How to grow chrysanthemums — fill your garden with these classic colourful blooms

Add some vibrancy to your outdoor space

Orange red chrysanthemum flowers and leaves
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Chrysanthemums, known as 'mums' for short, are among the most striking flowers you'll find in the garden. Knowing how to grow chrysanthemums can certainly brighten up an outdoor space, especially if you're looking for easy garden ideas or flower pot ideas.

'Chrysanthemums are perennial plants that can come back every year if they are properly cared for,' says Tim Marshall, Raby Castle's head gardener.

We've gathered the experts' best tips for growing chrysanthemums to ensure you get the most out of these colourful blooms.

Tim Marshall, Raby Castle's head gardener
Tim Marshall

Tim Marshall, Raby Castle’s head gardener, has had a career which spans nearly three decades and has taken him all over the world. Now working across County Durham’s Raby Estates, Tim is leading the transformation of the walled garden and the grounds to the north of the castle in the project known as The Rising – working with other high profile garden designers as well as his home team.

Close up of red chrysanthemum flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to grow chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums are often bought as established young plants, but you can also grow chrysanthemums from cuttings.

In this guide, we’ll be focusing on how to grow chrysanthemums from young plants.

What you'll need to grow chrysanthemums

Where to plant chrysanthemums

To begin with, you'll need to decide where to plant your chrysanthemums.

'Chrysanthemums prefer sunny locations and typically require at least six hours of sunlight each day,' says Petar, gardening and plant expert at Fantastic Gardeners. 'However, the more light they receive, the better they will grow and bloom and the more resilient they will be.

'If you live in an area with very hot climate conditions, it's a good idea to provide them with a bit of shade during the summer afternoons to prevent them from getting scorched.'

Pink chrysanthemum flowers in pots

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether you decide to grow chrysanthemums in a garden border or containers, you'll need to make sure your soil is suitable.

'When it comes to planting chrysanthemums, they thrive in well-drained soil,' says Tim from Raby Castle.

Incorporating some compost or well-rotted manure into the soil before planting will help make sure it has all the nutrients your mums need.

Petar Ivanov, Expert Gardener at Fantastic Gardeners
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is a gardening and plant expert who has been working at Fantastic Gardeners for 8 years. As one of the company's top-performing experts, he now manages over 6 teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work. With his green thumb, leadership skills, commitment to sustainability and determination to learn, Petar's wish is to leave a lasting mark in the world of gardening.

When to plant chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums can be planted outside after the last frost, which usually means late spring to early summertime.

If you’re buying the plants during the summer, you can take them home and plant them straight away.

But, if you’ve raised the plant from cuttings, you’ll need to make sure you harden the plant off for a few weeks first. This involves keeping the young plants outside for increasing amounts of time each day to allow them to adjust to the outside environment.

Pink chrysanthemum flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to plant chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums are surprisingly easy to plant when you know how.

Leave approximately 45cm gaps between each plant. 'It is important to space the chrysanthemums apart to allow for good air circulation, which can help prevent diseases,' advises Tim.

Then, water the plants well to help them settle into their new location.

Unless you're growing a dwarf variety, chrysanthemums grow tall enough to require support — up to five feet in many cases. Stake the plants with canes to keep the stems from breaking.

Growing chrysanthemums in pots

They're popular in garden borders, but can chrysanthemums be grown in pots, too?

The answer is yes, according to Tim. 'Chrysanthemums can be grown in pots, which is a great option for those with limited garden space.

'Make sure to choose a container with good drainage and a quality potting mix. Regular watering is essential, as pots tend to dry out faster than the ground.'

Red chrysanthemums in a red pot on top of white wooden decking stairs

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Caring for chrysanthemums

Now that you've planted them, it's important to understand how to care for chrysanthemums.

'Feed them with a balanced fertiliser regularly to promote healthy growth and vibrant blooms,' advises Tim. 'Remember to deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming throughout the season.'

Tim also follows some maintenance tips to encourage chrysanthemums to come back year after year.

'To ensure their return, it is important to trim them back in late winter or early spring to promote new growth. Additionally, dividing and replanting them every few years can help rejuvenate the plant and encourage more blooms.'

Orange and red chrysanthemum flowers

(Image credit: Getty Images)


When do chrysanthemums flower?

You can expect to see blooms from around the end of August to as late as November, meaning chrysanthemums make captivating autumn displays.

Do all chrysanthemums come back every year?

Though chrysanthemums are perennial plants, there are some exceptions to the rule.

'There are two types of chrysanthemums, which are florist and garden varieties,' says Petar from Fantastic Gardeners. 'Florist mums are compact and potted and they generally don’t re-bloom every year.

'On the other hand, because garden chrysanthemums grow more freely directly in the ground, they can more reliably come back every year.

So, the short answer is maybe, but that will depend on the type of flower you have and what growing conditions it requires.'

If you've been wondering if you should try growing chrysanthemums, perhaps now is the time to experiment — you'll be glad you did when autumn arrives and your garden is bursting with colour.

Sophie King
Gardens Editor

I joined the Ideal Home team as Gardens Editor in June 2024. After studying English at Royal Holloway, University of London, I began writing for Grow Your Own, which spurred on my love of gardening. I’ve tried growing almost every vegetable under the sun, and I have a soft spot for roses and dinnerplate dahlias.

As Gardens Editor, I’m always on the lookout for the latest garden trend. I love sharing growing hacks for every space, from herbaceous borders to balconies.

When I haven’t got my hands in the soil, I can be found curled up on the sofa with my cat and a good book.