Chrysanthemums come in a wide variety of flower forms and colors, and both annual and perennial types are available. All make great cut flowers and most have a pleasant fragrance. Those with showy flower heads such as pompons, quill and spider types are quite popular, but the graceful single and double types are also well worth growing. The two most popular growing types are upright forms and cushion forms, which tend to grow into a neat mound. All are suitable for borders and cutting gardens. Chrysanthemums are the highlight of the garden in late summer and fall when many other flowers have faded. The cultivar shown at left is ‘Mary Stoker.’
Choose a site in full sun that fertile and moist but well-drained soil. Enrich the soil with compost of well-rotted manure before planting, or apply a balanced fertilizer. Provide support for tall varieties.
Water freely in dry weather, and apply a small amount of balanced fertilizer every 7 to 10 days from midsummer until buds begin to show color. Pinching out the top of the plants when they are 6 to 8 inches tall will cause the plants to become bushy, and they will flower earlier. When growing flowers for exhibition, remove all of the smaller flower buds to increase the size of the remaining flowers.
Divide Clumps in fall or early spring. You can also root cuttings. For late flowering varieties, take the cuttings after the flowers have faded. For earlier varieties, take cuttings in early spring. Root the cuttings in a soilless potting mix with a layer of dry sand on the surface. Cuttings rooted in winter should be protected indoors or in a cold frame until spring, when they can be hardened off. Sow annual chrysanthemums where they are to grow in early spring.