It’s kind of an odd subject to bring up during spring but propagating mums for profit takes time. Spring is when you have to get started for fall mum sales. For the purposes of this article we are talking about the common chrysanthemum you find in stores everywhere during the fall. Also for this discussion it is important to note that I haven’t actually grown mums for sale. I have grown plants for sale and sold at local farmers markets and I have propagated mums many times. Today I’m simply putting the two processes together.
Propagating the Mums
First of all Chrysanthemums are perennial plants. If you plant them in the fall they will come up again in the spring ready for taking cuttings. Mums root very easily. My method isn’t anything unique and it’s also fairly simple. I took multiple cuttings of several mums and stuck them in a rooting medium of peat and compost. The cuttings were about 2.3 to 3 inches in length and I removed most of the foliage except for the top two leaves. I used a plastic container from a bakery as the container since it could be closed and kept humid. Cuttings of any kind will fail if they dry out so it is important to keep moisture in the air around the leaves.
Chrysanthemums are plants that love to be pruned. In fact you have to prune them until summer (sometime in Mid July here in Tennessee) so that they do not bloom too early. The pruning encourages branching which makes a bushier plant. Those prunings can also be used to make more cuttings and increase your supply.
Once your mums take root it is time to transplant them. Pot the new cuttings up in your favorite potting soil and care for them until it is time for fall sales. Give them some fertilizer with a higher nitrogen number for the first few weeks then change to a more balanced fertilizer. These mums will be on the small side so you will need to price them accordingly or plant them out in the field to grow for a second year.
A Few Growing Mums for Profit Tips and Ideas
- At the end of the season chrysanthemums go on sale. You can get a bunch of extra plants cheaply through those sales.
- Pick up extra mums from people throwing them away. Many people use them for decoration only and toss them out with the pumpkins. Why not pick up a few and plant out in the field to grow for next year either as a stock plant or for sale?
- Leave the dead foliage up. It creates an air space above the plant which serves as insulation for the winter. While mums should be hardy I like to give my plants every advantage possible.
- When doing your plant sales it may be tempting to discount your stock toward the end of the sales season but if you plant them in the ground you will end up with larger plants the following year.
Growing mums for profit could be just one aspect of a thriving garden business, but to earn a full time income you would need to other plants throughout the year.