Chrysanthemum in pots over winter?

edufrin(8)October 6, 2008

I live in mid-Michigan in zone 5 and would love to have chrysanthemums to decorate my front porch in pots next fall. I know that the "garden mums" for sale right now have already flowered but would love to purchase them for the beyond cheap price. What would be the best way to take care of them over the winter and get them ready for pots on my porch?

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If you can find ultra-cheap potted mums that are showing new sprouts at the base and have a place for frost-free cold storage (i.e. garage or sunporch), it might be worth trying to overwinter some. This really is too late in your zone to attempt to plant potted specimens in the ground.

In many if not most cases in zone 6 and further north, hybrid mums touted as "hardy" yield disappointing results*, even when planted relatively early (late summer) and properly mulched. The garden hybrids like "Clara Curtis" are much more dependably hardy.

*The cynic in me says that growers are not interested in breeding for winter hardiness. They'd rather you bought new potted mums every fall.

Here is a link that might be useful: Caring for mums

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 9:07PM
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Well, this is iffy, IMO. You can try to put the pots in an unheated garage for the winter. Leave the foliage on them as is for now. Take them out in spring, cut them back, and pinch back a few times before July to promote a fuller plant.

I say it's iffy because I guess I'm a bit cynical too, lol. It used to be that almost every mum I got in fall, when either overwintered in the garage or planted in the ground, used to come back and grow and bloom. But it seems in the last oh, say five years, the mums - which by the way, seem to come out in stores in July now, lol! - the mums just aren't as hardy as they used to be. I'm referring to the mums one buys in the fall.

If you want mums that will really last and grow, try buying them in spring and plant then. You can plant in pots if you'd like, and plop them on the front porch at the appropriate time, but if they are spring planted they are usually hardier.

But, I would still try to overwinter the ones you have now. I still try. What have you got to lose, except the mums, lol, but if the alternative is to toss them anyway....?

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 9:21PM
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alicate(SW Michigan, zone 5)

I sometimes have success burying the entire pot in my garden and then taking it out in the spring and planting the mums directly into the garden. It's iffy though...

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 9:31AM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

Another "iffy" method is to dig a hole or trench, set the pots in to the top, then fill the trench with fallen leaves. I used this method successfully to over-winter a dozen roses in containers one year. I think it was a fairly mild winter, that helps too. I'm zone 6. Good luck. When I was a kid, my Mom had Mums that came back every year. I agree what they sell these days is less hardy.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 12:05PM
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