Did you know that mums (chrysanthemums) don’t have to only last one season? With a little work, your hardy mums can survive the winter!
A very important part of winterizing your mums begins when you plant them. Make sure that the soil drains well so puddled water doesn’t form ice on the roots!
It’s not the cold temps but usually, ice on the roots that kills your mums.
After a few hard frosts, the leaves on your plant will turn brown and die, now is the time to cut back, to about 3-4 inches.
If you cut it too far back, less fresh stems will grow back in the spring.
After the ground freezes, you will want to cover the plants with leaves and mulch. A nice heavy layer. This is to keep the ground from thawing out and refreezing, which is not good for the plant!
Your other option is to pull the plants before the first freeze. Clean the roots of dirt (or bugs).
Some gardeners use a disinfectant or a hot water dip to control eelworm. The recommended treatment is five minutes in water at 46°C (114°F).
After this, dry the stools thoroughly, trim the roots to about 15cm (6″) in length and then box them in seed trays using an open compost.
Store in an airy place (a cold greenhouse is fine) and keep the compost dry. Plants grown in pots can be moved into a cold greenhouse, or some other sheltered place and, as above, kept dry.
In the early spring, start watering to encourage growth. Remember not to put Chrysanthemums outside, in the spring, until the danger of frost has passed.
Mike, here’s my issue – My “over-wintered” mums bloom in late May, early June. I cut them back but they never seem to have much bloom for the fall. How can I bloom/trim them to be ready for fall? I’m in zone 8A (So Utah).
I wouldn’t cut them back I’d just pinch off bloom buds that come too early.
Great advice. I’ll give this a try. Thank you
I am an old gardener but was told by many “older” garden club members years ago that one should pinch the plant back until early July, (depending on your area I guess) and that will make a more bushy plant that will bloom in early fall. Maybe your mums are using all of their “energy” in the spring when they bloom and don’t have enough by fall. I’m in Indiana.
I’d say you are correct.
michel wazana says
I wish you could address the west coast area ( Los Angeles and the San Fernando valley
Address in what way? We have members in every zone in the U.S., Canada and other places and most of the info is relevant to all. Warmer climates of course have some different rules but for the most part plants are plants.
Tricia B says
I’ve lived in Fresno (zone 9, I think) and near Redding. For mums, in Fresno, there was rarely a frost, and if so, not a bad one (maybe around 30 F) my mom would just cut them back. Mums in pots were kept close to the house, but they never seemed to die.
For Redding, zones, 7-9, I have had mums die in pots…you’re right, Mike, it’s the ice that kills them. I had one pot that had standing water in it, it froze, and those mums died. We get frost down to about 20 F. The others that had good drainage did come back. For mums in the ground, I cut them back as you recommended, and they don’t seem to have a problem.
This is unrelated to mums, but I am hoping you can help me with a grub problem. I just discovered my lawn has grubs, I called my lawn company and they came out yesterday and treated it. My question to you is will my lawn recover and will I be able to plan more grass seed this season? I live in zone 4. Thank you for any help you can give me.
If the lawn has been treated I’d go out there right now and just sprinkle grass seed over the affected area. It should germinate before winter and if it doesn’t it will germinate in the spring.
judy pesce says
I lost 3 huge trees that provided shade for my hostas now I am afraid that they will not do well…Is there any hostas that can take direct hot sunlight?
P.S. Give those adorable donkeys a kiss and hug from me!!!!!!!
A lot of hostas can tolerate a lot of sun, others not so much. The blue hostas seem to do better in the sun but I really think it depends on the variety.
The mums I bought last fall then planted in the ground have not stopped blooming. I live in 8b. I’m also chalking it up to this being 2020 as my Christmas Cactus bloomed twice this year! Oh, and my Epiphyllum has continued to bloom since Spring. It’s been a most welcome and lovely surprise! 🙂
I live in 9B and my christmas Cactus also blumed twice this year.
CHUCK PALSA says
I have my mums potted as I cut them back in May and July before placing them in front in October once they start to bloom for the Fall season. I place them in the garage during the Winter. It’s the only place I have to store them. My success rate is 50%. Any thoughts on how I can improve that?
They’d probably be better off planted in the ground over winter.
Robert Lowe says
I agree. Last fall, I bought 20 plus mums @ 50 cents each and planted them with heavy mulch. Light watering all winter and majority to flower this year.
Bob, Jacksonville, AR
I live in Denver. I have never done anything special to over winter mums. Leave them in the ground all winter. They come back beautifully every year, bigger and bigger. I have a few that are over 3 feet wide and tall just covered in flowers..
I agree, Karen.
