Mums, also known as chrysanthemums, are one of the best ways to ring in the fall season. Whether you’re looking for tiny buttons or large, extravagant flower heads, you’ll find a wide variety of colors and sizes. At the end of the summer, when your garden is starting to look sad, put in some step mums to bring some cheerful color. They don’t mind a little cold and have few pests. Because of their fragrant foliage, rodents and deer generally do not find them tasty, so they are also hardy.
However, if you’ve ever planted mums and they didn’t bloom the following spring, here’s why: Perennial chrysanthemums need to be planted early in the growing season in order to thrive. If you wait until fall to plant mums in your garden, they won’t have time to get established before the cold weather sets in and they won’t bloom. Plant them in the spring, and they’ll be ready to greet you as winter gives way to new life when the weather warms up again.
Here’s how to grow and enjoy these “sometimes” perennials.
What kind of mums should you plant?
In addition to garden mums, there are also florist mums, also known as hardy mums. Zones 4 to 9 are best suited for garden mums, while gift pot mums, such as those found at your local grocery store, do best in zone 5.
Do mums come back every year?
Maybe! How long they last depends on when they are planted. You can’t plant them in the fall because they’re putting all of their energy into blooming rather than root development. If you plant them early in the fall and choose plants that are in full bloom, you may get lucky. Warm climates are also better suited for fall planting. If you want your plants to return year after year, plant them in the spring.
You can divide your mums in the spring if they’ve outgrown their space or become overcrowded by other perennials. Using a trowel, garden knife, or spade, remove a portion of the plant’s stem and replant it elsewhere in your garden. While the new plant is getting established, make sure to keep it well-watered to help it thrive.
How can I make sure my mums come back?
Early in the growing season is the most important rule of thumb. As a result, most local nurseries don’t stock mums until the spring, so you’ll have to place your order online. To plant, make a hole that is slightly larger than the pot but no deeper than the root ball. Putting them in too deep is a common error. Mulch helps retain moisture, keeps weeds at bay, and keeps the soil warm in the winter. Dry weather calls for water.
It’s best to feed the plants with a slow-release fertilizer and pinch off the tips of each branch a few times before July in order to encourage bushiness in the spring of next year. After that, stop pinching, or you’ll remove the flower’s budding buds. If you don’t want to pinch, they’ll still bloom, but with a more carefree, floppy appearance.
Do mums need full sun?
Yes! Ensure that they receive at least six hours of daily exposure to sunlight. If they don’t get enough sunlight, they won’t be able to bloom at all.
Do mums need special care?
You don’t need to remove spent blossoms once the plant is in full bloom because it won’t extend the flowering period any further. Don’t dig them up if they appear to be dead next spring. After a long winter, they don’t always appear right away. Sadly, if you haven’t seen any activity by the end of the spring, they didn’t make it. There’s no need to worry! Replant new mums after they’ve been dug up. You can afford to buy a new one every year as a special treat.