Outdoor Mum Care for Beautiful Seasonal Blooms

Blog Food 9.7.12 001

It’s better to choose mum plants that are in full bud – but not full bloom. Planting mums as early as possible in Fall will help establish deeper roots.

Just when you thought the color had all but faded from your summer landscape… the mums have arrived!  With colors like bright yellow, soft pink, maroon and rusty red, it’s time to brighten things up by planting a few in your yard.  Also available are large potted mums and fall magic pots (with grasses, kale, asters, mums planted together), if you’d rather just set them out.  Keep your mums looking beautiful and returning for many years to come with some simple care.

Late summer or early fall is actually the perfect time to plant and establish fall mums.  The earlier you plant your mums, the more time you allow the plant to grow and establish roots before frost.  Just plant, water and…

  • Continue to give mums plenty of water, especially during dry periods or when mums are planted close to a reflective wall or building.
  • Around mid-November, cut off the spent flowers (or about 1/2 way between top and bottom of plant).
  • Mound 8-10″ of straw, hay or evergreen boughs over the mums for the winter.  Don’t use leaves or grass clippings.  When these get wet, they become mushy and suffocating.
  • When mums come back in spring, remove the hay at the end of April.  Pinch back the plants when they grow 6-8″ in height.  Pinch back once more at 4th of July for a large flowering mum for fall.

Here’s the bad news:  Mums used to be much more hardy many years ago when there were just a few colors.  Now, there are hundreds of varieties!  With all the cross-breeding done to produce new colors, the hardiness of mums has actually weakened.

It’s a 50/50 chance mums will winter over in our midwest area.  As with most perennials, sometimes it’s a matter of where they are planted.  Will the plant be exposed to a harsh north wind?  Or will they be protected up against the house in a southern exposure?

If your mums survive the winter, consider it a bonus!  If they don’t, you will at least have had beautiful fall color!



About the Author: jane