How to care for a mum plant indoors?

Chrysanthemum Morifolium (Pot Mum / Florist’s Mum)

Pot Mum Care Guide

Light

In all cases bright light is required. The weak Winter sun, or early morning / late afternoon Summer sun will be beneficial.

Watering

The Pot Mum has an incredible transpiration rate and this is one of the reasons it is so effective at cleaning the air, because of this you will need to water quite often, perhaps up to twice a week. Keep the soil damp at all times.

Humidity

If being treated as a temporary pot plant there is no need to be concerned with humidity. If you plan on keeping it around for sometime you’ll need to avoid placing it in very dry and low humidity areas.

Feeding

Any decent all purpose fertiliser once a month.

Temperature

Most flowering houseplants, including the Pot Mum, will keep their flowers for longer if the temperatures are on the average to low side, so 10°C – 18°C / 50°F – 65°F.

Repotting

This isn’t needed as it wont be sticking around long enough to outgrow the pot it arrives in. If you insist on keeping it, then normal repotting rules apply. i.e. replace the existing pot with one that is slightly bigger.

Propagation

Hormones are used by the Nurseries to stunt the growth of the plants you buy from the shops, so anything you “propagate” will revert to the natural tall appearance state that you usually see in the garden “varieties”.

There isn’t really any point therefore trying to multiply the plant for indoor use, however if you perhaps want to grow it outdoors on mass, say because you like the flower colourings or design of them then collect the seed.

Speed of Growth

Chrysanthemum doesn’t really grow indoors. However if you plant outside after flowering has finished then it will revert back to its natural growth pattern which is fast.

Height / Spread

As brought, which is typically anything up to 30cm / 12in both in height and spread.

Flowers

Normally the flowers are the sole reason for buying the plant in the first place. The blooms come in a wide variety of colours and different shapes, although the doubles look nice with their upbeat cheerleader pompon like appearance, the single flowers with the daisy like yellow centres are the most popular. You can get them in every colour shade except blue and black.

Are Chrysanthemums Poisonous?

Unfortunately these plants are mildly toxic and an irritant to cats and dogs (as well as many other types of pets).

Anything else?

This is one of the very best houseplants for removing formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia from the atmosphere surrounding it.

Also these plants produce amazingly long lasting cut flowers that can make a stunning bouquet of flowers. You can even make your own if you have long enough stems.

How to Care for the Chrysanthemum Summary

  1. Bright Light or Full Sun Good bright light is a must if you want to keep the flowers vibrant and the plant producing new buds. Some direct sunlight will be accepted too.

  2. Moderate Watering In good light and warm locations you could need to water once or twice a week. Once week or so In Winter or if growing in lower light / cooler conditions.

  3. Cool or Medium Temperature The flowers last longer in cooler rooms, so aim for temperatures 18°C (64°F) and below. The plant will still be fine if you pick a warmer location, just don’t expect the flowers to last for quite as a long.

  4. Feeding If you can, fertilise every months or so during Spring and Summer.

  • Once the flowers have faded remove them, otherwise they could go mouldy.

Chrysanthemum Problems

Pot Mum flowers not opening

Not all buds will open so this is quite normal. To avoid disappointment aim to buy plants which show colour in a lot of the buds. Those which are too closed are less likely to open when you get it home, as apposed to the buds which are showing some of the final colour and look closer to opening.

Flowers fading too quickly

Caused by too much sun, too warm temperatures or not enough water. Check the Pot Mum Care Instructions to see what you should be doing.

Crispy Chrysanthemum leaves

Caused by extensive underwatering, low humidity and too much sun. Pot Mums are tough plants and won’t show side effects of poor care for sometime, so you will normally only experience crispy leaves when you are trying to keep the plant in your home long after the nursery induced flush of flowers have faded.

Remember Chrysanthemum is primarily an outdoor plant, so keeping it as a permanent happy house guest becomes incredibly hard to do as time goes on.

