What Are Mums?
Mums are perennial, flowering plants that belong to the same family as daisies and boast a variety of vibrant colors. People appreciate mums because they provide a radiant pop of color during autumn to contrast against out-of-season plants. Mums can bloom for up to 8 weeks with the proper care, either in pots or planted. Inside the house and out in the yard, chrysanthemums can be used to brighten your home every fall.
- Florist Mums are your typical “decorative” mums that start popping up all over nurseries and stores as fall arrives. Florist mums are best left in pots and/or indoors because they have weaker roots that produce few underground runners. If planted outdoors, florist mums will act as annual plants because they typically can not survive the winter. Planted florist mums are usually discarded every year.
- Garden Mums are also known as hardy mums because they are stronger and longer-lasting than florist mums. Garden mums are better suited to outdoor environments, with roots that will spread deeper and wider than florist mums. If planted correctly and given the right care, garden mums will come back every year for you to enjoy!
When To Plant Mums
Mums should be planted in spring. Though they are perennial plants, mums frequently do not make it out of their first winter after being planted. Like all plants, mums need enough time to develop healthy roots in order to absorb adequate nutrients. However, mums have notoriously shallow roots that take a while to grow, so planting mums in autumn is usually too late. Planting your mums in spring gives the plants enough time to spread out and strongly establish themselves so that they can return to your garden every year.
Remember that all mums bloom close to autumn, but some start showing their flowers earlier than others. Certain mums may start to bloom in late summer, but others can hold out until October. The earlier in the year you can get your mums planted, the better chance they will have at surviving the winter.
If you are planting florist mums, simply put them in your garden whenever you want a splash of color, but remember that they are not bred to survive the winter and will need to be removed/replanted every fall. Make sure to plant them while they still have some closed flower buds because flowers that have bloomed will die sooner.
Caring For Potted Mums
The type of care required for potted mums is not too different from the care needed by planted mums. First and foremost, get your mums out of the nursery containers! Potted mums should be placed into their new homes as soon as possible because they are already root-bound when you purchase them. Find a larger pot for indoor plants so that your mums can stretch out their legs and thrive in your home, and remember that florist mums are better suited to smaller containers than garden mums.
Follow the steps below when caring for potted mums:
- Transfer mums to a larger pot with premium potting soil.
- Break apart compacted root balls from the nursery containers.
- Completely soak the soil ONLY after the initial repotting.
- Place potted mums near windows if they are indoors.
- Give indoor potted mums direct access to sunlight.
- Pinch off flowers, leaves, and stems as they start to wilt or die.
- Water at the base of the plant.
- Keep soil moist at all times but not soaked.
Caring For Planted Mums
Gardens are basically just large outdoor pots for your flowers. In fact, many garden mums start out as potted plants in people’s homes. Mums only bloom once while indoors, but potted garden mums can be transferred outdoors if they are kept green and healthy until the following spring. Though maintenance for planted and potted mums is similar, planted mums require more TLC because they have to deal with environmental issues and can not be sheltered indoors.
Follow the steps below when caring for planted mums:
- Transfer mums to prepared, well-draining soil in your garden.
- Prepare soil by mixing it with 2 to 4 inches of organic compost.
- Plant garden mums up to 18 inches apart in direct sunlight.
- Pinch off wilting leaves and stems as needed.
- Water early in the morning to avoid fungal infection.
- Water every other day, up to an inch per week.
- Cover the soil with mulch to prepare for winter.
Protect Your Mums!
Caring for your mums doesn’t stop at the end of your garden. Mums have shallow roots that are highly susceptible to a weed invasion. When lawn weeds find their way into your gardens, they will attack and overcrowd weaker plants and root systems. For this reason, weed control is often a necessary part of caring for mums. Thankfully, Brothers offers a premium weed control service to keep unwanted weeds out of your gardens. Check out our other landscaping services to help you protect your plants!