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Growing Chrysanthemums (Mums)

Category Flowers
A popular fall garden flower, mums grow well in containers. This guide is about growing chrysanthemums.
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February 22, 2006
Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum x morifolium
Life Cycle: perennial or annual
Planting Time: spring or late summer
Height: 1' to 4'
Exposure: full sun
Soil: rich, well-drained soil with a neutral to acidic pH
Hardiness: zones 4 to 9
Bloom Time: midsummer to early winter
Flower: yellow, orange, purple, pink, white, fuchsia, red and various shades of autumn colors; single or double blooms in a variety of showy flower heads
Foliage: dark green
Propagation: seeds, cuttings and division (fall or early spring)
Suggested Use: beds, cut flowers, planters, pots, displays, and borders
Growing Hints: In cooler zones, mums can be grown as perennials if cold-hardy cultivars are chosen. Although often planted in late summer and treated as annuals, setting them out in the spring will ensure they have enough time to establish roots to survive harsh winters. Cuttings can be taken in early spring or after flowering and rooted over winter indoors or in a cold frame. Seeds should be sown directly into ground in the spring in the location you want the plants to grow.
Interesting Facts: Mums are photo-sensitive and form flower buds when the length of daylight starts to shorten (usually late July). If you plant them under a streetlight or lamppost they may never set buds.
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Mums received from a florist tend to be less hardy and take longer to bloom than most garden variety mums and should be planted earlier in the season to avoid killing frosts.

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February 6, 2017

It now is February 5. I have a little surprise for some of you. Once, I told a friend something I had read. She found that something very hard to believe. She replied, 'Doug, don't you know a piece of paper will lay there and let you write anything on it? Of course, she was right.

These days everybody is going paperless. And on the Internet, in digital form, you'll find those same erroneous statements being written. Case in point: Those garden mums you buy at garden centers were grown in a hot house. They were not bred to withstand the winter. They should be treated as annuals and discarded after the blooms are spent. They won't survive.

I'm here to tell you differently. Most of these mums are lost due to poor drainage. Their feet sit in soggy soil and a hard freeze will burst the roots. If not that, the roots will simply rot due to constant wetness.

However, if there is adequate drainage and the plants are kept a little on the dry side, most of these plants will survive the winter. My proof is in the picture. Here are some rootings I never got around to putting in the ground.

These plants were not protected. They sat above ground in shallow containers. They were recently exposed to a 3 degree temperature. They are alive and well. And as the weather warms, they will begin to grow at a fast rate. I will then move them to larger containers.

If you want to throw away perfectly good plants each winter, so be it. Just know that these mums can be successfully overwintered under the right conditions, and those conditions involve very little care. It could be that you never have to buy a garden mum, again.

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February 9, 20170 found this helpful

Garden mums can be a great addition - my mums will many times "die" back in the winter but always seem to revive and come back for another year. I live in Florida so do not usually get below 30 but sometimes we hit the 20's and I get worried and cover them.

Hope some of our "northern" friends take your advice and at least keep cuttings alive to brighten their garden (free) for many years to come.

As always, thanks for an informative article.

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Yellow and orange potted chrysanthemums

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Chrysanthemums look best when the old blossoms are deadheaded and pruned away. This guide tells you how to keep your potted mums looking fresh.

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Close up of maroon Chrysanthemums

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Mums are a perennial favorite in many flower gardens, having blooms late into the fall and even winter. Regular pruning ensures seasons of beauty. If you are wondering when you should prune your chrysanthemums, this is the guide for you.

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If you like fall Mums this tip is for you! This is a pass on tip, it's been recommended to me to trim your mums down to 4 inches on or close to the 4th of July.

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Yellow Chrysanthemums

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Chrysanthemums are the quintessential flowers of fall. From blazing golden yellows to rich shades of mahogany, when it comes to intense color, nothing in the fall garden can match their showy display.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 30, 20130 found this helpful

My mum looks dead and it's October. It is a potted mum, I got it early October. I don't understand what to do with it. I have never had one before. It looks dead, no leaves, no flowers, just dry brown sticks. What do I do? I have researched this a lot and have found nothing. I was told to cut the stems an inch from the soil I was also told to throw it out, but I don't know what to do.

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By Bridgett S.

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November 6, 20130 found this helpful

The Chrysanthemums you buy in october have been forced to bloom by using artificial light, warmth and a lot of fertilizer. This makes the plant extremely weak.The soil it is grown in is not proper soil either it is only peat and polystyrene.

To save your Chrysanthemum, try to let it stay in a bucket of water until the soil is completely soaked and it sinks to the bottom of the bucket, get it out of the water, change the water and repeat the process one more time to get rid of the extra fertilizer then put it in a larger pot with proper soil. Do not cut it back as the dry parts of the plant protect it from the cold weather. Protect from frost if you put it outdoors and do not water.

If indoors, keep it in a cool place and do not water. New shoots will appear in spring at the feet of the dry parts. Once the weather is warm enough you can cut the dry parts. It will bloom again in late october or early november the blooming being a reaction of the Chrysanthemums to the shortening of day light. Hope you will save it!

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December 1, 2008

My chrysanthemums grow nicely and bloom beautifully, and then promptly collapse! Am I supposed to pinch them back as they're growing so they're shorter on the outside of the plant and more supportive?

Polly from Cedar Springs, MI

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December 1, 20080 found this helpful

I pinch mine back every summer when they get to be about a foot tall, to about 4 inches. It's pretty extreme, but they recover nicely and don't tend to flop. If you wait to pinch them after that, you'll lose your flowers. (I've heard that you never should pinch them back after the summer solstice for that reason, but I just go by height) Same for a lot of other flowers like asters and bee balms. If they still get too leggy (mine did this year because we had SO much rain!) I'd stake them with bamboo and string. Sometimes if I want the stakes to be really subtle, I'll reuse bamboo skewers (like you'd make kebabs with) or wooden chopsticks. These can be hidden by the stems and leaves. Hope that helps! Happy gardening.

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December 2, 20080 found this helpful

Keep cutting them back with the hedge clippers so that they never grow taller than 6 " until about July 4th. Then let them go. They should grow alot bushier & stronger. You could always gather them together with a piece of string too.

Linda

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October 3, 20130 found this helpful

When I plant mums, it seems like they just won't keep their color long. What can I do to keep the color longer?

By Pam M.

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Photos

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October 22, 2010

My Grandson sold mums to raise money for his school and mine are now blooming. They sure do help the garden with a last spot of color, just when all the rest of my plants are going to seed.

By Joyce

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 22, 20100 found this helpful

I planted one mum 2 years ago behind my mail box. It has quadrupled in size since I bought it. And the other mum is along my garage and has reproduced another plant. It too has quadrupled in size since I bought it 2 years ago.

By MommyBullock

Garden: Fall Mums

Garden: Fall Mums

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