Landscaping & Nursery Information for Home Gardeners

Dividing Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums should be divided every three to five years to avoid overcrowding and maintain adequate flowering. Divide plants in the spring as new growth appears.

Dig entire clumps and separate plants with a sharp knife or spade. Remove dead and diseased plants. Replant as soon as possible in a loose, well- drained, organic soil.


Chrysanthemums should be pinched to develop a compact plant that won't collapse or fall when flowering. An actively growing plant during spring and summer, properly fertilized and watered, will require four to six (4 to 6) pinchings.

Start pinching plants when shoots are eight (8) inches long. Pinch plants back by half. New shoots should develop within weeks. 

No pinching should occur after July 15th in order to develop a compact, blooming plant. Late pinching (after July 15) may remove flower buds


Chrysanthemums should be planted in the spring as soon as the ground thaws. Transplants are place at ground level; roots should be an inch or two below ground.

Potted plants can also be purchased in fall for color. Establishment before winter isn't always guaranteed. Make sure the soil is properly prepared. Water twice weekly until plants are established if rain isn't provided.


Chrysanthemums require a well drained soil to avoid winter injury. Plants surrounded by water or ice during freezing temperatures are likely to die. Avoid placing plants near downspouts.

Mums should also be mulched to limit the heaving action of the ground to winter's freezing and thawing. Chrysanthemum roots exposed to the winter sun and wind will dry out.

Alternatively: Chrysanthemums may winter-kill if left where they grew the previous summer. Better dig them up and store them with damp sand in a coldframe. In spring when they start to grow break them apart and plant the pieces either in a nursery row or direct in the garden. 


Chrysanthemums can withstand severe freezing temperatures, provided the plants aren't in a flooded area or a soil with high moisture content.

Cut plants off an inch above ground after death by frost. Allow foliage to lay on top of the plants as a mulch until spring when it can be composted. Mulches limited the heaving action of the soil by winter's freezing and thawing.

Hardy chrysanthemums should not die if no foliage removal occurs in the fall. Leaving plants may add winter interest to the landscape.

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