I bought mums from the grocery store last year. I planted them in the ground & they did not come back this year. What happened?

florist mum.jpg

I purchased mums from the grocery store last year. I planted them in the ground and they did not come back this year. What happened?

Chrysanthemums, or Mums, are popular in both the spring and the fall. They are "forced" into blooming in the spring inside greenhouses and sold at garden stores for Easter and Mother's Day and then again forced for fall purchases. Many people plant them in flower gardens to have them bloom again in the fall or the following year.
In order for the mums to come back each and every year, they must be labeled “hardy mums”. Growers of mums have hybridized the plant so as to bring more magnificent colors into our homes and gardens. Because of so much hybridizing, these plants do not survive our Michigan winters. In addition, florist’s mums are also not able to survive our Michigan winters.
While hardy mums will grow well in most parts of your garden, they prefer full to partial sun and good, well drained soil. Chrysanthemums have shallow roots. So, keep them well watered near the surface. Apply a balanced fertilizer on a regular basis. If you are short on space, place them in almost any area and they will grow. If you are in a more northerly climate, apply a thick layer of mulch over the plant after the leaves have died off.
Pinching chrysanthemums yields compact, bushy plants with more blooms. "Pinching" simply means removing the tips of new growth, thereby stimulating the chrysanthemums to send out side-shoots. Start in the spring when the new growth has reached 4-6" in length. Thereafter, every 2-3 weeks, pinch the center out of any more growth when it reaches 6". But, stop pinching chrysanthemums around the beginning of summer, or else bud formation won't occur soon enough to ensure flowering.
Chrysanthemums make excellent cuttings for indoor vases. Just check for bugs that like to harbor in the leaves. Disease problems are few, one of the reasons why these plants are easy to grow.
Insects like to nest in the leaves in the fall, especially aphids. If its a problem, spray or dust lightly with an insecticidal soap.