IN THE 1930s the chrysanthemum breeding project at the U of M was initiated. Since then, 76 garden mums and seven greenhouse or florist mums have been introduced. Today, Minnesota maintains the only public mum breeding project in the country. U of M scientists make hybrids in the winter and plant out hundreds of seedlings the following spring to compare them to the best performers. Trials are conducted in St. Paul and at six other U of M Research and Outreach Centers, which represent the variability of Minnesota soil, moisture and climate. Plants are evaluated for flower size, color, growth habit, vigor, frost tolerance and winter hardiness.
SHOWY PERENNIALS that flower from August until frost, these U of M mums are uniquely developed to withstand USDA Zone 3 and 4 growing conditions and will usually overwinter when covered with a protective mulch in late fall. Mums prefer full sun and well-drained soil. For best flowering, have your soil tested (contact your county Extension office to obtain directions) and add fertilizer if necessary. Pinching has long been recommended on mums, but is not required. Pinching the branch tips anytime from early June until July 4 will delay flowering and produce shorter, more compact plants. Left unpinched, plants will flower earlier and have taller, more irregular growth. The University does not pinch any of their field trials. Over time, mums increase in size and can become crowded. When that happens, dig and divide the plants in early spring just as growth starts.
Sesquicentennial Sun* 2001 golden yellow, 19-24" tall, 20-23" wide, flowers early August
Peach Centerpiece* 2001 quilled flowers, 24-26" tall, 20" wide, flowers early Sept.
Betty Lou Maxi-Mum™* 1996 red, button flowers before Sept. 1, 30" spread, 12-18" tall
Inca™* 1996 light bronze, 2" double button, 12" tall, flowers before Sept. 1
Snowscape™* 1963 white flowers with purple tips, 12" tall, day-neutral, flowers July until frost
Rose Blush* 1993 mauve, 2-3" decorative, 12-18" tall, flowers Sept. 1-15
Maroon Pride* 1989 dark red, 3 1/2" flat, decorative, 12-18" tall, flowers before Sept. 1
Minngopher* 1977 cushion, 2-2.5", ruby-red decorative flowers
Brunt Copper* 1988
Grape Glow* 1988
Rosy Glow* 1987
Centennial Sun* 1985
Gold Country* 1983
Mellow Moon* 1983
Royal Knight* 1979
Autumn Fire* 1977
Golden Star* 1977
Wendy Ann 1974
Golden Jubilee 1971
Royal Pomp 1969
Yellow Glow 1969
Maroon 'n Gold 1945
Purple Star 1942
Daisy Mum 1940
*= varieties available from retail nurseries, those without are heirloom varieties with limited availability
'Rose Blush' is noted for its profusion of early mauve flowers that develop before September and last for several weeks, even resisting damage from frost.
'Sesquicentennial Sun' will be available in 2001 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the U of M. It is a compact, long-flowering golden mum that is frost-tolerant. Flowering begins in early August and continues until a killing freeze in October. This is an improved variety of 'Centennial Sun,' released in 1985 on the 100th anniversary of the Agricultural Experiment Station, the sponsor of horticultural breeding work at the U of M.
'Minngopher' produces crimson red flowers in late September, typical of mums that respond to the short day length in the fall.
'Maroon Pride' is grown for its rich, dark red flowers in late August. A day neutral mum, it does not need short days to induce flowering.