Overwintering mums in garage...now they are blooming

Asked November 29, 2016, 7:04 PM EST

I have potted daisy chrysanthemums that I brought indoors before the first frost. I put them in the garage (no windows) and they were there for about a week or so. I trimmed off most of the green foliage. Then one night I accidentally left the garage light on overnight. The next morning the mums were blooming! This is late November and my mums think it's Spring time.
What should I do now to make sure they overwinter OK? I've been leaving the light on for them from time to time, and I just watered them a little. But, now that the mums are thoroughly confused, am I going to be able to put them out in the Spring again? Should I not leave the light on at all? (it's an ordinary CFL bulb)

Also, I'm pretty sure these are florist mums, not hardy mums....is the difference due to genetics or how the plant was cultivated? In other words, can these mums be made hardy if I put them outside next Spring so that they are well established in the pot by the time winter arrives? (I live in northern AZ -- zone 7) or will I have to bring them indoors each winter for as long as they live?

Yavapai County Arizona

1 Response

Dear Client,

Thanks for submitting your question to eXtension. I am not an expert on mums, but I just answered a similar question. Florist mums are not frost hardy and will need to be protected in the winter months. They will likely die if they stay in the garage - even with the light on from time to time. Florist mums are usually grown as annuals that will be discarded after the bloom period. It is interesting that they have bloomed again. Without a greenhouse or other climate-controlled area, the best you might be able to do is put the pot in a bright window of your house that will stay well above freezing. You can put them out in the spring again, but they probably won't bloom again until next fall. They may not look very pretty in the interim, but you could give it a try. Otherwise, they could be discarded or composted.