How to Overwinter Chrysanthemums

Plants & Flowers
Overwintering Chrysanthemums

If you wish to grow Chrysanthemums in your garden you need to know how to help them survive winter. These plants are not difficult to grow but they don't do well in cold weather. It is therefore important to know how to overwinter your Chrysanthemums.

Leaving Your Chrysanthemums Outside

The first way to go is to leave your plants outside. The upper part of the plant might get killed by the frost if you live in a cold climate. If this happens, simply cut them back to the ground. Give them some light, airy mulch. A good choice of mulch are evergreen branches or something similar. This will provide some warmth and protect your plants from frost.

Remember, the biggest danger for Chrysanthemums in winter is the constant wetness and ice that accumulates on the leaves. Another big issue might be the alternate freezing and thawing of the soil.

To help your plants overcome these problems and to protect them, it is important to keep them somewhat dry. One way to do it is to simply mound the soil up around each individual plant. Another thing you should do is to create a simple drainage ditch alongside the mound.

It is also vital to use the light, airy mulch. This will insulate their roots and provide some protection against the frost. Also, it is best to keep your plants shaded and away from strong drafts, if possible.

Overwintering Chrysanthemums in Pots

Another thing you can do is to overwinter your Chrysanthemums in pots. One method is to make them dry out and simply store them somewhere where it's warm enough during the winter. You should be able to re-establish them in the next spring. However, this is an advanced method because you need to know how to let your plants dry and you also need to know how to store them properly to protect them.

A simpler way to overwintering Chrysanthemums in pots is to wait until the flowers are faded. After this, dig them up and put them into pots. Move pots to a cool but a well-lighted spot. Keep the plants watered but make sure not to over-water them.

Once the soil is dried to a depth of about 1 to 2 inches, water the plants well. Water so much that the water runs out of the hole on the bottom of the pot.

Keeping your plants in a cool and bright spot will help them go through the winter without problems. Once the frost has passed you can re-plant them outdoors. It is best to be done once the risk of frost has passed. However, if there is no new growth you can even plant them when the freezing temperatures are expected during night. If there is new growth you need to wait until the frosts has passed to plant them outside.

When preparing to re-plant your Chrysanthemums, make sure to acclimatize them gradually. You will need to place them in a protected part of the garden first, preferably the one that has partial shade. Keep them there during the day but make sure to move them to a coolest room in the house during the night.

Do this as long as there is a significant difference between day and night temperatures. Once the temperatures even out, you can leave your plants outside. Finally, when the danger from frost has passed, re-plant them in the garden. Make sure to add some bloom fertilizer so your plants will produce flowers early.

Photo credit: Ivan Radic

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