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Chrysanthemum planted in garden in semi sun 2 years ago from pot. Never thrived.😔 Fair drainage but sun exposure varies as trees above grow more leaves! Probably too much mulch at times by inexperienced helper. Australia is slowly entering autumn but still hot in March now. Can I dig plant up - it's fairly spread out now...? Just long stems and little leaves at end. How can I dig it up without killing it completely?! If I replant, should it be to a pot or somewhere else in garden? Really important to keep alive somehow as it was last plant bought by mama before accident 💔 Thanks for any advice

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  • Approximately where? central vic? Commented Mar 1, 2021 at 8:19
  • Sydney near a brackish river , so some salt in air but not a lot
    – user33861
    Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 14:19

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I would transplant the chrysanthemum to another spot in the garden in full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sunshine). Without a picture I can't be sure, but it sounds like the plant may be a bit leggy which is often an indication that a plant needs more sunshine and is straining to reach it.

I have read about people moving mums into a pot for the winter, but I would be inclined to think that a plant will live longer in the ground than in a pot if it is sited properly. My mums survive the winters here easily and they are much harsher than yours seem to be (a typical winter here has a low of -23C). All of that is to say if you were potentially concerned for your mums because of winter weather, they should be fine.

Before digging it up, I would first dig the hole where you will place it. One rule of thumb is that you should dig a hole twice as wide as the pot it came in, or twice the size of its root ball. This causes the surrounding soil that the roots will be growing into to be loose. It makes it easier for the plant to establish itself.

In my experience, mums are very hardy. If I were to transplant one I would dig a circle about 6" to a foot out from the edge of the plant. Obviously, this plant means a good deal to you. If it makes you less anxious, you could make an even wider circle to make sure you aren't hitting any roots. Here is a video about how to transplant existing outdoor plants. When I transplant I do it a little differently than in the video. Before placing the plant in, I fill the hole about third or half way with water, place the plant in and then pour the dirt back in. Then I wait a bit to let the water soak in and tamp down the soil (or add more if necessary and then tamp) around the plant to make sure it is firmly planted. Watering regularly after transplanting will ease the shock for the plant. It also eases transplant shock if you transplant in the morning or evening so the plant doesn't have to spend the first bit of life in its new home in the bright sun or heat. But again, mums are hardy-don't worry, have hope for it! I'm just listing all the gentleness tips I can think of to ease its move.

I know this plant is special to you. In my climate, mums' leaves turn brown and the whole plant seems to shrivel up and dry out in the fall. They look so decimated and dead, but they come up beautifully in the spring. I wanted to prepare you for that if you weren't anticipating that dried out look.

The Farmer's Almanac gives some generalized instructions for growing mums. To help your plant grow fuller and bushier (if the new local doesn't solve the problem in one go), it recommends:

When new shoots reach 3 to 4 inches tall, pinch off the top leaving 2 to 3 leaves on the shoot. This will create a bushier plant. Continue pinching once a month until mid-July when flower buds develop.

I have confidence in the general hardiness of mums, but I understand this plant is quite significant to you so another option to preserve it is to make more plants from it. Then ideally, you would have several plants and thus would increase its odds of surviving. Here is a site that discusses how to take cuttings and make roots from them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VLx9aMN4rU

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    Oh thank you so much! That's exceptionally great advice. I tried many times to upload a photo and it just wouldn't progress to publish. No indication why it failed. Yes, the plant means a lot to us. It has only a couple of brown stems left with a round of leaves at the very end of each and all 5 stems or whatever they are called are wide apart with only soil in the middle where the main part of the plant should be. It looks sad! Thanks very much for the comprehensive advice on how to dig it up. I tried to find a YouTube vid to help but they weren't as specific.
    – user33861
    Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 12:29
  • Yes my mama (who lived with us, looked after us, ran the household...) bought the chrysanthemum and the next day, which was also mother's day, she had an accident and died. Treasure the moments and hug them often.
    – user33861
    Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 12:35
  • I am so very, very, very sorry to hear about your mama and on mother's day. I am so sorry. I hope the plant makes it for you- I understand why it is very important to you.
    – Kar
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 1:04

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