(Updated June 16, 2023)
Properly caring for mums will allow you to keep them blooming all season long. Whether you plan on keeping them indoors or outdoors, choose plants with lots of buds that haven't yet bloomed. This will help you enjoy these beautiful flowers even longer.
Table of Contents:
- How to Care for Potted Mums
- How to Care for Indoor Mums
- Caring for Outdoor Mums
- How to Keep Mums Blooming
- How to Care for Mums in the Winter
- How to Care for Mums in the Fall
- How to Care for Mums in the Spring
- How to Care for Mums in the Summer
- Prevent Weeds Near Your Mums
How to Care for Potted Mums
You’ll find mums available in hundreds of forms and colors, and it’s a joy to have them in your home or garden. If you don’t know how to care for potted mums, don’t worry; we’ll guide you. When you’re buying mums in pots, be sure to select plants with deep green foliage that are not wilted. You’ll also want the container they’re in to have moist soil. Once you bring a potted mum home from the nursery, you’ll want to do the following:
- Repot your mums from their nursery container into a larger pot. Repotting provides them with more soil and gives the roots more room to spread.
- When you remove the mum from its nursery container, you’ll want to spread out the root ball, then place the mum in its new pot. Maintain the depth of soil it was initially grown in. You’ll want to allow an inch at the top of the new container to hold water until it’s soaked into the soil.
- Keep the soil in the new pot moist but not soaking wet. Mums are thirsty plants, so be sure to check the moisture often. We recommend watering mums in the morning.
- To get the most out of potted mums, place them in an area with full sun in the morning. The location should also receive partial shade in the afternoon.
How to Care for Indoor Mums
Most people aren't aware that mums are usually root-bound when you purchase them. This means they need a larger pot to remain healthy and vibrant. Be sure to use a quality potting soil mix, placing a layer in the bottom before breaking up roots and putting your mum in the new pot. Once you've repotted your mums, all you need to do is:
- Place your mums in a sunny area in your home. Find a window that allows lots of sun in, and make sure the mums get at least four hours of direct sunlight a day (4 to 6 hours is ideal).
- Keep the soil moist. You don't want to over-water your mums, but it could be disastrous if they get too dry. If this does happen, you can place the pot in a container or bucket with 2 or 3 inches of water that the plant can absorb. Be sure to water at the base of the plant.
- Deadhead often. Wilted flowers and dead stems compete for the water and nutrients the newer buds and blooms need to flourish. Removing them helps your plant to bloom longer.
- Once your mums stop blooming, you can place them in the ground outdoors once the weather starts to warm. Mums will only bloom once inside, but keeping the plant green until you transplant it outdoors will allow you to enjoy it next season.
Caring for Outdoor Mums
Much like indoor mums, planting outdoors or in the garden requires abundant sunlight. Be sure to plant your mums in well-draining soil; organic soil or compost will produce vigorous, healthy mums. Other essentials when caring for mums planted outdoors include:
- Give mums plenty of space. It's wise to plant your mums about 18 inches from other plants, so their roots have room to expand.
- Water, but not too much. Water beneath the foliage at the soil level, as watering the blooms and leaves can result in fungi. After the first week, water frequently, and ensure your mums get at least an inch of water per week.
- Deadhead. As mentioned above, removing wilted blooms and dead stems or leaves helps your mums bloom for an extended time.
- In colder climates, your mums may need to be mulched using leaves, wood chips, or straw. Mulch should be about 3 or 4 inches in depth and surround the entire base of your mums.
- If frost gets to your mums, don't fret. Just prune them back until there's only about an inch of stems above the ground, and leave the mulch remaining around the plant. Come spring; your mums will regenerate with the warmer weather.
If you’re looking to take your garden and landscaping to the next level, The Grounds Guys can create a beautiful landscape design that incorporates your mums and other plants to transform your outdoor space!
How to Keep Mums Blooming
Mums add a beautiful splash of color. When the plants are in full bloom, they’re ideal for brightening up weddings, late summer, or fall events. But they don’t often last beyond the fall season unless you know some of these tips to keep your mums blooming!
- If you’re looking for mums that can last beyond fall, avoid purchasing any that are already flowering.
- Choosing partial shade over full sun can extend the plant’s healthy look. Try placing your mums in a location such as underneath trees or a canopy of bushes. They also do well on porches and patios.
- As we mentioned earlier, mums are thirsty plants. Don’t let them completely dry out. If they’re in pots, water them at least once a day!
- The way you water mums plays a significant role in their blooming cycle. As thirsty as mums are, they don’t like to be saturated in water, so try watering around the edges of your container or pot.
- If you want your mums to flower out of season, it can be done with a little garden trickery. Mums have their own form of circadian rhythm, which triggers them to bloom each fall when the days (and available sunlight) get shorter. Reducing the amount of exposure your mums get to sunlight can trick them into thinking the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, which can trigger them to bloom.
How to Care for Mums in the Winter
If your mums are outdoor plants, the easiest way to ensure they stay alive through the winter is to bring them indoors. Of course, you can also winterize your garden mums by following these steps:
- Prepare them by adding up to 4 inches of mulch, like straw or shredded hardwood, and placing it around the plants.
- Clean up the plant by pinching off any dead blooms. Be sure to leave the branches intact.
- Wait until spring to prune old stems.
- Note: if you live in a frigid climate or if drainage is poor, your mums may not survive the winter.
How to Care for Mums in the Fall
If you’re buying potted mums in the fall, place them in a location with bright indirect sunlight. Be sure to keep their soil moist but not soggy. Soaking their foliage can lead to diseases, such as leaf spots or bacteria spots, so be sure to water at the base of the plant.
How to Care for Mums in the Spring
Colorful, blooming mums seem to be everywhere in the fall. If you planted or bought potted mums, then be sure to give them proper care in the spring too, so you get another year out of them. Here are some springtime tips for your mums:
- Prune all the dead parts and go down to the roots.
- Add a bit of fresh fertilizer or compost to the soil.
- Relocate the pot to a location with full sun.
- Give them plenty of water, but don’t saturate the soil.
- Watch for insect infestation and apply a pesticide if needed.
- As mums grow through spring, they start producing buds. It’s a good idea to prune the buds and pinch them back until they develop new leaves, branches, and flowers.
How to Care for Mums in the Summer
You’ll want to ensure that your mum’s blooms stay healthy during the summer so you can enjoy their colorful show in the fall! Here are some tips on how to care for mums in the summer.
- Water them frequently, but don’t overwater where the soil is always damp.
- Check their moisture levels daily. You may need to water deeply once a week.
- You can preserve moisture and keep weeds at bay by mulching with composted leaves or other material.
- Add fertilizer once a month to help stimulate strong plant roots to prepare for the fall and winter.
Prevent Weeds Near Your Mums
Your mums have an enemy: weeds. Weeds will compete with your mums for space, sun, water, and nutrients. Protect them with proactive weed control, such as using a weed barrier, mulch, and compost. Learn more by reading, How to Kill Weeds in Flower Beds.
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We’re happy to answer your landscaping questions, whether you want to learn how to care for mums or are looking for new ways to transform your outdoor space. Contact us today for more information about our full range of landscaping services.