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How to Grow Chrysanthemums

A little frost last night, perhaps a dusting of snow? What are those brightly colored flowers doing shining through such a cold environment....and unharmed at that.!? Most likely it's a hardy mum, or Chrysanthemum as they are formally called. Mums are indeed hardy, and usually among the last flowers in your garden.

Chrysanthemums are native to China. Early explorers discovered this colorful bloomer and broght back to Europe and other parts of the world. Mums are popular in in both the spring and the fall. They are "forced"  into blooming in the spring inside greenhouses, and sold at garden stores for Easter and Mother's Day gifts. These same plants are then placed in flower gardens, cut back and bloom again in the fall.  

There are hundreds of varieties of mums. Mums are a member of the daisy family.

How to Grow Chrysanthemums:

While you can grow Chrysanthemums from seed or cuttings, almost everyone buys young plants from their local garden store. They can also be propagated by dividing and separating them.

Hardy mums get their name because they are easy to grow. Like other plants, they reward you if placed in the best location of your garden. But, they also thrive well in less than ideal conditions.

While mums will grow well in most parts of your garden, they prefer full to partial sun and good, well drained soil. If you are short on space, place them in almost any area and they will grow.

Chrysanthemum plants have shallow roots. So, keep them well watered near the surface. Apply a balanced fertilizer on a regular basis.

Pinch back the growth to promote a bushy appearance. As fall arrives allow the growth to develop. Switch to a fertilizer higher in Phosphorous to promote blooming, and you will be rewarded with big and colorful blooms. They will shine in your garden long after your other plants have succumbed to frost and age.

Chrysanthemums make excellent cuttings for indoor vases. Just check for bugs that like to harbor in the leaves.

Mums will survive winter in most zones. If you are in a more northerly climate, apply a thick layer of mulch over the plant after the leaves have died off.

Insect and Disease Problems:

Disease problems are few, one of the reasons why these plants are easy to grow.

Insects like to nest in the leaves in the fall, especially aphids.If it is a problem, spray or  dust lightly with insecticide or insecticidal soap.

More Gardening Information:

How to Grow Chrysanthemum Plants

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