Growing Edible Chrysanthemums

Yellow chrysanthemum flowers

I planning to grow edible chrysanthemums in my herb garden. Can any type of mum be used, or should I grow specific varieties? -Vivian

All chrysanthemum flowers are edible, but the flavor varies widely from plant to plant, from sweet to tangy to bitter or peppery. It may take some experimentation to find flavors you like.

Here’s a handy guide to using edible chrysanthemums in your kitchen:

  • Chrysanthemum Tea: Traditional Asian chrysanthemum tea is typically made from the yellow or white flowers of Chrysanthemum morifolium or Chrysanthemum indicum. You can buy traditional Chrysanthemum morifolium plants for your garden at Companion Plants.
  • Chrysanthemum Greens: If you’d like to experiment with cooking chrysanthemum greens, try growing Garland chrysanthemum, or Chrysanthemum coronarium. This traditional Japanese vegetable, also known as Shungiku, has a mild flavor that lends itself well to stir-fries and chop suey. Since you can use both the flowers and the greens of Garland chrysanthemum, it’s the most popular “edible” chrysanthemum for home gardens. You may be able to find Garland chrysanthemum at your local garden center, or you can buy seeds from EGardenSeed.com.
  • Salads, Garnishes, and Stir-Fries: Any type of chrysanthemum flowers can be blanched, then the petals removed and added to your favorite dish. This is easiest with large petaled varieties of mums. Use only the petals, since the flower base is usually very bitter.
  • Chrysanthemum Wine: You can also make wine from chrysanthemum flowers. Again, traditionally yellow or white blossoms are used.
  • Cautions: Pyrethrum, a plant based insecticide, is made from the dried flowers of Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium or Chrysanthemum coccineum. Although it takes a pretty high concentration of flowers to make pyrethrum, I would still avoid planting these types of mums in an edible garden.

Julie

Further Information

3 COMMENTS

  1. Every Chrysanthemum is a Pyrethrum, it was the older phylum name for a species of flowering plant. Every variety of these plants produce pyrethrins, a natural insecticide in their seed pods.
    And the flower, with its nascent seed pod is the source for the tea that I find so tasty.
    For, pyrethrins are not highly toxic to humans, save in large doses (think drinking a 55 gallon drum of tea in a day). Alas, to cats, it is lethal, as feline livers don’t produce the enzyme that other mammals, such as humans and dogs, produce to break such substances down, so keep the flowers, seed pots and tea away from kitty.
    Additionally, the author is an idiot, who cannot conduct even elementary research. Pyrethrins break down quickly under exposure to sunlight, making them actually excellent barrier crops to protect food plants from insects.
    I’ll be introducing these to my garden next spring, ringing outside of the potato ring, whose leaves repel most troublesome insects, due to their toxicity (those leaves are toxic to humans as well).
    Why the two rings? Defense in depth on the cheap, planting a trainload of mums and spud chunks (seed potatoes) is a cheap insecticide and it works quite well. Although, any surface potatoes will attract pillbugs to eat them.

    And before anyone comes along and starts trying to scare people with evil chemical nonsense, pyrethrins have been used as natural insecticides for centuries.

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