What Are Mums?
Chrysanthemums, or “mums” as they are commonly called, are colorful perennials that bloom in the Fall. Their leaves have scalloped, wavy edges. Fortunately, mums have a slight scent that keeps deer and rabbits away.
When to Plant Mums?
Mums can be planted anytime from early Spring to late Fall. If they are planted in late fall, be sure the ground/soil is warm enough for the roots to obtain water and nutrients. If you can easily move the soil around with your hands, then the roots can grow. Be sure to plant at least 4 weeks before the first expected hard frost, or overnight temperatures below 32 degrees.
How to Plant Mums?
- Select a location in your garden that receives at least 6 hours of sun per day.
- Dig a hole twice size and depth of the root ball.
- Mums like peat moss, such as Espoma PTM8 8-Quart Organic Peat Moss, so be sure to use a plant mixture of one-third peat moss, one-third top soil, and one-third natural soil.
- Fill the hole (to the halfway point) with the plant mixture.
- Place the mum in the hole and make sure the neck of the plant is just above the soil line. If not, fill the hole with more plant mixture until the neck sits just above the soil line. Fill in the hole with remaining plant mixture.
- Pat down the top of the soil with your hands, careful not to cover the neck of the mum.
- Use your hands or gardening tools, such as Fiskars 3 Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set (7067), to create a moat around the perimeter of the mum. This keeps the water from running off and allows the water to soak the plant.
- Apply enough water to soak the root ball.
After a couple of weeks, apply an organic fertilizer, such as Espoma PT4 4-Pound Plant-Tone Organic 5-3-3 Plant Food. This gives the plant the proper nutrients for root growth. If you are planting in late fall, do not apply fertilizer. Wait until early Spring to apply organic fertilizer. Keep an eye on the plant for the next several weeks. If the leaves begin to droop, apply water. To learn more about how often to water, click here.
How Often to Fertilize?
Once you notice new growth in the Spring, begin applying organic fertilizer every few weeks. If you want large mums in the Fall, be consistent about fertilizing every few weeks.
What’s the Secret to Beautiful Fall Blooms?
By mid-summer, you will notice the mum starting to form flower buds. That’s when you know it’s time to prune. If you cut the mum back by the 4th of July weekend, it will force the mum to bloom in the Fall. That’s the secret to Fall blooms — use quality pruning shears, such as Fiskars 25-33 Inch Power-Lever Extendable Hedge Shear (9169), to cut the mum back about a third off the top. Apply water just after pruning because pruning causes a little shock to the mum. To see how to cut back mums in mid-Summer, click here. For beginner gardeners, this is truly the secret to growing mums!
What To Do After Fall Blooms?
Keep the mum’s stems and foliage during the winter months. It may not look attractive, but it helps keep the plant warm and provides nutrients to the plant. In early Spring, begin looking for new growth. Small green leaves will begin to grow at the base of the plant. At this point, you can carefully cut off the dead stems. Do not begin fertilizing until the temperatures remain above 50 degrees at night.
Mums are very easy to grow, and will bloom every Fall if you know the secrets to forcing beautiful Fall blooms.
This video shows the 4 mums just starting to bloom:
This video shows the 4 mum blooms beginning to open up:
Check with your local Home Depot, Lowe’s or online Burpee Gardening for their selection of Chrysanthemums! To see more Gorgeous Flowers, watch our Gorgeous Flowers playlist on YouTube! To learn how to plant, fertilize and prune your way to a gorgeous garden, subscribe to our YouTube channel!