Chrysanthemums, a.k.a. Mums, are an easy perennial to grow. This is clear by their wide representations in gardens across the globe. Another reason people love growing Chrysanthemums is that they come in nearly every color, save blue. They also can be found of varying heights. Their flowers comes in single and double heads, anemone centers, but also doubles that are similar to daisies. Lastly, the growing period is longer than the rose. They begin in early July and finish all the way in December.
When you make the decision to plant Chrysanthemums, you must choose between hardy mums and florist mums. The former are suitable for growing in harsher climates, while the latter are fine for indoors. Either way, Chrysanthemums filter out benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia from the air. So keep a few plants in your home and contribute to a healthier environment for you and your family.
Mums love 6 to 8 hours of full light, but they will do well with a mere 5 to 6 hours. They do require their night cycle of darkness in order to develop their flowers properly, though. So any nearby artificial lights would destroy this cycle. Also, you probably will not see buds starting until the nights reach close to 10 hours long. Then it will be another 6 to 10 weeks before the flowers bloom.
Mums require watering once a week, but be sure to let the water soak in. Never just sprinkle them with water or your flowers will not form properly.
If your Chrysanthemums happen to dry out, just drop them in water or poke holes in the soil prior to watering them. It is important to keep watering them during the Winter.
Avoid mildew from wet roots by planting your Mums in well draining soil. Add some compost when you plant them and add a bit more on top.
Just after the blooming ends, mulch your Chrysanthemums with 2 to 3 inches of light mulch, such as straw or bark chips. This will protect them from colder Winter temperatures.
When you plant your Chrysanthemums, be sure to place them at least 18 inches apart. The fresh air that circulates around the plant will ward off mildew. Place about a half an inch of soil on top of the roots of your seedlings and keep them out of direct sunlight for three days. This is a recovery time from the shock of planting.
You can also propagate Chrysanthemums from cuttings. Clip a 4-inch stem off that has leaves. Place it in vermiculite or some other non-soil substance for growing. Give it bright sunlight and maintain its moisture. Roots will appear within a couple of weeks. Place it in a cup-sized container with holes in the bottom, containing soil. Fertilize it weekly for 3 weeks, then transplant it to a regular pot and fertilize normally.
Even aside from other forms of propagation, Mums should be divided every 3 to 5 years, so they do not crowd themselves out of resources. It also ensures the best flowering. Dividing should be done in the Spring as soon as new growth is apparent.
Grow bronze or burgundy Mums, because they hide their age much better. Try also to grow doubles rather than singles for the same reason.
To keep your flowers coming you have to keep watering and pinching off the spent flowers. Pinching is best done from Spring to the beginning of Summer. Pinching also encourages branching when done in the Spring up to the middle of July.
If you have warm weather then you will have to tend to your Mums daily. Cooler weather demands a simple every other day schedule. However, cool temperatures create more dramatic colors in the flowers.
While Mums really are perennials, they end up as annuals, because they have such shallow roots and get pushed out of the ground easily be frost. When your Mums die back from the cold weather of Winter, cut the rest back to the soil. Keep the moisture off their leaves and especially the ice. Build up some extra soil around the plant to create a mound and dig a small drainage ditch around the mound to feed any runoff away from the roots.
It is good to get into the practice of relocating your Chrysanthemums every 3 years to prevent infestations and diseases in the soil. If that is too difficult, then at least find a way to sterilize the soil.