Hardiness Zone: 8a
Holly from Richardson, TX
Why not do some of both? Mulch the mums growing in your garden this fall to protect them over winter. Cover them at the base with about 3 inches of compost or other organic matter (e.g. straw) to protect them from freezing or rotting. Apply the compost as loosely as possible to allow for some air circulation. Don't cut back dying foliage, wait until you see new growth in the spring. Another strategy is to dig up plants, cut them back and store them over winter in a basement or garage until spring.
Around April (when you see plenty of new growth), take several cuttings (6 to 8 inches in length) and insert them 3 to 4 inches into a pot filled with a mixture of moistened sand and peat. Mum cuttings root incredibly fast compared to most other types of herbaceous cuttings, so look for roots within 10 to 12 days. Once a good set of roots is established they can be transplanted if desired. You can also increase stocks of garden mums in the spring by simply dividing them.
Texas is famous for growing beautiful mums and there are hundreds of varieties to choose from. Because mums come in so many colors and forms, it's difficult to know what to recommend. Growing requirements are similar for many types of mums, so which kind you grow becomes mostly a matter of personal preference. Because Texas heat can delay blooms, it might be best to select later blooming varieties in order to beat as much of the late summer/early fall heat as possible. I would recommend contacting your local chapter of the American Chrysanthemum Society to find out what new and exciting varieties grow best in your area. They can also tell you about upcoming shows and events in your area.
I've also attached a link to a site where you can peruse the images of several mum varieties grouped according to their class.
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Holly, I've never taken cuttings from my chrysanthemums, but have some that keep coming back year after year. Most of mine are in my flowerbeds and I dead-head them after the blooms have died and they'll rebloom a couple of times a year. In the spring I trim back the dead growth and they start all over for spring. I'm just south of you in Duncanville, so I know about the heat just keep them watered. Good luck. (11/02/2006)
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