Grey mould on stems, flowers or leaves

These are classic symptoms of Botrytis, caused by cold and / or wet conditions. Remove infected parts of the plant and correct the growing conditions.

About the Author

Tom Knight

Over the last 20 years Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the Ourhouseplants Team.

Also on Ourhouseplants.com

(Article / Gallery) Photo credit of the picture showing the multiple different Pot Mum blooms – Saifullah

Glorious Chrysanthemums: Caring for Potted Florist Mums

Florist chrysanthemums in gloriously beautiful and varied colors and flower forms often appear en masse for sale in autumn, and for holiday decoration such as for Easter and Thanksgiving. Mums are commonly sold as houseplants and as gift flowers year-round everywhere from garden centers and grocery markets to farmers markets and roadside stands in mild-climate California areas.

The varied colors and forms of chrysanthemum flowers range from delicate and lovely to stunning and irresistible. Chrysanthemum flower colors cover the spectrum from simple white to an endless range of pinks, reds and maroon through deep burgundy, yellow and gold, orange to bronze, violet and purple, and even green. In 2017, Japanese scientists created the first true-blue chrysanthemums through genetic engineering. Many chrysanthemum varieties are available that bloom in two or more colors. The National Chrysanthemum Society in the United States has identified 13 classes or types of chrysanthemum flower based on bloom and floret form, including multiple forms of globular bloom, single and semi-double, pompom, anemone, spoon, quill, spider, brush or thistle, and unclassified or exotic.

Care for florist mums is simple. Those who live in areas with mild daytime and nighttime temperatures can grow mums outdoors: place mums in an area receiving five or more hours of morning sun, but afternoon shade. Unless outdoor daytime and nighttime temperatures are mild, it’s best to keep florist mums indoors. Whether indoors or outdoors, they need regular watering, with well-drained, moist-but-not-wet soil that dries at the soil surface between waterings. Avoid wetting leaves. Most mums bloom best and hold blooms longest at temperatures of about 65° to 80°F and with several hours of direct sunlight or bright indoor light throughout the day but with darkness at night. Bloom period may be shortened if mums have insufficient light or are exposed to light overnight, such as from a porch light or indoor light. Deadhead spent flowers to extend blooming period and to maintain an attractive appearance.

Florist mums typically bloom for a few-to-several weeks. It’s possible but difficult to encourage reblooming of chrysanthemums, and different varieties and cultivars vary in their exact requirements for reblooming.

Will potted florist chrysanthemums survive and rebloom if planted outdoors? That depends. In general, chrysanthemums grow in warm summer weather then bloom in response to the shorter days of fall. However, florist mums are often “forced” or put into bloom outside of their natural seasonal period and may not bloom again outdoors until specific conditions are met during their normal blooming season. Chrysanthemums are heavily hybridized, with endless varieties and cultivars. Characteristics and cultivation needs including seasonal blooming and heat tolerance vary by cultivar. If you want to plant your florist mums outdoors in your garden after blooms are spent, it’s worth checking the cultivation needs and tolerances of varieties before purchasing. Florist mums generally do not tolerate cold winters or extended hard frosts. Many mild-summer, mild-winter California areas provide a suitable climate for florist mums to grow and bloom naturally outdoors. Blooming may be sparse or sporadic for transplanted florist mums even when climate and growing conditions are suitable. Many florist chrysanthemums survive hot temperatures for periods in the 90s or hotter, especially with shade during hot afternoons, but temperatures may interrupt or prevent blooming.

With the uncertainties and challenges for reblooming, the relatively low expense of purchasing fresh florist mums, and the many related species in the Asteraceae family that are more reliable in home gardens, the rewards for investing time and effort into transplanting florist mums outdoors may be comparatively minimal. But if you’re a curious or adventurous gardener, or simply have a spare spot or two in your perennial beds and want to tuck in your florist mums after bloom cycles are spent, you might be pleasantly surprised by fresh or repeated blooms over the next year or two.

