the plants until spring. Water well and place in a protected area where it is totally dark and 32ºF to 50ºF. The plants will hibernate for the winter if you keep their roots damp. Check pots weekly. In the spring, acclimate plants to light gradually and set them out in the garden after the last killing frost.

With a bit of forethought and care, you can keep your mums blooming year after year!


November, the 11th month of the year, has 30 days and marks the beginning of the winter holiday season for most folks, even if the winter solstice doesn’t occur until late December.

We’ve made this month, named for the old ninth (novem) month in the Roman calendar, into a social time of community suppers, feasts of thanksgiving, and general elections. 


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