Fall Planting: Chrysanthemums are easy to grow and require little attention. Follow the few rules and you, too, can grow them nicely.
Chrysanthemums will not tolerate wet feet, so if you plant your clumps in the fall, be sure that where they are planted no water will be standing during the winter months. Many times, a place may suit them well enough in the summer and autumn months, but a prolonged wet period in the winter will spell death to your plants.
It would be advisable—if you are not sure of the right condition during the winter—to lift your plants after they have bloomed; fill the hole partially with sand or soil and set the clumps on top of this. Then bank soil around the sides. This gives them an elevated position. Be sure to bank enough soil around so that the rains do not expose the roots.
Overwintering: Most varieties will survive any winter. But we would advise to provide a light covering of straw or pine boughs, tomato vines or other springy material. However they must have air at all times during the winter months.
If you have a cold frame or place near the house or garage that affords a little protection and has the proper drainage, overwinter them there.
Spring Planting: If Chrysanthemums are in a sheltered position, such as a cold frame, the least increase in temperature in early spring will run them up. Therefore, take all protection off the plants at this time. It is difficult to set a specific time, but when your plants have grown to a length of 4” to 6”, pinch out the tops. By that is meant, break off an inch or two of the top. Divide the clumps allowing from one to four shoots to a plant. Plant these 15” to 18” apart in a deeply prepared bed. FOR BEST RESULTS DIVIDE THE MUMS EVERY YEAR.
Proper Location for Growing Mums: Here is a suggestion: Raise them like you do your tomatoes in a row, 15” to 18” apart. In early fall when they begin to show color, move them to any location (shade included) where you desire to have them bloom. They move easily enough. Be sure to leave enough soil on the roots. Soak them the preceding day if the soil should be dry and hard.
Pinching or Topping: This should be done as the occasion demands. In order to raise bushy plants, top them three to four times up to July 15. All growth after the first topping—over four to six inches long—should be pinched,
Feeding: Chrysanthemums are fond of top dressing as they are surface feeders. Along about the end of May—beginning June—distribute a level tablespoonful of any 5-12-5 commercial fertilizer, around each plant and work well into the soil. However, do not start feeding before this date. In fact, keep your plants as inactive as possible. Water only in extremely dry weather. Chrysanthemums should do all their growing from July on. Apply plant food at the same rate every four to five weeks till August. Three feedings in all. As a special favor add to each level tablespoon of plant food a level teaspoon of super phosphate.