Use garden chrysanthemums in massed displays, in borders, or informal groupings in front of shrubs. Because they are not especially attractive as foliage plants during the summer growing season, they are not well suited to perennial beds amid other flowering plants. Try growing them in an out of the way spot and transplanting them to more prominent site when they begin to bloom. An alternative is to purchase full-grown mums in the early fall and plant them temporarily in the yard during their bloom period. Treat them as annuals and pull them and discard them after frost.
Garden chrysanthemums of various kinds do well outdoors in patio planters and windowboxes. Plant them in a soilless planting medium and use containers large enough to insure that the medium does not dry out rapidly. NOTE: Plant mums at least 20 feet away from street lights or other lights which will disturb their flowering schedule which depends a certain amount of darkness.
Do not purchase mums labeled “pot” mums or florist mums, for planting outdoors. They are bred specifically for pots for indoor holiday display only. Water them, but keep these florist type mums away from excessive humidity which will turn their leaves yellow.
Cutting/Displaying Indoors: Cut stems of newly opened flowers for indoor display in the early morning, with a clean, sharp knife. Plunge them into a pail of warm water for several hours or overnight. Then strip off any leaves on the stem that would be below the water line and arrange them in their vase. Add to their water commercial floral preservative or 1/2 can of a citrus-based soft drink (7 Up, Sprite) per quart of water in the container to prolong freshness. Garden mums are not suitable for drying, as they do not retain their color well. Also, their petals tend to shatter or crumble. For more information see the files on Keeping Cut Flowers and Cut Flower Supplies
Eating Mums: The flower petals of garden mums are edible, but vary greatly in taste. Many are too bitter to incorporate into food preparation. The more palatable colorful petals are used in salads and to garnish soups. Never use flowers from plants that have been sprayed with insecticide.