Can Mums Go Indoors for Winter?

(Question)

I was given some mums during the late fall, and wondered if I can bring them indoors for the winter? They seem dry after being in the unheated and non-insulated garage, but miracles do happen, and I’m lonely.
They’re in the original plastic container, and still in the garage.
I’m going to attach the stake/label, and photos separately.

This is a picture of the actual plant from my query about taking mums indoors.

This is the 3rd and last attachment of the stake/label for the query about taking mums indoors after spending fall outside in a planter.
I forgot to mention I’m in west end Toronto.

(Answer)

Thanks for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners about overwintering your potted chrysanthemums. It’s a question that is often asked as the colder weather sets in during the late fall–is it possible to extend the life of the colourful plant during the dreary winter months? And will one be able to plant it again next season in a planter?

The short answer is ‘no’. The information on the label indicates that it is a ‘pot/garden mum’ that is produced by professional growers to provide colourful plants for the market during the fall season; generally they’ve been grown under carefully controlled conditions–temperature, light, and moisture. It’s difficult to get them to bloom again, even under ideal conditions. This type of chrysanthemum is basically an annual; once it has ceased to bloom, its life-cycle is complete–that’s it.

Following is an excerpt from a University of New Hampshire bulletin that discusses the topic in more detail:
“Most potted chrysanthemums are tender greenhouse varieties which are not satisfactory for outdoor use. Their flower buds are killed by frost before bloom and the plants are not winter-hardy. Garden varieties which can be planted outdoors for fall re-bloom are available in the spring. These early blooming garden mums may also be obtained in containers in early autumn. Because chrysanthemums are photoperiod-responsive (day length) most home gardeners have neither the time, resources, nor the inclination to follow an exacting schedule for manipulation of the environment during propagation, vegetative growth and flower initiation. Late-blooming varieties lifted from the garden in fall usually do not live up to their anticipated performance indoors.”  See: https://ask.extension.org/questions/288440

After being in an unheated/non-insulated garage with little moisture, the only option for this plant is to relegate it to a compost pile where it will miraculously become useful.

If you are looking for indoor plants that will bloom during the winter months, consider bulbs such as Amaryllis or paperwhites. You will be able to watch them grow and flower.

See:

Amaryllis: http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/?s=how+to+grow+amaryllis

Paper whites– https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-force-paperwhite-narcissus-indoors-1402282.

These are just a couple of suggestions to provide you with some interesting companionship during the upcoming winter months.

Thanks for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.