Other articles of interest:

Caring for Japanese Lantern Plants (Physalis alkekengi)

Saving Pumpkin Seeds: It’s Complicated

Storing and Using Freshly Harvested Pumpkin

Florist Chrysanthemum

Botanical Name: Chrysanthemum morifolium

Florist Chrysanthemum has big, beautiful flowers crowning a mass of dark-green foliage. This is a member of the Asteraceae family, along with daisies, sunflowers and marigolds.

Chrysanthemum gets its name from the Greek words chryos, meaning gold, and anthemom, meaning flower. These “golden flowers” are now available in shades of pink, purple, red, burgundy, white, and yes — golden yellow.

Green Thumb Tip

The secret to keeping blossoms fresh for several weeks is to keep mums in a cool place and well-watered.

Florist mums are not hardy for growing outdoors in cold climates. Tender potted mums sold in florist shops want to stay indoors with you.

Choose a plant with plenty of buds that are just beginning to open. If your florist chrysanthemums came with a plastic covering over the pot, remove it. Your mums need plenty of air circulation. Plus, you don’t want to block the nursery pot’s drainage holes.

You can cover a plain nursery pot by slipping it into a cachepot — a decorative pot without drainage holes. I put pebbles in the bottom of cachepots to keep the pot above the drainage water.

Instant Style for Your Home

Lend any room fresh, seasonal color with a potted mum. Or group a few pots for a big splash of color.

Chrysanthemums are also a stand-out among your green houseplants. Those bright bunches of blooms are even more showy when surrounded by big-leaved dieffenbachia, split-leaf philodendron and monstera. Contrasting sizes, forms and textures complement each other when displayed together.

Temporary Houseguest

Give your plant a cool, bright location, and you can expect blooms for about 6 to 8 weeks.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get mums to rebloom, so it is treated as an annual and tossed out after the blooming season is over. You can put your plant outdoors in the spring to possibly get another season of blooms, but it will never look as good. Don’t feel guilty about discarding your plant when it’s past its prime.

Beautiful Air-Cleaners

Although temporary houseguests, these beautiful mums work hard at removing air pollutants found in homes caused by the chemicals in upholstery, paint and carpet.

Florist mums are one of the best flowering plants for purifying indoor air of formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia. Find out more about air-cleaning house plants.

CAUTION: Chrysanthemum leaves are poisonous. Keep out of the reach of children and pets that may play with or ingest this plant.

Florist Chrysanthemum Care Tips

Origin: China

Height: 12-24 in (30-60 cm); commercial growers treat plants with chemicals to stunt their growth, keeping them compact

Light: Bright light. Flower buds may fail to open without enough sunlight. Keep your mums out of hot, direct sun because they can’t take the heat.

Water: Keep soil evenly moist at all times. Foliage will wilt and flower buds won’t open if the roots are too dry. Flowering plants are thirsty, so check the soil often.

Humidity: Average room (around 40-50% relative humidity). If indoor air is dry, try one of these easy ways to increase humidity for your houseplants.

Temperature: Cool temperatures 55-65°F/13-18°C; Flowers may not last as long if kept in a warm room.

Soil: Peat moss based potting mix

Fertilizer: N/A

Propagation: Stem cuttings

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Chrysanthemum x morifolium

Phonetic Spelling kris-AN-theh-mum BY mor-ih-FOH-lee-um This plant has medium severity poison characteristics. See below Description

Chrysanthemum x morifolium is an herbacious perennial which adds a pop of color to your garden when the leaves start to fall and the colder days start to come. Chrysanthemum x morifolium plants will begin to grow in the summer and spring, but it does not flower until the autumn. The aromatic flowers come in many colors from brownish shades to pastels and vibrant yellows; they can be solid, bi-color, or edged around the petals with another color. The leaves have a curved edge which add to the attractiveness of this plant. It can multiply very fast in your garden beds, making it more than just a potted plant for the autumn. Indeed, you will find this plant next to the scarecrows and calling you to make sure that you add it to your garden. The explosion of color will bring a freshness as the summer starts to fade and one thinks of hot cocoa and warm winter fires.

