Garden chrysanthemums are easy to grow. Besides purchasing new plants, home gardeners can plant divisions and cuttings from established chrysanthemums, taking advantage of the plants' natural spreading habits. Early spring divisions and cuttings become sizable specimen plants by autumn blooming time. Transplant chrysanthemums any time during the growing season. Move potted chrysanthemums to the garden when annual flowers die back in late summer; the chrysanthemums fill in empty areas in the landscaping.
Till the planting area. Add a layer of compost about 2 inches deep, and till it in.
Divide established chrysanthemum plants in early spring. Dig a plant, and separate it into three or four sections, cutting where necessary. Leave healthy roots, stems and leaves on each section.
Transplant the chrysanthemum divisions, or use purchased plants, setting them at the same depth they were previously growing. Space chrysanthemums 18 to 24 inches apart in beds or rows. Spread the roots in the planting hole and firm the soil, making good root to soil contact. Water the transplants.
Care of Chrysanthemums
Begin feeding chrysanthemums in the early spring with organic fertilizer. Suitable nutrient ratios are 5-10-10 or 5-10-5. Feed monthly during the growing season.
Pinch off the growing tips as soon as there are three or four leaves on each branch, leaving 1 to 2 inches of stem after the pinch. This encourages branching and fills in the center of the plant. The remaining stem will branch and grow new tips. Continue to pinch and shape the plant until August 1. Then allow the tips to develop flower buds.
Water chrysanthemums when the soil is still moist, just as it begins to become dry. Water to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Balance irrigation with rainfall to maintain even soil moisture.
Trim off dead plants after a killing freeze in late autumn. Trim just above ground level if you want the chrysanthemums to winter over. Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch, and leave it in place until early spring.
About this Author
Fern Fischer writes about quilting and sewing, and she professionally restores antique quilts to preserve these historical pieces of women's art. She also covers topics of organic gardening, health, rural lifestyle, home and family. For over 35 years, her work has been published in print and online.