General Growing-Instructions from 2 expert sources 

Growing Tips for Chrysanthemums was created by the Bay Area Chrysanthemum Society   Visit them at

Chrysanthemums can be grown directly in the ground and/or in pots.

The following are basic growing techniques for chrysanthemums.

  •     1. Chrysanthemums prefer and do their best in a location which has full sun.

      You can have good results with a little as 5 hours of sunlight a day.

  •    2. Avoid streetlights, porch lights, and car lights shining on your mums.

      Unwanted light will cause your buds to set late or not bloom at all.

  •    3. Chrysanthemums prefer good drainage and do not like extreme moisture.

      DO NOT use any soil with moisture control additives.

      Growing in pots or raised beds will help with poor drainage.

      A. Move your mum plant from its 3” or 4” to a 6” pot when you see that the pot is full of roots.                                                                                                          Once the 6” pot is full of roots, pot mum up to its final 8” or 10” pot.                                                                                                                               

          For chrysanthemums grown in pots, water three to four times a week or daily during high temperatures. For chrysanthemums in the ground, water

          two to three times a week.

      B. Water early in the day and avoid watering in the hottest part of the day as it can severely damage your plants. If you choose to water late in the

          afternoon, do so before sunset to avoid wet foliage at night. Use mulches to help keep plants from drying out, cool the soil, and keep down weed 


  •    4. Chrysanthemums should be planted in an area with no competition from trees, shrubbery, and other plantings.

       Virtually any type of garden soil is fine, but heavy clay soils should be amended with peat moss and other organic materials.

       Alfalfa pellets add both organic material as well as nutrients.

       Aged manure is also a good addition to the soil.


  •    5. Chrysanthemums do their best when a balanced plant food is used.

      You have your choice of organic or inorganic plant foods.

      Organic plant foods such as bone meal, manures, leaf mold, compost, dried blood meal, and alfalfa all work well.

      Inorganic chemical-based fertilizers such as 10-10-10 or 16-16-16 work well.

      You can find water-soluble types.

      These are mixed with water and used as either a foliar feed or on the ground.

      Bagged fertilizers, as well as additions of superphosphate, dolomite lime, or gypsum, are also beneficial.


  •    6. The three most important numbers and elements you should know about fertilizers are listed on the label.

      All plant foods, whether organic or inorganic, will list the makeup of the fertilizer. An example is a bag of 5-10-10 fertilizer.

      The first number, 5, represents nitrogen, which promotes rapid growth and deep green color.

      The second number, 10, represents phosphorus, which promotes root growth and ripening of stems.

      The third number, 10, stands for potassium or potash, which promotes sturdy green growth and hard, ripe wood. Members can tell you which fertilizer to 

      use at different times of the year.


  •    7. Disease and insect control is a must.

     Whether you use organic or chemical control is up to you.

     Most growers choose a middle-of-the-road program using chemical and organic products.

     Ask a member for suggestions to help identify your specific pest or disease problems.

     Our common goal is to control and prevent problems before they start.

     Common diseases are mildew and virus-type diseases. Chemical and organic controls are available.


  •    8. The most common insects to be controlled are aphids (black to green in color), worms (the green caterpillar types), earwigs, leaf miners, slugs and snails.

      Most members use snail and slug bait with earwig control, Bug Geta II, and Bayer Tree and Shrub Insect Control.

      Sometimes, simply spraying your plants with plain water works for aphid control.


  •    9. Most chrysanthemums will require staking as many are tall growers.

      Our emphasis in the Society is growing the large disbud types and believe the beauty of a few large blooms is well worth the effort and superior to many

      smaller blooms.

  We challenge you to grow and show your blooms in the Society’s Fall Show at Duke Gardens. 


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Additional tips for successfully growing exhibition Chrysanthemums 

Conditions: Provide FULL SUN, good drainage and an optimum pH of 6.5-7.0. These chrysanthemums also grow well in containers especially clay pots.

Planting: Plant as soon as you can in SPRING after the last frost. Order young plants EARLY (in January) for spring planting as they sell out fast. King’s Mums is a mail order source. CCCS also hosts a plant sale in April with a limited number of varieties.

Hardiness: Many of these mums are perennial in central North Carolina. If left in the ground, mulch heavily with straw, decomposed manure or similar materials.  Don't be hasty to cut back old stems until signs of new growth begin at the base of the plant in spring..


When grown in pots, the crowns can be wintered over in a dry location such as a cold frame, porch or in a garage. Or lay them sideways on the ground, covered with a frost cloth

Watering: Watch the water. Mums don’t like wet feet.

Fertilizing: Chrysanthemums are heavy feeders. Regular use of a high nitrogen and potassium fertilizer will increase flower size and numbers. Liquid fertilizer is recommended when watering.

Flowers For the largest flowers, limit growth to a few stems, remove all buds except for the larger central bud on each stem, a type of pruning known as disbudding that directs the plant’s energy to flower production. Use stakes for support.

Height: The exhibition-style mums usually range in size from 24-inches (short) to over five-feet (tall).

Problems: Watch for aphids and other unwanted pests, and spot, treat individual plants to prevent infestation from spreading.

Sources: Joan Matthews, Ray McVay, and King’s Mums, LLC.