Chrysanthemum x morifolium grows best in areas of your garden with full sun and well-drained soil. To maintain these plants, cut them back three times during the spring and summer– the last cut around August 15– to encourage bushy, compact growth and prevent spring flowering. They can be divided in the spring to further multiply your plants. When buying from a store, remember to plant these chrysanthemums in your garden; these plants do not die off at the end of the season and can come back for you to enjoy for years to come.

Family name Asteraceae (Compositae)

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves variable in size & shape, entire to lobed
  • Heads of flowers variable in size & shape

Erect, aromatic, perrenial herb forming mounds 1-3′ tall.

Blooming late summer to frost; needs to be pinched several times in late spring to early summer to promote a compact mounded form; utilized in massing, edging, borders, cut flowers, pompons; responds well to additional fertilization; not cold hardy in north, must be dug up and overwintered in cold frames. .

Florists variations:

Cascades: pot plants with trailing growth habit and covered with masses of small daisy-like heads.

Charms: pot plants with a dome growth form and numerous, small, daisy-like heads.

Sprays: Outdoor or interior pot plants with many small heads borne on each branched stem.

Numerous cultivars occur in different cultivar groups:

Anemone-flowered Group: ray florets in 5 rows or less with central cushion of tubular florets; heads to 6″ diam.

Incurved Group: ray florets turned in toward the center, forming a tight ball; heads commonly 6-12″ diam..

Intermediate Group: florets loosely & irregularly incurved or reflexed; heads commonly 6-12″ diam.

Korean Hybrid Group: late flowering, bushy plants for the open garden, will perennialize for 2-3 years.

Pompon Group: ray florets are tightly packed (not curled) forming a tight globular bloom; heads to 6″ diam..

Reflexed Group: ray florets areturned outward and downwards from center; heads commonly 6-12″ diam.

Single-flowered Group: ray florets in 5 rows or less with conspicuous disc florets; heads to 6″ diam..

Spidery Group: ray florets elongate, thread-like to spoon-shaped; heads to 6″ diam.

Prefer full sun in a well-drained, moist soil; bacterial blight, leaf spot and numerous insects are major problems.

Cultivars / Varieties: Tags: #gold#red#white#pink#sun#yellow#poisonous#houseplant#fall flowers#orange#lavender#bronze#perennial#container plant#many colors#colorful#apvg#fall interest#fast growing#cpp#well-drained soil#bicolor#autumn#division#beds#fantz#butterfly friendly

Chrysanthemum

Flower Pictures of Chrysanthemums

Yellow ChrysanthemumChrysanthemum DaisyChrysanthemum Green Pompons
Chrysanthemum PinkChrysanthemum – Yellow PomponsCushion Chrysanthemum

Basic Chrysanthemum Flower Information

Common Names
Chrysanthemum, mums, Chrysanths,
Pompon varieties – Button poms, pom poms,

Scientific Name
Genus species Chrysanthemum
Family Asteraceae

History
Since Victorian times, a special meaning has been attached to flowers. Each flower or flower color is a symbolic representation of an emotion or expression. Native to Europe, Asia and South Africa, chrysanthemums are aromatic annual and perennial herbs.

Chrysanthemum Flower Meaning
Chrysanthemum: You’re a wonderful friend. Cheerfulness and rest.
Chrysanthemum-Red: I love you
Chrysanthemum-White- True
Chrysanthemum-Yellow- Slighted Love

