Chrysanthemums are perennial flowers originally native to Asia. These hardy plants bloom late in the year and come in a wide range of colors and sizes. While chrysanthemums are relatively easy to grow, they do require some specific lighting conditions. Growing these flowers in overly shady areas, or areas that receive too much evening light, can produce unhealthy plants and poor-quality flowers.
Mums prefer well-drained, sunny locations with soil high in organic matter. Provide plenty of water while the plant is blooming to encourage healthy growth and long flowering. Clemson Cooperative Extension recommends applying water-soluble fertilizer once per week to keep chrysanthemums healthy.
While chrysanthemums will grow in partial shade, the reduced sunlight encourages leggy plants with weaker stems. These plants are prone to collapse under stress. They also tend to bloom later in the fall, producing fewer, smaller flowers than mums grown in full sun. Mature plants set in shady areas may produce good quality flowers the first year, but tend to do poorly in following years.
Plant chrysanthemums where street lights or dusk to dawn lights will not illuminate them after dark. According to the Iowa State University Extension, lighting mums at night tends to inhibit flower formation. Plants grown where nights are completely dark produce more flowers and bloom more readily than plants grown with some nighttime light exposure.
While it's possible to plant chrysanthemums both in early spring and in fall, spring plantings produce the healthiest, most hardy plants in autumn. Allowing mums to establish themselves over the course of the summer increases their chances of winter survival. Pinch the growing tips of the plants during the spring to encourage healthy growth and reduce the risk of legginess.
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