Fall planted mums should be planted about 6 weeks prior to first killing frost.
Choose a sunny location and spade deeply. Planted in shade mum will be weak-stemmed with small flowers. Don't crowd mums. Any loose, well drained crumbly soil will do. If soil is poor, amend the texture by adding manure, compost, sand, ground bark, leaf mold, compost or peat moss. Mums prefer a pH of 6 to 7, or slightly acidic. Add an "all purpose" fertilizer in the amount instructed on package. 5-10-5 or 10-10-10. Mums like to be fertilized once a month until buds are formed. At that time, discontinue fertilization until next year.
Taller, spreading varieties require 18-24" between plants while cushion types need approximately 12" spacings.
Mums will sprout in April. When the growth is approximately 8" tall pinch out the top 2". When the branches and the new top grow to 12-15" long again pinch them back 2". This will encourage the plant to develop a compact habit with more flowers.
You may pinch a third time but no pinching should be done after mid-July of embryonic flower buds may be pinched off.
A simpler way is to top the plants with garden shears. Cushion-type varieties usually require no pinching.
Apply a light dressing of complete fertilizer, such as 5-10-10 into the soil around the plants when they are half grown. Add organic compost when planting. A liquid fertilizer applied in late summer or early Fall works wonders, too.
Some mums cultivars are not as winter hardy as others. To protect plants from severe cold and heaving of soil, cut the stems back close to the ground after they stop blooming in the fall. Compost all dead foliage and stems, etch., unless they are diseased. Debris should be destroyed.
A mulch of 5-8" of hay or evergreen branches used on the mum plants after the ground freezes in December will keep the root system insulated.
Remove mulch as soon as the ground softens - usually the beginning of March.
This process is not guaranteed to overwinter all garden mum cultivars since some are very sensitive to freezing temperatures. Many hardy mums can survive to -30F with winter protection.
Dig up the clumps of plants in early spring and separate the strong shoots, keeping the roots attached to each division. Plant the shoots in their new bed as soon as possible.
TYPES: Single (daisy-like flowers); Pompon (small, stiff, globular); Spoon (petals spoon-shaped); Spider (petals long and tubular with hooked ends); Quill (petals straight, long and tubular); Decorative/football (somewhat flattened with petals curving loosely or tightly towards center); Anemone (daisy-like with a rounded crest of petals in center.