I am in zone 7. When I first got mums, years back, I was a little scared to leave them out for the winter, but one year I decided I was tired of digging them up and experimented. I left some in the soil and pulled some up as I was doing before.
Well, to my delight, the plants I left outside wintered over beautifully! To boot, I didn’t have to worry about acclimating them to the outside. They grew bigger and better than the ones I had taken in.
What I do, though, is cover them with straw or mulch that take rake off when I see leaves starting to come up. In some places where it is real windy if I think the leaves might blow away I cover them with a bushel. You can even us a plastic crate box – the kind that open all around, looks like grate siding. I do not want to close the plant in darkness, I just want the crate to keep the leaves from blowing away.
Dani, Nashville, TN says
The above is meant for potted mums that you purchase in the fall . Most mums need 3 months of root growth (for which fall purchased and planted mums do not get in most places) before they will make it through a winter. Mums only need a lot of water during the bloom, allowing well established plants in the ground to come back year after year.
Hey Mike! This looks like the info I’m looking for. Just a couple quick questions to clarify. I have potted mums that are too small to sell because I planted them too late, but I’d like to try and sell them next fall. I have a greenhouse I can put them all in in their pots like you suggest, but I’d rather use that space to grow spinach. So your second option seems more appealing. Does that really work? Yank the plants out of the soil and clip the roots and cover them with compost(I’m guessing the organic potting soil I use will work fine, as well). That would be great if it really works since it would take up a lot less room. I’d love your 2 cents when you get a chance. Thanks!
I’d for sure heel them in, out of the pots for the winter. They need to go dormant, they won’t do that in the greenhouse.
This is confusing Mike. In the 2020 post you mentioned that the mums can be dug up, cleaning the roots in hot water then sat in trays with compost in the garage, greenhouse or safe place to over winter. Am I not understanding this? The mums I had potted for the fall, purchased in the fall for the porch, did not survive their over wintering in my garage and so I was thinking of treating the roots this way and placing in the trays with compost…which is it? Lol! I really rather grow sedums anyway plus my hydrangeas look great thru November:0)
This is not an article that I wrote, it was contributed by one of our subscribers. Me? I’d plant them in the ground, cut the tops down in late fall and mulch well. They are either winter hardy or they are not and some just are not.
I have a smoke bush and live in Nebraska. I moved it from Texas to Nebraska. Should I cut it back and cover it with mulch or just leave it like it is.
Just prune as needed, you don’t have to cut it back.
vonnie donahue says
I have been reading your emails for a couple of years now and really enjoy all the great gardening information I have learned from you. I am in my late 60’s and retired and have not really thought about joining your club until now, but my question is do you think that with just about 2,000 square ft of garden available in my backyard I could do this and maybe make a little money every year. I am not talking about anything big or as varied as your do, just some different plants to play around with and try to sell each year. I live in Montana in a part that most of the times is one 5 but sometimes goes to zone 4, in th N. Western part. I would love to any ideas you have and if you think that is enough space.
The short answer is yes, see this; https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2013/03/how-to-make-65%c2%a2-per-square-inch-in-your-backyard/
Hi Vonnie, I’m not Mike, but I’ve been growing many plants in a 30×4 space in my back yard, so I know you can do it!! Mike’s system is AMAZING!!!
Penny, Urbana, MO
Bernice Hillman says
I sure would wish if you would post about fruit trees, any edible shrubs & trees. Why plant something if you can’t get something back from it, like something to eat. I’m havving a problem with my trees producing fruit. I can get my Peach Trees to flower, for example But the baby peaches fall off. I guess I should pull some off, so that the others can make.
First off, make sure your trees are met for the location you live in stores like Lowes and Home Depot don’t sell trees that are deciduous for your area best to go to a nursery and have them recommend what is good for your area we prefer dwarf trees and when we plant them we take the branches that are sticking up straight and pulled them out and tie them down gently with twine make a loop at the end of the twine and then tie down so they stick out the sides like what would be a normal tree this has a tendency to break the bark so to speak and will help your tree reproduce we planted a new dwarf tree last year and got over three dozen peaches this year and they were wonderful
Marilyn – I’m in about the same Michigan location as you and grew and sold daylilies for several years. Your best bet is to GET THEM IN THE GROUND before Oct 1st, and if you feel the need, mulch them after the ground freezes. Daylilies DO NOT like being in pots over the winter. Mother Nature will take much better care of them than in the garage!
If that is the place that is near me in central WI, that place costs less than a small bungalow in town. If you are on the fence of having a little house in town or a place with possibilities then I would go for it! Tons of stuff included too but you are going to need help – probably lots of help depending on what you focus on.
