The Chrysanthemums also known as Ping Pongs, or “mums”, for short, signify the last fanfare of color as summer turns to fall. In fact, the Chrysanthemums (Ping Pong) comes into its peak when most flowers are fading away, giving it distinction as a cool-weather flower that blooms September through November.
“Every year, in November, at the season that follows the hour of the dead, the crowning and majestic hours of autumn, I go to visit the chrysanthemums … They are indeed, the most universal, the most diverse of flowers.” ~ Maurice Maeterlinck
A Glimpse of The Chrysanthemum (Ping Pong) History
It was 15th century BC that chrysanthemums were first discovered growing in their native land of China. Although back in the day you would not find these plants decorating walls or sitting atop tables. Originally, they were solely used as medicinal herb. Over the years, they gained more and more popularity as a gift-giving flower, rather than a medicine.
The Chrysanthemums (Ping Pong) made their first voyage from China to Europe in the 18th century. They quickly became a hit with small towns and river communities falling in love with them. However, it was not until the late 1700s that chrysanthemums made their way into the United States after Colonel John Stevens imported a rather rare variety of “Dark Purple” chrysanthemums from Europe.
Chrysanthemum (Ping Pong) Fun Facts
1. The word “Chrysanthemums” was derived from the Greek words “Khrusos” which means gold and “Anthemon” which means flower. However, an ancient Chinese city was named Chu-Hsien that means “Chrysanthemum city”.
2. It is also known as the November birth flower. It has different significance in different cultures. As an example, in Asia, Chrysanthemum is a symbol of friendship, luck, joy, and happiness. While in Europe, white Chrysanthemum is associated with funerals.
3. In Japan, these beautiful vivid blooms were introduced in the 8th century CE. The Emperor of Japan adopted this flower as his official seal. And this flower known as “Kiku in Japan is also celebrated during the “Festival of Happiness”.
4. It was once thought that drinking from the steam that flows between Chrysanthemums brings long life to people. So, to live a healthy and long life, people started making teas and wine using these Chrysanthemums.
5. The Chrysanthemums are used to make different cuisines due to their great medicinal properties. In Korea, these flowers are used to flavor the wine known as “Gukhwaju” or “Chrysanthemum wine”.
6. The Chrysanthemum flower also contains a chemical called pyrethrum which is a natural bug repellent. And furthermore, these flowers also remove toxins from the air and are therefore considered a good indoor houseplant as well.
7. Apart from being the November birth flower, Chrysanthemums are also the official flower to celebrate the 13th wedding anniversaries. And considered as the customary flowers to be given on Mother’s Day in Australia. Get more fun facts here.
Chrysanthemum Meaning and Symbolism
With so many types of Chrysanthemums growing all around the world, it should come as no surprise that many varieties have been ascribed special symbolic meanings. These can be used to convey messages and personal sentiments when arranged in a bouquet, corsage, boutonniere, or other floral gifts.
White chrysanthemums hold many meanings. The white chrysanthemums often symbolize purity, innocence, spirituality, loyalty, and sincerity. But in some cultures, the flower is strictly often used to convey condolence and remembrance, as white often conveys emotions of sympathies.These additional symbolic meanings make them an appropriate addition to bouquets for a variety of recipients and occasions.
During the Victorian times, if was a tradition that yellow chrysanthemums represented sorrow and neglected love – quite the contradiction to their bright, cheerful hue.
However, in modern times, this isn’t so much the case. In the United States especially, yellow flowers (including chrysanthemums) have gone the way of the yellow smiley face and are usually understood to symbolize happiness, joy, celebration, and high spirits. They are a good preference for congratulatory bouquet, birthday celebration, or for cheering up a recovering patient.
In Japan, pink chrysanthemums are especially loved because they symbolize the emperor and the Imperial family. Pink chrysanthemums also represent longevity. Pink flowers generally symbolize feelings of affection, attraction, and romance, making them a great choice for a first date or a new love.
Red flowers naturally symbolize romantic love and deep passion. Hence, the red chrysanthemums carry these same sentiments. If you want to give a bouquet of flowers to the love of your life, but have grown tired of roses, then a better alternative would be a bouquet of red chrysanthemums or a mixed arrangement containing all kinds of red flowers.
Violet chrysanthemums express get well wishes to their recipient. They are a great choice to include in a floral arrangement for a friend who’s ill or recovering from surgery.
These are popular in their button variety; green chrysanthemums carry a host of positive meaning. They symbolize rebirth, renewal, good fortune, good health, and youthfulness.
The color orange means represents the bubbly feelings of excitement, enthusiasm, and passion.
8 Occasions When Chrysanthemum (Ping Pong) Flowers Make the Perfect Gift
1. Birthdays (Especially in November)
2. Anniversaries (Especially Number 13)
3. Falling in Love
4. Memorials and Funerals
5. Host or Hostess Gift
6. Holiday Celebrations
7. Get Well Gift
8. Just Because
How to Care for your Chrysanthemums
Take care of your Chrysanthemums and you can enjoy your flowers for over 2 weeks.
1. Use a clean vase and fresh tap water.
2. Cut 3 – 5 cm from the stem using a clean knife or scissors.
3. Make sure there are no leaves in the water.
4. Chrysanthemums like all cut flowers, are sensitive to draughts and direct heat.
5. Do not place the Chrysanthemums next to ripening fruit or vegetables. The ethylene produced by the fruit and vegetables makes the flowers die earlier.
6. Top up the vase with fresh tap water and flower food as required.
Whether commemorating a special occasion or the beauty of everyday life, you truly can’t go wrong with chrysanthemums. They are the perfect flowers for decorating a home or office or any holiday season. With their special symbolic meanings, there’s a chrysanthemum for marking almost any occasion. Whether you grow them, arrange them, press them, or simply admire them, chrysanthemums will surely capture your heart just as they have managed to capture the admiration of cultures around the world.