You can propagate chrysanthemums from cuttings by rooting them first in water or by planting them directly in potting mix. Use these instructions to prepare and care for your cuttings to grow lots of new plants.
Got a pot of decorative mums? This shows how to plant them in the ground and grow them as perennials.
Growing Mums from Cuttings
The fastest way to propagate a chrysanthemum is to divide the plant into two or more plants. The next fastest way is to grow new plants from cuttings.
The best time to start mum cuttings is before the plant is budding or flowering in spring or summer but, if you’re reading this later in the growing season, it’s still worth a try.
The basic steps involve taking a stem cutting (or several) from your plant, removing any lower leaves, snipping off any bud or flower stems, dipping the stem in rooting hormone, and placing the stem in warm water or moist potting mix. Over time, roots will form.
Many tutorials advise using honey as a rooting hormone but honey is not a root stimulant. It is anti-bacterial but this is not a trait needed for this process. In fact, you can root the cuttings with or without rooting hormone. If you’re doing several, try a side-by-side comparison to see what works better. But forget the honey—it’s garden folklore.
Related: Do I Need Rooting Hormone?
Once your cuttings are prepared, they can sit in a sheltered location outdoors or a greenhouse so long as it’s not too hot. It is possible to root them indoors as well but I don’t find it works as nicely as outdoors during the summer months.
I always start several cuttings to improve my odds since propagation is never 100% successful and mums in particular can be fussy.
More Propagation Tutorials
How to Grow Mums From Stem Cuttings
The method for taking stem cuttings is basically the same for most plants.
- Take a new, green stem cutting from your mum with several sets of leaves, cutting just below a set of leaves.
- Remove any flowers or buds and their stems down to the first leaf node.
- Remove any lower leaves. We want the section of the stem that will be submerged in the water or potting mix to be leaf-free and we don’t want any leaves touching the water or potting mix. We do, however, want leaves on the upper parts of the stem.
- Dip base of stem in rooting hormone and plant in moist potting mix or water.
- During the rooting process, keep your cuttings in indirect light with temperatures (ideally) steady around 70°F (21°C).
- If humidity is low (under 50% relative humidity) you can place large, clear bags loosely over the cuttings to retain some moisture. But do not let the bags touch the plants and still allow airflow to avoid mold.
- Water potting mix as needed, never allowing it to dry out. If growing in water, change water ever few days.
- Plants started in water can be transplanted to potting mix once roots have formed. You may also notice new leaf and stem growth up top.
- To continue process during winter in pots, do not allow cuttings to freeze. You can keep them outdoors with some insulation like straw or mulch over them or in a cold frame or greenhouse. Growth will resume when temperatures warm in spring.
Good luck with your propagation. And, if you don’t have success at first, keep trying different cuttings at different times throughout the growing season.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