Chrysanthemum Flower Head Forms

  • Irregular Incurve – A double flower with loosely upturned florets. This giant of the chrysanthemum world has a little skirt of florets which are not incurved.
  • Semi-Double – Like the single, this daisy-like beauty has ray florets surrounding a central disk. The rows of rays can be single, double (as shown above) or as many as seven.
  • Decorative – A smaller bloom, usually flat on top with center ray florets incurve and the lower reflex. The inner disk rays are usually completely concealed.
  • Reflex – Typically has a flat top with downward curving (relfexing) rays. The florets overlap each other creating a bird plumage or mop-like appearance.
  • Anemone – Similar to the semi-double but with a raised, rounded center.
  • Spider – A very funky flower that looks great in any arrangement! The fine florets are long, tubular and tend to curl upwards.
  • Regular Incurve – Large flower heads with evenly upward curving florets.
  • Spoon – Similar to the semi-double but with tubular ray florets which are spoon shaped at the tips.
  • Quill – Daisy-like flower head with tubular ray florets which are open at the tip.
  • Pompon – Similar to irregular incurve but tend to be more open and smaller.
  • Single – A single row of ray florets surrounding a central disk.
  • Brush – Also called thistle chrysanthemum, this flower head has a single row of tubular ray florets which point upright.

Astrological Flowers
Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 19)
Virgo (Aug 23 – Sept 22)

Birth Month Flower
N/A

Floral Design for Chrysanthemums

Type of Use: Flower

Form: Mass

Fragrance: N/A

Line: N/A

Silhouette: Dense/Pinwheel

Blossom Texture: Satin

Stem Size: 18-24”

Blossom Size:
1″ -2 ” – Button poms
2″ – 4″ – Daisy mums
3″ – 8″ – Spider/fuji mums

Vase life: 7-14 Days

Chrysanthemum Design Uses
A diverse flower suitable for traditional arrangements. Because of their diverse sizes and shapes, chrysanthemums can be used as filler flowers in floral designs.

Garden mums, the planted variety, are fuller branches of more flowers. Good for patios, not as good for floral design.

Chrysanthemum Flower Colors
Reds, browns, oranges, yellows, green, purple and bi colors available.

General Flower Availability
Year Round, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Wedding Flower Availability
Year Round, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Can I plant chrysanthemums outside?

Yes, but. Here’s some things to know first so your expectations are realistic.

Those chrysanthemums (mums) we see at grocery stores in fall—and some in spring—are not all created equal: there are dozens of mum species and thousands of varieties!

Even when they are sold as ‘hardy’, it may not mean winter hardy. Often it just means they can tolerate some light frosts before dying.

In general, mums can be hardy in zones 4 to 9, but the colder your hardiness zone, the less likely they are to survive winter conditions.

How to Find Your Frost Dates and Hardiness Zone

  • Frost Dates Calculator | This calculator at Almanac.com is simple to use. Enter your city and state or province to find your first and last frost dates and number of frost-free days.
  • Plant Hardiness Zones | United States and Canada

    If you want better odds, your best bet is to track down a plant nursery that has successfully tested specific varieties in your winters. Mammoth mums are a well-known group of hardy mums sold to northern areas.

    If you want to gamble with grocery store mums of unknown hardiness—and why not if you have room to experiment?—your best bet is to overwinter them in their containers in a protected space (above freezing, never letting the soil dry out). Then, you can plant them in spring, providing lots of time to establish strong roots before their first winter in the ground.

    If you just want to try planting them in fall and see what happens, I’ve listed the steps below.

    Mum Hardiness Tests

    • University of Minnesota | zones 3-4 | “Showy perennials that flower from August until frost, these U of M mums are uniquely developed to withstand USDA Zone 3 and 4 growing conditions and will usually overwinter when covered with a protective mulch in late fall. Mums prefer full sun and well-drained soil.”
      . . . . .
    • University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science | zone 4 | “… in research trials at the University of Vermont Horticultural Research Center in S. Burlington, of the 80 varieties trialed over a period of four years, none was found to be reliably hardy for the Burlington area, one of the milder areas of the state. Lack of a good snow cover affected the plants’ survival rate. Many of these same varieties would probably do well in areas that receive heavier snowfalls.”

    Tips for Growing Mums as Perennials

    These tips are for fall planting.

    1 Choose healthy potted chrysanthemums with no sign of wilt or browning. Ideally, they are budding but not yet blooming. They must be winter hardy.

