Question: In your opinion should chrysanthemums be cut back in the late fall or spring?
Different sources say different things about what to do with mums after they are browned by frost. One source advises to cut them back in the spring; another says to cut them back to about 8 inches after they finish blooming in the fall.
In my experience, either way seems to work. I usually leave them until spring in my garden beds, which tend to be informal (some might call them “messy”), and often the new leaves start to come up from the roots very early — as early as February, if we have a mild winter. At that time, I cut back all the dead stems and divide and move clumps where necessary, and they grow happily and vigorously through the spring and summer. I cut them back a couple of times during the summer to delay flowering, and they start to bloom in the fall.
If you prefer a tidier look throughout the winter, cut off the blooms after they turn brown. They will rest during winter and be ready to pop up again early next spring.
Garden events in Middle Tennessee
Nov. 17: The Nashville Tree Foundation hosts ReLeafing Day. Volunteers meet at 8 a.m. at Coleman Park, near Thompson Lane and Nolensville Road, to plant trees in the Woodbine area. Find more details and sign up to volunteer at www.nashvilletreefoundation.org or call 292-5175.
Nov. 20: The Perennial Plant Society meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall, with the program “Winter Landscape Maintenance for Woody Ornamentals” presented by UT Extension agent David Cook. Refreshments and plant swap at 6:30 p.m., meeting and program at 7 p.m. Open to the public.
Dec. 14: All About Gardening, 9 – 10:30 am. at Warner Park Nature Center. Learn when and how to grow an organic garden from naturalist Deb Beazley. Class is limited to 15 adults; call to register, 352-6299.
Jan. 6: The Nashville African Violet Club meets at the Green Hill meets at the Green Hill Women’s Center, 10905 Lebanon Road in Mt. Juliet. For more information, contact Julie at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-364-8459.
Jan. 15: Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee meets at Cheekwood with a program on Paphiopedilums. Refreshments at 6:30, and the program begins at 7 p.m. There is no admission, and the meeting is open to the public.
Feb. 20: Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee meets at CheekwoodBotanical Garden. The program is on Phalaenopsis orchids. Refreshments at 6:30, and the program begins at 7 p.m. There is no admission, and the meeting is open to the public. No admission to Cheekwood and the meeting is open to the public.