how to overwinter a potted chrysanthemum

Asked November 13, 2016, 1:36 PM EST

I bought a few potted chrysanthemums at an out of state nursery. The one I have is I think the upright "Centerpiece" bred by UM. It's “quilled” looking, with a small spoon at the tip. The flowers are twice the size of the cushion type. They are blooming very heavily now. They started maybe a month or more ago, and are now completely covered with flowers, whereas the cushion tyopes are almost over. Since these are different, I would like to keep them over and be able to plant them in the garden next year. But it’s mid-November in the NW Chicago area, so planting them in the ground now won’t work. I have occasionally tried to save mums late in the season after enjoying them on the porch, and have never had any success. The only ones that have ever survived a winter in the ground were planted immediately after they first showed up in the garden centers in early fall/late summer. Suggestions? TakeCuttings? All tips have flowers. I don’t have much luck with rooting cuttings in the fall. Take the whole plant indoors like a houseplant? Induce it to go dormant somehow? Keep it in its pot in the attached garage? Sink the pot into the vegetable garden and cover with a mesh cage and leaves? Thank you!

Cook County Illinois

1 Response

Thanks for your mums question. (I grew up in Indiana and my Mum tried to do the same thing!) Unfortunately, if you want to overwinter them, you have to have two things: the right kind, and an early start on getting their roots established. Here are links to two articles, one on hardy mums and the other on how to overwinter mums if they are the hardy type. I couldn't find a mum variety entitled "Centerpiece," but the nursery you purchased them from might know whether they are hardy or not.

Now, as the article suggests, you can just treat them as annuals--which means you either leave them outside and they die, or you take them inside and trick them into believing it's still summer/fall. Trim the spent flower stems off, but don't prune off more than half of the leaves. Put in a sunny window inside (or in a heated garage) with sunshine available, water and fertilize regularly, and then, in the spring, plant them early enough that the root systems get established before next winter.

Hope these help!