    2 Mums will not tolerate dry soil (they’ll die) so stay on top of the watering from the moment you get them. If it’s hard to check the soil, a moisture meter will do the job nicely.

    3 It’s ideal to plant your mums at least 6-8 weeks before fall frosts to allow time for roots to establish.

    4. When ready to plant, first, snip off the buds or flowers so the plant puts its energy into root production. Yes, I’m saying to cut off the blooms. It’s for the best.

    5 Choose a full sun location (6 hours of sun per day) with well-draining soil. As much as they can’t tolerate dry soil, neither will they tolerate soggy soil.

    If planting several, allow 18-inches between plants.

    6 Hold off fertilizing until spring.

    7 Water deeply, and continue watering right up until frosts begin.

    8 Set aside several inches of mulch (compost, ground-up leaves, bark, or straw) to place around the plant after the ground freezes. Snow is also an excellent insulator.

    9 Resume watering in spring. Check if ‘pinching back’ is recommended for your variety to encourage blooms in fall.

    Growing Mums from Cuttings

    You can also try propagating your mums. The steps are the same as shown here with hydrangea cuttings.

    1. Take a new, green cutting with several sets of leaves, cutting just below a set of leaves.
    2. Remove any flowers.
    3. Remove lower leaves, keep top leaves.
    4. Dip base of stem in rooting hormone and plant in moist potting mix.
    5. Place inside clear tub or cover with large clear bag to retain humidity.
    6. Ensure even moisture.
    7. Keep above freezing in winter (they will be dormant). Growth will resume when temperatures warm in spring.

If you try planting your mums in the ground, I want to hear how it goes. As said, unless you know you’re getting a proven hardy variety, it’s a gamble. But, if you’re just going to toss them anyway, it could be worth overwintering them or planting them in the ground.

Nothing says “autumn” quite like those gorgeous orange-yellow mums that show up in gardens, grocery stores, and front porches around this time of year. But if you want to keep the colorful, cheerful magic going all season long, you’ve got to learn how to care for them.

Here, we’re sharing all the answers to your most frequently-asked questions about how to grow fall mums, plus tips for when to plant them, how to best water them (consistently!), and whether or not to divide them. We’ve even got a few answers to florist-level questions you never thought to ask—but should. Each tip and trick will keep your garden looking lovelier than ever so you can enjoy this plant’s beauty all the way through to Christmas (and maybe even for a little while after!).

It shouldn’t be too difficult, anyway: Mums are typically pest- and disease-resistant, making them an obvious garden staple for gardening amateurs and pros alike.

Whether you’re simply hoping to spiff up the area around your front door or your resident homecoming queen is looking for a fresh corsage, this gorgeous fall flower is the answer—and reading through our guide is the easiest way to stay in the know about how exactly to care for it.

  • Exposure: Full sun
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
  • When to plant: Spring to late summer
  • Recommended varieties: Hillside Sheffield Pink, Clara Curtis, Mary Stoker
  • Pests and diseases to watch out for: Aphids, leaf miners, leaf spot

Eddie Phan

How to Plant Mums

Dig a hole twice as wide as the pot, and place the plant in the hole so that the crown (where the roots meet the stems) are at ground level. Backfill the soil, water and add mulch to retain moisture and keep down weeds.

How to Care for Fall Mums

Chrysanthemums, called “hardy mums,” are not super-heavy feeders, so add a little compost when you plant them, then feed with a general-purpose fertilizer in early summer. Water regularly. In order to encourage a plant that’s less likely to flop over, trim off (called “pinching”) the tips of your plants anytime from late spring to early July, taking off no more than half the total height. You can do this a few times a season, if you like, but not any later than mid-July or you’ll cut off the flower buds.

Regardless, don’t expect all that pinching to produce the nicely-mounded plant you first brought home from the nursery; those are treated with growth regulators to produce a low, dense shape. If remembering to trim new growth seems like way too much work, leave your mums alone and let them sprawl.

Do fall mums come back every year?

