Chrysanthemum: How to plant and care for mum plants

Chrysanthemum is a popular fall-flowering plant. It belongs to the daisy family. The plant has attractive and colorful flowers that are used as ornamental.

Mums are generally sold in pots that bloom all season along then fade. These plants are usually annual and discarded once they fade.


If you try to transplant these potted mums there is very little chance for their growth. The reason behind this is that potted mums are designed to produce maximum bloom and not strong roots. 

However, there are many species that are true perennial when planted in early summer or a few weeks before frost.

In this post, I will discuss everything about chrysanthemum so keep reading.

What does a mum plant look like

Chrysanthemums are available in a wide range of brilliant colors, shapes, and sizes.

Their bloom’s color varies from dazzling white to deep brown and the hardy plants are highlighted with full, dark green foliage.

Chrysanthemum looks like they have a multitude of petals these petals are considered are floret. There are two types of florets; ray and disc floret.

The ray florets are the traditional petals of flowers which disc florets make the center. Together they make a beautiful combination which is called mums.

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Types of mum

In the United States, there are over 100 chrysanthemum cultivars. These cultivars are mainly divided into 13 categories by their flower shape from the national chrysanthemum society.


  • Anemone – This daisy-like bloom features long and tubular florets that cluster around the tight button center. They form 4 inches wide signal or multi-color bloom.

Popular varieties include: Dorothy Mechum, Purple Light and Angel.

  • Decorative – Gardeners use these cultivars for floret design. They are 5 inches plus in size with a flat appearance, the petals gradually get longer from the center.

Popular varieties include: Fireflash, Coral Charm and Honeyglow

  • Irregular Incurve – This cultivar features florets curving inwards. The size of the blooms is bigger around 6-8 inches. The floret covers the surrounding center of the flower. Some florets are at the bottom that makes a fringe on the stem.

Popular varieties include: Luxor, Blushing Bride and River City

  • Intermediate Incurve – This cultivar does not cover the center of the bloom. They have a compact size that reaches a maximum of 6 inches.

Popular varieties include: Apricot Alexis, Candid and Pat Lawson

  • Regular Incurve – Their blooms are tight and smooth which leads to inward curving floret. Each bloom is about 4-5 inches in diameter.

Popular varieties include: Gillette, Moira and Heather James

  • Pompom – They are similar to regular curve but bloom size varies between 1-2 inches. Their tight varieties are generally used for floral design.

Popular varieties include: Rocky, Yoko Ono and Lavender Pixie

  • Unclassified – with so many Chrysanthemum varieties there are many mums that show traits of more than one category. These varieties are kept in unclassified categories.

Popular varieties are: Lone Star, Lili Gallon and Pacificum

  • Thistle – the thistle blooms are also called bush bloom which has a multi-colored bloom. They have long, thin florets that tilt downward or towards the stem.

Popular varieties include: Cindy, Cisco and Orange Spray

  • Reflex – reflex blooms are slightly flat on the surface, floret curving downward. They have a unique floret crossing which creates an interesting feather appearance.

Popular varieties include: White City, Champion and Apricot

  • Spoon – their blooms are center surrounded with ray florets forming spoon shape at each tip. They are often mistaken for single chrysanthemums but the difference lies in sight cover.

Popular varieties include: Kimie, Fantasy and Redwing

  • Spider – spider mums are known for their long, spiky floret signal colored or multi-colored. These florets spread in all directions that resemble spider’s legs.

Popular varieties include: Evening Glow, Symphony and Western Voodoo

  • Single and Semi-Double – these mum blooms are look-a-like features one or two rounds of floret. The plant size is between 1-3 feet.

Popular varieties include: Rage, Icy Island and Crimson Glory

  • Quilled – they have long, tubular florets that open a slight downward curve at the end.

Popular varieties include: Seatons Toffee, Mammoth Yellow Quill, and Muted Sunshine

When to plant 

If you want to flourish your garden with mum blooms then plant when they bloom, in the late summer or in the fall. But, if you want them to behave like perennial then plant at least six weeks before the first killing frost.

