The University's mum breeding program is one of the oldest public sector breeding programs in the world and the only one in North America. Trend-setting breeding endeavors, coupled with the program's germplasm base and genetic resources, continue to bring a wide range of colors and shapes of proven hardy mums to northern gardens.
Beginning in the 1920s, U of M researchers were selecting and breeding mums for early flowering; none bloomed before Minnesota's killing frosts.
The cushion habit of mums, a genetic discovery of Experiment Station mum breeders, was the basis for the U of M's first plant patent, in 1977, for 'Minngopher.' Plants are dome-shaped, with flowers almost completely covering the outside surfaces of each plant. Previous mums bloomed only at the top of long stems (upright habit). Within a decade, the cushion type became the dominant chrysanthemum plant habit worldwide.
In 1990, breeders inspecting field plantings found seedlings of unprecedented size. Now marketed worldwide as Mammoth™ mums, the plants produce several thousand flowers and grow to three to four feet across in the second season and thereafter.
The University's floral research garners international respect and collaboration. Scientists collected wild mum species near Tibet in western China to add to the germplasm collection. Scientists from Asia study here and bring new breeding techniques back to the place where many of our exotics originated.
Even more colors and shapes are on the way. "Wave" types—which spread up to three feet across and remain low to the ground, and are ideal for hanging baskets—will soon be released in a range of colors with daisy or double blossoms.
|Cushion||Hardy and compact cushion chrysanthemums are hemispherical in shape with flowers almost completely covering the outside surfaces of each plant, like a pincushion. Height and spread: 12 to 18 inches.|
|Upright||Traditional long stems with flowers at the top of the plant. Height and spread: 18 to 24 inches.|
|Shrub Cushion||A shrub plant habit denotes the large plant size each cultivar reaches in the second and successive years of growth but, like the cushion variety, the shrub cushion's surfaces will be completely covered with blooms. Height and spread: 36 to 48 inches.|
|Wave||Flowering plants form mounds, with floral coverage nearly to the ground, giving the effect of snow drifts. Remain shorter and spread wider then other options. Height and spread: 12" tall x 24" wide.|
U of M Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum) Varieties