Flower Facts

Three Cheers for Poms!

Close Up of Orange, Yellow and White Poms and Mums

Mums are nature’s cheerleaders, bringing their own vibrant spirit to add volume and support to any flower arrangement from the sidelines. Specific kinds of mums called poms or pompons are the fragrant fireworks of our favorite bouquets that celebrate the featured flowers like roses.

Pom flowers bring an edgy, yet symmetrical design to a bouquet; like flowers with pixie cuts standing in a crowd of fresh blowouts. Find out what defines a pom, where the name comes from and how those weird balls of fabric end up on so many hats.

Varieties of Poms

The pom flower is in the same genetic family that includes both chrysanthemums and daisies. Poms shine like tiny suns; bright and full on the edges of a floral solar system. Each pompon appears as a floating planet with curved petals that form a round globe of vibrant color covering the center of the flower. 

Poms are also called spray mums, having a spray flower growth means clusters of flowers grow from a single stem in a rising forest of blooms. Think about the difference between long-stem roses you get for Valentine’s Day compared to smaller arrangements of roses you see in wedding bouquets. Long stems are called disbuds which means they grow independently and the smaller clustered spray flowers grow more collectively from one source.

Part of what defines a pom is the natural way they grow in a protective ball pattern that covers the center of the flower. This is also an important reason the natural growth of a pom is valued for adding subtle, yet beautiful volume to flower arrangements

A button pom is small and round, but has an open center giving it more of the daisy design. Green button poms are called Kermit poms named for the beloved frog character, who coincidentally, is as cute as a button.

Micro poms are daisies that typically look like tiny sunflowers growing in a spray cluster.

The pompon weed is a wild perennial that grows seasonally and produces light purple flowers. 

Why They’re Called Pompons

You may already know that koala bears aren’t actually bears. Like posies, which refer to an arrangement of small flowers, pom flowers are defined by cultural influences and fashion rather than science. We call them by familiar names that don’t have anything to do with nature. All poms are in the chrysanthemum family, but not all mums are called poms.

Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries aren’t technically berries, yet we widely consider them to be berries and they’re pretty much the only things we call berries constantly. Your smoothie is full of aggregated fruits, but wouldn’t you just rather say it’s full of berries? Of course! It’s easiest to think of poms as an unofficial subset of mums and we call them poms in floral slang. 

Surprisingly, poms may have their roots in Viking fashion, what?!  The pompom worn as a fashion accessories dates back to 1st century Scandinavia. A statue of the Norse god Freyr was discovered wearing a tall hat with a round ball on top. Those fuzzy balls found on winter hats may take its roots from mythology instead of what your mom told you about making it easier to find you in a crowd.

Over 700 years later the French army would adopt this as the must-have fashion accessory of the Napoleonic era. The French called these fashionable flourishes pompons meaning ornamental tuft or tuft-like flower head. Using pompon for varieties of mums with a similar shape and textured design first appeared in the early 1800s because of their resemblance to the tufts of military caps.

Those flashy bundles of shiny material used by cheerleaders to spell out a W-I-N are not only related to flowers, but can be traced back thousands of years. Poms complement focal flowers using nothing but their own subtle beauty. They bring cheery colors and composition to every flower arrangement.

Give me a P-O-M-S! What does that spell? Poms! Give me a B-O-U-Q-S! What does that spell? Beautiful.

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