Chrysanthemums, or mums for short, are a popular perennial. They originated from China where they were cultivated as early as the 15th century BC. After being introduced in Japan in the eighth century AD they found their way onto the Imperial Seal of Japan. Chrysanthemums were brought to Europe in the 1600s and later introduced in the United States during the colonial period.
Although mums are a popular fall plant, the best time to plant them is in the spring after the last frost (oops! Definitely planted mine this fall). The variety I have in my garden is Avalon Orange. The blossoms have a nice gradient of colors ranging from an almost rust red in the middle to a light pumpkin at their edges.
Size: Mums vary in size, but most varieties can get 14 – 36″ (36 – 91cm) tall and 20 – 36″ (51 – 91cm) wide.
Water Requirements: Mums should get about an inch of water a week early in the growing season, The amount of water needed will increase as the plants grow and temperatures rise to about 3 inches of water when the mums are in bloom.
Soil Requirements: Mums will be perfectly happy in well-drained, slightly acidic garden soil.
Light Requirements: Mums prefer full sun and need at minimum at least 3 hours of direct sun.
Temperature Requirements: Mums will grow best in USDA zones 5-9.
Nutrient Requirements: If you want to fertilize your mums, a standard garden fertilizer and super phosphate are recommended.
Pruning: To keep mums short and bushy, once plants are about 6” tall prune off about 1” from the top of each stem. When the new stems are about 6” tall prune off about 1” from those stems. Repeat this cycle until mid-July, right before the flowering cycle will begin. Mums can be divided every 2-3 years.
Blooms: Mums are short-day plants so they will bloom in response to short days and long nights. Blooms come in all different colors including red, orange, yellow, pink, white, blue, and green.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach – Growing Chrysanthemums in the Garden – to get to this handout copy and paste this [ pdf: Growing Chrysanthemums in the Garden ] into Google and it should be the first link that comes up.
Better Homes and Garden Plant Directory – Chrysanthemum