I don't know if you are talking about hardy mums and asters or the short-lived ones we see everywhere this time of year for sale at grocery stores, Wal-Mart, etc. If you are talking about hardy mums, well, they do fine in the ground or in containers (I have a nursery so have to keep mine that way), and since Tennessee doesn't have a harsh climate, they should do well there, too. If you are talking about the other ones, I have never had luck with them returning whether they are in the ground or in containers. To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure they're supposed to survive. Sorry i can't be more help. I stopped growing those for that very reason.
I've actually wintered over mums in my basement and garage under lights and then planted them outside the following spring. If the plants aren't over watered, and kept moderately dry, they should thrive the following season outside. Spring is the best time to plant them when the soil warms up and dries out. Great plants! I love them all.