The Q&A Archives: Chrysanthemums

Question: I have got a chrysanthamum indoors at present and I have been told that I can plant it outside in a pot and that will give it a new lease of life. Is this true?

Answer: There are about 160 species of chrysanthemum. The most commonly grown is C carinatum, the garden or summer chrysanthemum, which blooms in the summer and fall. The cushion mum is the Florist's Mum (Dendrathemum x grandifolium). It's a perennial plant that dies back in the winter and produces new sprouts in the spring. It's also the most varied of all chrysanthemum species in regard to color, growth habits and flower forms. The flower forms include 'spider', 'spoon', 'semi-double', 'pompom' and 'daisy'.

If you take your plant outdoors it should thrive in the fresh air. Gradually expose it to stronger and stronger light by placing it in a shady spot for the first few days after taking it outdoors. Then give it some morning sun for a few days, and full sun a few days later. This conditioning will help your indoor mum adjust to the elements.

Chrysanthemums do well in a rich, moist yet well drained soil in full sun. To produce nice bushy plants with lots of blooms they should be pinched back regularly until July when they should be allowed to set buds which will eventually open in the fall. Note that some varieties of mums are reliably hardy and some are not. Overwintered mums often require division each spring so that the old center can be discarded and the newer more vigorous outer edges of the plant can be replanted and grown on. This is also a good way to increase the number of plants in your garden. These plants will appreciate an annual topdressing of compost, a few inches of organic mulch year round (around but not touching the crown) and an early spring application of a balanced granular fetilizer according to the label instructions.

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