|I have 16 Mums planted in an outdoor bed that get morning sun but are in primarily clay soil. So, far, so good, but any suggestions would be appreciated. Also, I'm new at this, are Mums annual or will they come back next year. Thanks, Nick|
|Garden chrysanthemums are perennial plants and while they will die down in the winter months, they will resprout in the springtime. You can spread an inch or two of compost over the bare soil between the plants. As the compost breaks down it will release nutrients into the soil, which will benefit the roots. In the spring, just as new growth appears on the plants you can dig the compost into the soil around the plants and add a fresh layer. If you do this on an annual basis you'll eventually turn your clayey soil into rich garden loam. To help your chrysanthemums grow into bushy mounds with lots of flowers, pinch out the growing tips of the stems when they reach 6 inches in length. You'll get two new stems where there once was only one. When the new stems reach 4 inches in length, pinch out the tips. Continue pinching your plants back throughout the spring and summer but stop pinching them back at the end of August. Your mums will then begin to develop flower buds which will open in about 4 weeks.
Your mums should be dug and divided about every 3 years or when they become overcrowded. Enjoy your chrysanthemums!