Where to plant

Mum is a hardy plant that grows well indoors in a container as well as in the garden. You can plant them in the spot where they receive at least 6 hours of light.

How to propagate 

Planting mum plants is very easy, they get established in the new place quite earlier. You can plant them by seeds as well as division. 


The best method is off course by division. Buy a small mum plant from a nearby nursery and plant it in pots or gardens.

However ,here I will describe how you can propagate new or multiple mum plants from existing plants.

From seeds

First, let’s see how you can propagate mum plants by seeds. Growing any plant from seeds requires more time, nearly 14-15 extra but it is not a long time and does not require much care.

Here, what to do:

  • Gather fresh seeds of Chrysanthemum 2-3 seeds as enough to grow a plant.
  • You can buy seeds or borrow from your neighbor or friend.
  • Just one take a flower cutting.
  • Put the flower in the card box so that its seeds won’t fly from the air.
  • Place the box in the sunlight for 2-3 days, to get it dried.
  • When it gets dried you brush the seeds out from it. The seeds are tiny black in color, which you will be able to identify.
  • Now, take a medium-sized pot around 5-6 inches long in diameter.
  • Make sure the pot has adequate drainage holes in the bottom.
  • Put some stems or rock in the bottom of the pot, to create good air circulation.
  • Fill the pot with potting mix soil. They have all the properties that are needed for healthy plant growth.
  • Make a hole about 2-3 inches deep in the center of the pot and put 2-3 seeds into it.
  • You can use a pencil or any pointed thing, even your finger.
  • Remember do not insert too many seeds in a single hole, they might not grow properly.
  • Slightly cover the hole with the soil and spray water to make the soil moist.
  • Lastly, place the pot where it gets direct sunlight for a few hours, you can place it on the windowsill or beside the door.

Now, your work is done and wait for a couple of weeks. The seeds generally take that much time to germinate.

After a month, when seedlings get about 5-6 inches longer in height, you can assume the plant will get settle.

Related post: How to grow and care for evening primrose plant

From division

You can grow multiple chrysanthemums by division method. 

Flaming chrysanthemum

Divisions are generally done in the fall season when the plant gets dried. By dividing them the plant gets a fresh start.

Here what to do:

  • Firstly, take stem cuttings from the plant, it should be 5-6 inches long.
  • Take a sharp shear and start cutting the bottom end of the stem cutting till white-green tissues get visible.
  • Do not plant stem cuttings that have dark or brown color in the bottom, it might not grow.
  • Now it’s time to prepare the soil for the planting. 
  • Rub the soil to make it smooth, where you want to grow plants.
  • Sprinkle some nitrogen-rich fertilizer onto the soil surface, so that the plant can thrive easily.
  • Take the stem cuttings one-by-one and make them stand in the soil.
  • If you wish you can add root hormone to the bottom end of the stem. But this is optional stem thrive without applying any supplement.
  • Spray water around to make the soil moist. You can also sprinkle mulch around the base, to keep the soil moist for longer.

The stem cutting will take nearly 14-15 days to start growing roots and within a month they get established.

How to care 

This plant does not need much care. Here I have mentioned some friendly conditions. If you follow this, I can guarantee your mum won’t suffer from any problem.


Light or sunlight plays an important role in plant growth. If plants do not get enough light they can get leggy whereas exposure to extreme light can damage their leaves and flowers.


So, the Question raises what is the ideal place for plants.

Plants require at least 6 hours of light for growing well. You can plant or place the pot in a spot where they receive early morning sunlight and mid-afternoon shade.

This is because in the early morning sunlight is light and fresh that wakes plants. But, in the afternoon especially in the summer season, sunlight is extremely harsh. 

This can damage plant’s flowers and turn foliage yellow-brown in color.


