garden chrysanthemum is one of the most exciting flowers that can
be grown in the home landscape for late summer and fall display.
Garden mums require a minimum amount of care and do well even under
some adverse conditions. There are cultivars (varieties) with color
that range from white to yellow, pink, bronze, red and their hues.
With hundreds of cultivars available, the choice of plants to grow
is unlimited. To have a more interesting collection of mums, however,
plant cultivars of various types such as singles, anemones, decoratives,
pompons, spoons, spiders and standards.
term garden mum applies to chrysanthemum cultivars that will flower
naturally and be early enough to avoid a heavy frost. The term "hardy"
has been abandoned by most suppliers, as hardiness of garden mum
cultivars may vary significantly from one season or area depending
on weather and cultural conditions.
chrysanthemums are planted in the spring from established cuttings.
They used to be offered primarily in the fall as clumps, but today
the plants are being sold along with annual flowers and vegetables.
Most of the plants are sold in pots that must be removed before
planting. The plants generally have had at least one pinch, which
results in a well-branched plant. The site for planting should be
well drained and receive plenty of sunlight. The plants should be
spaced 18 to 24 inches apart; some of the more vigorous cultivars
may need 30 to 36 inches. Enough space should be allowed so the
plants can develop to their maximum potential. Plant to the same
depth they were growing in their containers and no deeper. The plants
should be thoroughly watered after planting.
the plants will develop lush, green foliage with optimum flowering.
Apply a complete dry fertilizer such as 5-10-5, 5-10-10, 5-20-20
or equivalent at the rate of two to three pounds per 100 square
feet of bed area. The dry fertilizer should be watered in after
it is applied. Soluble fertilizers such as 15-30-15, 20-20-20 are
also quite satisfactory. Follow the rate of application on the package
or container. Fertilization can be discontinued after flower buds
form in late July.
the plants grow, they should be pinched to produce compact plants
with more flowers and to avoid tall, leggy plants. If the plants
become too tall, light will be excluded from the lower part of the
plants, resulting in unsightly dead leaves. New shoots should have
the tops removed by pinching them off between the thumb and forefinger.
This practice should be followed, leaving 2 or 3 leaves on the shoot,
whenever the shoot reaches 3 or 4 inches in length. This practice
can be timed so that the fertilizing and pinching can be done the
same day. This will usually be once a month from May-July. However,
with most garden cultivars, the last pinch should be made no later
than August 1. If pinching is continued after this date, flower
buds will be eliminated from the plants. Follow the directions for
each specific cultivar.
as with many other plants, may present a problem with growing garden
chrysanthemums. These can be removed by hand, or an organic mulch
could be used at the time of planting. Materials such as shredded
bark, wood chips, coarse peat moss, peanut hulls, sawdust or straw
will effectively reduce weeds and conserve moisture in the soil.
Organic matter that breaks down rapidly, such as straw, will require
an extra application of fertilizer to compensate for the nitrogen
loss. Apply this fertilizer in addition to that which is applied
for the plants. Landscape fabrics and decorative gravel are also
effective in weed control.
of adequate amounts of water is a critical cultural practice. During
some summers, rainfall may be plentiful enough to eliminate most
additional watering. However, the plants should be watered whenever
the soil starts to dry. Apply enough water to soak the soil to a
depth of four to six inches. This is best done by using sprinklers
rather than hand watering. It is best to apply the water during
the day so the foliage will dry off before nightfall to avoid leaf
and flower diseases.
most common insect pests of chrysanthemums are aphids
and two spotted spider mites. See GreenShare
Factsheets on these insects for cultural control recommendations.
Powdery mildew and verticillium
wilt are two important chrysanthemum diseases--verticillium wilt
is difficult to control, and chyrsanthemums should not be planted
in contaminated areas for several years.
garden chrysanthemum, in most instances, should be considered an
annual flower by homeowners. When frost kills the tops of the plants,
cut off the dead stems and remove from the garden. Sometimes, mums
will come up the next spring if just the tops of the plants are
cut off. If you prefer to try to keep the plants through the winter,
cut off the dead tops and cover the plants with mulch to a depth
of three to four inches.
gardeners looking for specific cultivars, the following are widely
available in the trade and should do well in the Northeast:
Encore, Illusion, Nicole, Tolima
Yellow: Donna, Goldmine, Jessica, Target
Pink: Debonair, Naomi, Stardom, Sundoro
Bronze: Ginger, Grace, Sandy, Triumph
Red: Bravo, Minngopher, Remarkable
from Charles T. Behnke, Ohio State University Extension , 2000