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.
- How to Grow Chrysanthemums in Your Garden (article)
- Help for Fading Mums (article)
- How to Protect Chrysanthemums from Asiatic Garden Beetles (article)