Like most of the plant mum also likes to thrive in nutrient-rich and good drainage soil. Do not plant in the ordinary ground soil. They might not get essential nutrients.

Chrysanthemum 339

If you are planting directly in the garden then add some fertilizer when planting. 

This will give an initial boost and get them established easily. Mum plants prefer slightly acidic soil around 6-7 pH level. 

Before planting in the garden you can test the pH level of the soil. If soil is not good for planting do not plant instead use potting to mix soil.

Use it to make a medium-sized hole in the garden. Fill the hole with potting mix soil and sow a small mum plant in the center.

With this method you will able to grow bright and colorful mum buds without any issue.

Related post: How to grow and care for Echinacea plant in yard.


Watering is the main part of caring for plants. You should make sure that your plant gets sufficient water.

Plants need more water when they are young. Water helps small plants to get settled on new ground. However, if you overwater it might cause diseases like root rot and mildew.

These diseases are not good for growing plants and might stunt their growth or kill them. The ideal method to water plants is to pour water directly on the base of the plant.

Wet parts of plants have dangerous of getting attacked by a fungal infection. The bloom that is wet for too long turns into a mushy brown mess.

For best results water plants only when the soil looks dry; you can spread mulch around the plant base to avoid frequent watering.


Keep pruning the mum plant to receive new growth regularly. 

When flowers bloom you can cut them and decorate them into a vase or let them be hung on the plant.


Pruning encourages new growth. After the blooming cut the node of the stem from where the flowers flourish. 

Deadhead or cut the dried flowers and foliage, these parts look diad from outside that keep extracting food and nutrition. Cutting them from their node stem will encourage the new growth of flowers and foliage.

If you do not prune the plant it will stop blooming as the plant spreads for a certain distance especially when it is planted in pots.


Fertilizers are mostly not needed if you have planted mum in nutrient-rich soil. But, you can feed them once in the growing season to keep coming every year.

Temperature and humidity

Mums do best in moderate climate conditions. In the extreme heat, they struggle to thrive. And regions with a hard freezing cold can see mum succumb if it is not deeply covered with mulch.

They prefer humidity but if humidity is high then make sure they have good air circulation to prevent rot or disease.

How to transplant 

You can easily transplant mum from the pot to the garden. In the garden, they get a wide area to spread their branches that lead to more flowers.


Transplant when the seedling gets about 5-6 inches long. Transplanting a mature plant is not a good idea as in the process their roots might get damaged.

  • Firstly, choose a suitable place to plant them. You can plant in partial shade but full shade will not support blooming.
  • Dig a medium-sized hole so that the seedlings get fit into it. Do not sow seedlings too deep, plant so that their roots do not get visible.
  • Toss out the seedling from the pot with the help of spud. Gently do this you may not want to damage their tender roots.
  • When planting, maintain 5-6 inches of gap between each seedling. Planting them too close could make the spot overcrowded which leads to improper air circulation.
  • Sow the seedling in the ground and spray water to make the soil moist.
  • After 2-3 weeks, you will observe new stems start growing from the top. Pinch off the middle stem node for quick and multiple growing nodes.
  • After a month the plant got well established on the spot.

Pest and diseases

Chrysanthemum can suffer damages from aphids, spider mites and trips. 

The signs of these diseases are damaged leaves and stems, webbing of the plant, and visible insects. You can apply a burst of water to get rid of insects or apply neem oil on the stem.

Some common diseases are powdery mildew, leaf spots, botrytis, stem and root rots, verticillium wilt, aster yellows, and viruses.

If the plants get stunt or not blooming then they might be suffering from any diseases. Diseases like powdery mildew and leaf spot are rarely fatal and can be cured by proper care.

But, if the plant is suffering from other diseases then it should be cured or else it will kill the plant.

Did I Miss Anything?

Now I’d like to hear from you: which tip from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe, I didn’t mention your favorite plant growing tip. Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

P.S. I myself reply to every comment.

Before going if you want to grow beautiful flowers in your garden? Then click on these articles also.

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