Chrysanthemums, or mums, are a fall flower that blooms when much of the rest of the garden is winding down. They come in a large range of colors, ranging from white to deep burgundy. There are both hardy and tender varieties, with the tender mums most often grown as annuals, but the hardy varieties will return year after year. Proper care will ensure your chrysanthemums bloom profusely and remain healthy, regardless of the variety you plant.
Prepare a garden bed in full sun after all danger of frost has passed in spring. Choose an area that isn't prone to standing water after rain or snow melt in spring, as winter kill of mums is often due to poor drainage.
Place a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost on top of new beds before planting the chrysanthemums to aid soil drainage and nutrition. Work the compost in to an 8- to 10-inch depth with a hoe or power tiller.
Water plants regularly in summer so that it remains evenly moist to a soil depth of 8 inches. Lay a 3-inch layer of organic mulch around the mums to preserve the soil moisture.
Pinch back the the side branches to keep them in line with the height of the rest of the plant and encourage bushiness instead of legginess. Pinch late summer blooming mums until mid-June, early fall bloomers until late June, and October bloomers until early July so they are able to set buds in time for blooming.
Weed the garden bed regularly to prevent insect and disease problems. Cultivate between the plants and use an organic mulch to inhibit weed growth.
Fertilize in late summer with a complete fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer 8 inches away from the plants so it doesn't come in direct contact with roots, as it may damage them. Use 4 lbs. of fertilizer per 100 square feet of garden.
Cover mums with a layer of straw mulch once the they begin to die back in fall. Mulching preserves soil temperature and moisture, which aids in winter survival.