Gardening

How to grow chrysanthemums

Add a symphony of shades to your garden.
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A flower synonymous with autumn and Mother’s Day, chrysanthemums bloom in shades of gold, bronze, white, pink and red and come in an array of flower types.

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There’s something magical about witnessing a landscape come to life with new blossoms and gorgeous colours. If you’re hunting for a new showstopper in your garden, then look no further. Chrysanthemums also know by their nickname “mums” can brighten any space with their colourful blooms.

Chrysanthemums have a deep cultural significance in various parts of the world, including Japan and China, where they are associated with death and funerals. This association likely stems from the flower’s use in funeral rituals and its bloom during the fall, which coincides with the season of remembrance for the deceased. Regarding symbolism, chrysanthemums represent longevity, fidelity, joy, and optimism. 

These gems can be used in many ways – as massed blocks of colour, combined with ornamental grasses, intermingled among shrubs, or in pots for bright splashes. Here’s a guide to start planning and planting your own.

How to grow chrysanthemums

  • Light: plenty of sun
  • Water: water well in warm weather, but they don’t like wet feet.
  • Soil: well-draining soil
  • Climate: cool to mild temperatures
  • When to plant: For zones 1-3 in Australia, plant Chrysanthemums in May. (Get the key to your climate zone here.)
chrysanthemums in orange
(Credit: Getty)

Growing chrysanthemums from a cutting

Most chrysanthemum propagation is done by dividing older plants. To propagate your own, carefully de-pot the plants in spring as their new shoots start to appear. But before replanting, remove all dead or diseased parts. 

How to get bigger chrysanthemum flowers

Pinch out growing tips for a bush with many flowers when plants are 20cm tall.

To produce big blooms, remove some of the smaller buds if the bush produces lots of buds. This way, your plant will produce fewer but larger flowers. 

Ideal chrysanthemum growing conditions

Do chrysanthemums need full sun?

Chrysanthemums need plenty of sunshine to grow. Look for sunny spots in your garden that do have protection from wind.

Chrysanthemum climate

Chrysanthemums grow best in cool to mild temperatures but will still grow in the milder subtropics.

potted Chrysanthemums
(Credit: Getty)

Best soil type for chrysanthemums

Ensuring good drainage is essential as chrysanthemums don’t like having wet feet. They thrive in almost any soil type, which you can improve with compost or other organic matter. If growing in containers, opt for a premium potting mix. 

How much water do chrysanthemums need?

Water the soil well in summer, but chrysanthemums must be kept dry as they are susceptible to mildew. Watering the soil in the morning, not the evening, is also recommended. If you overwater the leaves, they may get rust and develop small yellow pimples. Remove the affected leaves or, if it’s serious, use a copper or sulphate spray.

How to fertilise chrysanthemums

Feed them with a liquid fertiliser every six weeks to encourage blooms. 

Pest control for chrysanthemums

Snails, slugs and aphids love chrysanthemums. They’re easy to remove by hand, but if the number of aphids gets out of control, spray them with an organic horticultural oil. 

  • Pinch out growing tips for a bush with many flowers when plants are 20cm tall.
  • To produce big blooms, remove some of the smaller buds if the bush produces lots of buds. This way, your plant will produce fewer but larger flowers. 
  • If you overwater the leaves, they may get rust and develop small yellow pimples. Remove the affected leaves or, if it’s serious, use a copper or sulphate spray.
Chrysanthemums close-up purple flowers
(Credit: Getty)

Where to plant chrysanthemums in your garden

As a shrub in your front garden, chrysanthemums will welcome you with its bright blooms as you walk up your path. Get one chrysanthemum, and you’ll want more – in colours that range from pure white to deep burgundy, mellow yellow to bold bronze, palest pink to riotous red, and cream to lime green. Then there are the shapes, ranging from complex curls of petals to the simplest daisy. All of which spells happiness on a stick.

Chrysanthemums make an excellent bedding plant and can be grown in the ground almost anywhere. Just remember to avoid clay or sandy soil.

chrysanthemum in pot
(Credit: Getty)

How to grow chrysanthemums in containers

  • Place in a well-lit position.
  • Water the potting mix, not the leaves.
  • Don’t overwater – an indoor plant doesn’t need as much as one in the garden.
  • Remove dead flowers and leaves.

The great thing about chrysanthemums given as flowering pot plants is that they can be cut back after they have flowered and planted into the garden.

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