When is a plant TOO dead to revive? (Mums)

Last night I found a dozen HUGE mum plants in pots, bagged and waiting for the garbage man to come pick them up. Some of them look very brown and dead but a few of them still show signs of greenery (although not *much*). I was wondering if I should take a chance and replant them all in my garden and hope for a spring revival? Is it possible that even the ones that look very brown might come back with the new season or is that just wishful thinking?
BTW, whoever threw these out, threw them out in decorative pots, too. I wish I could meet these people BEFORE they actually toss the plants. I love getting free garden plants. :)
Giselle
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You can take their pulse, but you have to do it with your ear lobe, and that can be tricky. I'd just plant them and see what happens in the spring. They're pretty amazing plants. Who knows?
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Volfie wrote:

So it doesn't take much work to plant them and maybe mulch them and wait to see what happens. At the very least you have some new decorative pots.
(from another scrounger...)
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Oh, I know it's worth planting them but if the general consensus was that some might be too dead to revive, I was going to plant those in a less conspicuous area and not in the middle of my garden. :)
Do you think I should cut them back to 1 or 2" or should I leave them with the full stems now and cut them back in early spring rather than put them through another shock?
Giselle (who travels around with a tarp and shovel in her trunk for scrounging :))
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Cut them back now. In the spring, when you've got some healthy growth, get some rooting powder, take cuttings, and make more plants. Then begin pinching back the existing growth to make them bushier. That's what greenhouses do with a lot of the potted mums you buy in late summer & early fall. Just make sure you stop pinching around early July (if I recall correctly). The plant needs time to start making flower buds.
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all you have to do is look at the roots. Are they all brown and nasty? or are they nice and white?
Toad
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They look sort of half/half on the one pot I looked at but that brings up another interesting question: each pot has THREE plants in it, apparently. I guess that's why they look so huge and full. Should I replant them together (and therefore not stress them more) or seperate them now?
Is there any possibility that these plants would live in the pots over the winter somewhere in my house (heated) or barn (not)?
Giselle (in Indiana so it will be COLD)
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