For autumn color, chrysanthemums are showstoppers. They're the first choice of proud moms for homecoming corsages; their exquisite forms draw thousands to flower shows; and in the fall, they dominate prime counter space at garden centers.
Mum care is relatively easy, especially if you're growing them only as temporary color. Full sun, rich soil, good drainage and good air circulation are the basic necessities. To keep them year to year in the garden requires more attention, though: Plant in spring if possible, or at least six weeks before a killing frost in fall. Leave the stems up through winter (mulching is a good idea too) and wait until new growth has started to emerge before cutting back in spring. Some varieties need pinching several times during the growing season to encourage branching, which makes for sturdier plants (stop pinching, as a rule, by at least mid-July).