Caring for Mums

It’s finally feeling like fall! Mums are the perfect way to decorate your home for the season. Mums are super simple to care for while adding a ton of color to your porch or patio.

Chrysanthemums are lovely, semi-hardy perennials that bring color to the late summer and early fall garden. Here are a few tips to help ensure growing success. Plant early to establish good roots. It’s fine to keep mums in their pots for display, but for successful over-wintering, they should be planted in the ground as soon as possible. Plant garden mums in full sun and well-drained soil. Add humus, leaf mold, and manures to help loosen compacted soil.

Mums bloom at different times throughout the fall. Some in September and some in October.

Mum Bloom Dates:

Blooms last for about 4 weeks. Cool weather can extend this, and rainy warm weather can shorten bloom time. Most mums will be done blooming in the beginning of November. Plant mums 24 inches apart or more. You will be surprised at how much growth they put on the second year. Keep moist throughout the fall so they do not suffer stress and can get well established before winter arrives.

Do not cut stems off after mums have finished blooming or leaves turn brown.

At the holidays, cut the branches off your Christmas tree when you are done with it. Lay them across the mums about two layers thick. If you don’t have a tree, many tree lots will give you trees after the holidays free of charge. A layer of straw can be used if it is not applied too heavily. The idea is to keep the mums at an even, cold temperature. Cold doesn’t usually kill mums, heaving from frost does. Leave your mums covered until mid March or about the time the crocuses bloom.

In the spring after uncovering and new growth has appeared, trim back dead stems to the ground and feed the plants with a 5-10-10 formula fertilizer.

To keep the small, compact bushy shape that typifies your mums the first year, cut them back to a height of 8 inches until mid-July or as late as August. They grow quickly and you may have to cut them back several times through the season. After mid-July, let the stems grow and form flower buds. Do not trim stems once buds have formed. Without the “haircuts” your mums will still bloom but they will be taller and may need support when in flower.

Mum plants can be divided every other year. To divide, wait until early spring, dig up the clump and cut into sections.

Check out our short video on tips for caring for mums:

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