This spring, I bought little chrysanthemums (mums) of different shapes and colors at a neighborhood market. They have developed very well and now (in autumn) blossom in beautiful colors, e.g. yellow-with-white-margin and purple-with-yellow-center.

How can I go about subdividing these by now mature plants similar to how the person whom I bought the seedlings from presumably did last autumn or this spring?

  • A seedling and a division are different things - a seedling you would get by collecting and germinating seeds, and it might not resemble the parent closely. A division is basically a clone, and probably can be done (works with most things) by chopping up the rootball into sections that each have a stem (or more than one) and replanting those chunks separately. Whether they make it through the winter at all depends on the plant and the precise microclimate (even hardy mums die here, except the ones in the bed on the south side of a building that effectively runs several climate zones warmer.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 14:25
  • Please separate the questions into two questions.
    – Escoce
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 14:39
  • 1
    Hi! I retagged this with perennials; as noted, seedlings is for young plants. I also removed the request for an offsite resource, since there's no reason your question couldn't be answered comprehensively on this site. Finally, your side question is unrelated to the original question; please post it separately (the overwintering and mulch tags would probably be appropriate for it).
    – Niall C.
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


Mums respond well to being divided, but you should wait until spring to do so. For now, leave the mums as-is. Since you live in a climate with a true winter, I would not recommend cutting the plants back this fall. Simply let them die back. After the ground has started to freeze, you can add mulch (straw, leaves, pine branches - whatever you have) to protect them for the winter. The mulch stays in place better when the plant has not been cut back.

In the spring, remove the mulch. I cut mine back as soon as new growth starts to show. That is also when you can divide them. Dig up each plant with a sharp spade. You should be able to see clumps within the root mass. Pull or cut the clumps of roots apart, and replant each clump separately with the crown right at or just below the soil level. Water them well.

In my climate, it is a bit hit-or-miss as to whether hardy mums make it through the winter at all. About half of them seem to make it, regardless of where they are planted in the yard.

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