How to Care for Your Chrysanthemums!

Chrysanthemum general information

General Information

Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum spp.           


Common Names: Garden mums, garden chrysanthemum, mums


Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9 and some in Zone 4


Bloom Time: September to frost


For the perfect late-season bloomer, you can’t go wrong with hardy garden chrysanthemums or “mums”. Mums are one of fall’s quintessential flowers. There are many species of mums and hundreds of varieties with blooms ranging from pompom shape to daisy. Mums also come in a variety of colors including yellow, white, purple, orange, red and bicolor. They are easy to grow, can be used in beds, borders and containers. They even attract butterflies in the fall! 

Are chrysanthemums annuals or perennials?

Are mums annuals or perennials?

Hardy garden chrysanthemums are considered perennials in Zone 5 to 9. However, many gardeners like to grow chrysanthemums as annuals. If you would like to grow them this way, simply pop them in the ground or in pots in late summer or early fall. After the first heavy freeze, dig the plants up and discard them. Mums are ideal for containers because of their shallow root system. Use those pots of blooming mums sold in the fall as annuals to replace summer annuals that are past their prime. Tuck the mums in beds, borders, or planters to keep the color in your garden coming until frost.


If you prefer to grow mums as perennials, ensure your climate falls in the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5 to 9 and select varieties adapted to your area. Find your Planting Zone here. Choose a site that gets full sun and has well-draining soil, since chrysanthemums do no tolerate wet feet. Amend the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches with compost of manure. In soggy soil areas, try growing mums in pots or raised beds.


Chrysanthemums can tolerate light freezes which is why they are so popular in the fall in Colorado. If you live in Zone 5, plant mums in a protected area, such as next to the house and cover them in the fall with 3 to 4 inches of mulch to protect their roots. Leave the dried plant material standing over the winter to serves as additional insulation.

Caring for your hardy garden mums

Caring for your hardy garden mums:

Mums make excellent container plants. Water container every other day or whenever soil seems too dry. Try to avoid allowing your plants to wilt. They will revive well after watering again, but the flower buds may not last as long or bloom as vibrant. When bottom leaves of the plant look limp or start to turn brown, water more often. However, avoid soaking the foliage, which can lead to disease. Read our blog on the Do's & don'ts of watering outside plants.


Hardy mums love light! Mums thrive in full conditions as long as you give them enough water. Chose a spot that gets a least six hours of sun per day. Plants that don’t get enough sunlight will be tall, leggy and produce fewer, smaller flowers.


Hardy mums are subject to root rot and fungal leaf diseases. Ensure plants are in well-draining soil and space them so air circulates freely. Water in the morning and use drip systems instead of overhead sprinklers. Mums are susceptible to aphids, caterpillars, leafhoppers, leaf miners and spider mites. Read our blog about the 6 common garden pests in Colorado. Rabbits and deer typically avoid the fragrant leaves and blooms.

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