Love giving this answer: Not your fault! The mums that are sold as fall pot plants are more of a florist type of item, or have been grown as such, than they are a typical perennial. Sometimes they will overwinter, sometimes not, and unless you give them perfect conditions like they had in the greenhouse (exactly the right number of hours of light each day and perfect pinching on a schedule) they will never look like they did. That’s why the only mums I grow are ones meant to be perennials…hardier, less fussy (although to get that mounded look you can in fact pinch them as they get up and growing and keep them in check). Lazy Ss’s Farm has a nice list, and I’ve grown ‘Sheffield Pink’ and a few others: http://www.lazyssfarm.com/Plants/Perennials/C_files/Ce-Ci.htm
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.