I have 4 ideas:
1. Just because you have 3 greenhouses doesn’t mean you need to use all of them personally. One option would be to rent to some of the small vegetable growers in the area who would like to start their crops early and be the first to have tomatoes (the growers that had them early this year got them from southern Iowa).. Just make sure they carry their own insurance.
2. Another thought would be to put one into small fruit production, strawberries, blackberries or raspberries. These take time to produce, but a major raspberry grower plowed under all of his mature plants and none of the growers in the area had them this year (believe me, I checked them ALL after the deer destroyed mine).
3. I tried to get greenhouse owners to start my seeds for me because I do not live in a sunny house now. No one would do it because no one had ever asked that before (what?). Many gardeners, like me, who do not have a facility, would pay to have them started by you. Just figure your cost per flat and see how many you would need to make it worth your trouble. But you would be growing “pre-paid” flats. Anyway, that is just a thought – if I am going to buy flats of flowers anyway, I might as well get the types & varieties that I want, not what is carried by the big box stores.
4. BIG deer hunting area. Therefore many growers of pine & spruce trees. There are more Christmas tree farms in the area than in any other part of the state. You could use one of the greenhouses for pine/spruce/fir tree plug production. You wouldn’t want to keep them for bare root because they are tougher to ship and more work. I buy 500 minimum every year for our acreage and have friends that buy thousands at a time for their land that is in Managed Forest Land. We hate paying shipping so having a local grower would be great.
Take cuttings! (Ok that is idea 5) I started doing this and started 50 forsythias, 30 burning bush & 30 red twig dogwood – for my own use. Easy easy easy and I did mine in a white plastic trash bag.
It would be a ton of work, but you could do this differently than the previous owner did and on a smaller scale. Just do your market research and take a good hard look at the numbers. Know that you would need good and dependable help along the way and other than the mortgage that would be your biggest cost. Weigh your risk & reward.
If you do this, I would sign up for Mike’s Coaching course too.
Good luck with your decision.
Love these comments. Great ideas. Thank you.
Hi Mike, thanks for the mum info.. Would the garage here in Michigan be to cold? I am about 90 miles north of Detroit. Can I bring in Stella Dora daylilies that I have started but have not had time this summer to put them in the ground. How late can I plant them or can I bring them in and overwinter them like the mums?
Jim Coulter says
You might want to check out BHG.com/mumcare also.
Terrie Martin says
My sister got a lot of Mums while in the hospital. She is fine now ,but I told her to plant them, we did and they are beautiful. She lives in Tacoma WA. A little better weather than for me in Redding CA. I can get them to re bloom each year, but it is more difficult. I love Mums.
when you say leave them dry do you mean dom.t water the mums while they are in the garage all winter,
Grant Hartman says
Mike, Had Master Gardeners working with your clam shells that I got from you. We are trying a Red Bud, ‘Forest Pansy’, a Button Bush and a Blueberry Bush. I watched your video and saw the roots in the clam.
We have had these plants in the clam for 8 weeks with some water each week and do not see any roots. How long should it take to see roots? When can we cut the new plant from the old one? The leaves on the cut stem are still green.
If you only watered the shell once a week I doubt if you get any roots. I watered my 2 times a day as needed. If they are dried out for even one day, they are not going to produce roots.
To much water will kill as well as NOT enough water..
I bought the black clams. & will never use them again. & i’ll sell them to anyone at half what I paid for them. just to get rid of them. They are worthless here in Tx. with the triple didgit weather we get. The sun just cooks them to death
If anyone wants them, let me know.. Phil
I’d love to have them. I’m in NC and think they would work good here.
All plants are different in how long it takes them to make roots. I would remove the propagate branch from the tree right before it gets really cold. Root growth won’t happen when the temps are below 45 degrees F. and allowing that part of the rooted plant to suspend in the cold or freezing air would not be good.
The clam shells are fun, we sell them because people asked us over and over and over for them, but I do not use them in the nursery. We do tens of thousands of cuttings at a time and get them all to root simultaneously with a completely different method. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/mikes-plant-propagation-kit/
James Kinn says
Judy I can see your passion for the project. Your are proposing a business . To be successful you must have business skills. You can get this from local small business incubators before you start. This takes time. To get this you may be able to lease the property or get an option to buy it in three years. Keep cost down while preparing will also reduce loss of capital if you fail. Best of luck I’m 76 and getting prepared my local community college 3 miles away! Lucky me.
Jim Coulter says
While at a Master Gardener Clinic, I thumbed through one of their Ortho books (The Ortho Problem Solver)and they mentioned to get bigger blooms on a Mum plant to pick off some of the smaller blossom’s. The idea being that the plant can only support so many blossoms.
You are absolutely right, mums have to be pinched as soon as they start making flower buds. This is done throughout the growing season.
Geoffrey Axt says
It is not at all probable that the owner of this facility merely produced for his or her own use. The output is far too extensive. More likely, it was a commercial failure and that is why it is for sale. I have no doubt that, as a vigorous 70 year old woman, you could do the project. What I doubt is whether the project would return the cash flow that you need to keep it going. One thing you might consider to help you make the decision is to make a calculation of how much you would have to sell in order to cover all of your annual costs of operation (everything from heat, insurance, real estate taxes, fuel, materials and product costs) plus the cost equal to the cost of having fully financed purchasing the facility (whether you financed it or not). The result of this calculation will provide you with an idea of whether you have a reasonable chance of success. Good luck to you!
I’m just getting started at growing. I am in zone 5. what can I begin planting now?
Now is a great time to plant just about anything. Many things you can still do cuttings of, just leave them for the winter and they should be rooted by late spring. http://www.freeplants.com/homemade-plant-propagation.htm
Mohammad H.Justanieah says
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judy garcia says
Hi Mike, I will get to the point.
I am considering buying a 4 1/2 acre Wisconsin property with 3 greenhouses. all quite HUGE! Like they set up at the big box stores to sell their plants in the spring. It has a barn NEW one, a garage and a big old house. thousands of pots and seed starting trays. There is a skidster and a tree mover and my question is can a 70 yr old woman do this project. can I really grow and sell stuff. You say I can, but my experiment growing 100 Rhubarb from seeds and trying to sell them at a farmers market utterly failed. I only was able to give them away.
So how do you find the market? The owner sold his Garden Center his production was for himself. I would appreciate any suggestions.
I sprayed coconut oil and warm water on my squash to stop powdery mildew. It is anti fungal. It won’t work if it gets cold. It hardens in the sprayer, so it is good during the summer heat.
Too bad it is in Wis (br-r-r)consin; If it was in SC I would gladly help you. Age forget it if you are active you will live and be well
I would run in the other direction as fast as possible. You would need a crew to keep that beast going as well as a ton of cash.
I would say at your age do a small greenhouse that is manageable and make sure you keep it fun. Mikes idea of growing without a greenhouse is much more profitable.
We ran a 15,000 sq foot greenhouse operation in TN for 7 years and it would cost us around 50,000.00 each year to put in the crop before we sold the first plant, and our winters were a piece of cake compared to the north. Those three large houses probably need new plastic for starters and that is thousands of dollars.
AGREED!! I’ve plants just sitting.. but maybe someone will want aLL Of them ANY DAY now!!
Same thing with Garden Whimsies!! First 2 SOLD so fast.. then NO one wanted next one..
I Listed it again EVERYONE wanted it!!
The PUBLIC is fickle hon!! Don’t think U want that 4 and half ACRE “hobby”!!!
This is no different than any other business, if you enjoy it you can make it work. Farming is only for those that enjoy nature on a fundamental level. The money is there, greenhouse production aims at $15/ sq ft for flowers, if they are dirt floor, you can grow vegetables at around $5/sq ft. Pretty sure nursery stock would be higher with the lifespan.
Hi Judy, I say “Go for it!”. If this is your dream, follow it. I would start small, working within 1 greenhouse to start. I think your biggest expense will be to heat the greenhouses. So only do one to start with and only for annuals and such that you start from seed to sell for the current year. Concentrate on propagation that does not need heat, as Mike teaches. Look at the greenhouses as simply wind breaks for the winter months until you get your operation “seasoned”. I don’t believe your age is a detriment, I’m 63 and am very active in growing and I love it. It keeps us active and young and gives us something to strive for. I wish I was there to help you get it off the ground, but alas, Colorado is a long way from Wisconsin. haha. Best of luck to you! I am so envious. Just follow your dreams and don’t let anyone put a damper on them!
AGREED!! with the MAN about “RUN AWAY”!!!
I’ve plants just sitting.. but maybe someone will want aLL Of them ANY DAY now!!
Same thing with Garden Whimsies!! First 2 SOLD so fast.. then NO one wanted next one..
I Listed it again EVERYONE wanted it!!
The PUBLIC is fickle hon!! Don’t think U want that 4 and half ACRE “hobby”!!!
That would be a major undertaking that would require tens of thousands of dollars in cash, years and years of expertise. You don’t have to think that big or take on that kind of an investment. I suggest just starting with small plants you root yourself. Get all of my products, they are way to cheap. You’ll learn all you need to know.
You might also try to rent out those structures….maybe others want to do a garden but don’t have the space. Or to growers who need extra space during peak seasons? Although, there would be other issues – liability, insurance, etc.