Technically, mums are perennials, which means they do come back every year. If you plant mums in spring, the plants have time to settle in and will return in subsequent seasons. But here’s the kicker: Most people plant mums in fall, which is too late in the season to get them established in time to survive the winter.

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How do you divide fall mums?

If your plants are getting floppy, too big for the space, or you’d like to have another plant, use a hand trowel or spade to separate a piece of the plant with the roots, to replant elsewhere. Do this in early spring when you first see new growth.

Should you cut off the dead flowers to help them bloom longer?

This is called “deadheading,” but, nope, mums bloom too late in the year so you won’t prolong their season by removing spent flowers.

Can you grow fall mums indoors?

Mums need cold to initiate their flower buds, so you can’t really enjoy them for years indoors like a houseplant. However, you can buy florist mums, which are grown in greenhouses and given as gift plants, much of the year. But don’t count on these surviving being planted outdoors unless you live in a warm climate.

Do fall mums need full sun?

The short answer: Yes. These beautiful flowers require quite a bit of sun in order to look the way you’d like them to.

“Mums need at least six hours of sun to perform best,” says Marianne Binetti, a horticulture expert and author of more than a dozen gardening books. “Truthfully, they can adapt to a few less hours—but they’ll have less flowers.”

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What soil do fall mums like?

Fertile, well drained soil is important for mums. Why? Well, it may not be pleasant to think about—and it certainly won’t make your garden look lovely—but they do tend to rot easily. “You want to steer clear of any clay or poor-draining soil, as well as low spots,” offers Binetti.

Are fall mums perennial?

Not all. Some mums are perennial, and those varieties are often called “garden mums.” Others aren’t quite so fortunate and tend to die in the cold. Grown in greenhouses and sold by florist, it’s no surprise those non-perennial varieties have been dubbed “florist’s mums.”

How do you keep fall mums blooming?

As described above, you’ll want to take care of your mums to ensure that they continue to bloom. Keep them well-watered—”a mum that dries out will stop blooming,” cautions Binetti—but don’t get the foliage wet. You’ll cause mildew on the leaves.

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How do you winterize fall mums?

Depending on your climate, some hardy perennial mums can be over-wintered depending on your climate. Other varieties of mums—typically “florist mums” or annuals—cannot be grown outdoors over the winter.

With the hardier species that you plan to winterize, remember not to cut them back after flowering. Binetti points out that this is new information to many at-home gardeners, popularized just a few years ago. “It’s understood now that the black stems help to hold mulch in place over the winter, so you don’t want to remove those.”

Once cold arrives, use wood chips around the base of each plant so that a mulch of two to three inches covers the roots. This keeps the plants protected from winter freezes. In spring, you can cut back the old growth, taking care to pinch out the top two inches of mum growth all summer until July. Then, let them flower!

GROWER TIP: “If you’re planting mums in late summer or early fall, choose those in bud to give them the best chance of getting established before winter,” says Nancy J. Ondra, author of Grasses: Versatile Partners for Uncommon Garden Design and The Perennial Care Manual. “Mums in full flower are putting energy into flowering, not into growing strong roots.”

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Congratulations on getting your Chrysanthemum to grow even bigger. This is an interesting question because of the timing of your plant’s bloom. Mums normally bloom for a few weeks in the fall. This means your gift was “forced” to send out blooms at a time it doesn’t naturally give flowers. I encourage you to give your chrysanthemum a chance to become “normal.” You can cut it down to about three or four inches, take it out of the pot and plant it in the soil now. For optimal growth and flowering, mums need at least 5 hours of sunlight during the growing season. Good air circulation is necessary, so give it at least 12-15 inches on all sides. They need adequate watering in well draining soil as they don’t like having their roots wet, so choose your site carefully with these conditions in mind. Add a layer of compost or well rotted sheep manure which will give the plant some nutrients. It is likely pot-bound by now, meaning it has used up all the goodness in the soilless mix. You can also feed with a(n organic) 20-20-20 fertilizer solution every couple of weeks while the plant is vegetatively growing, switching to a 10-20-20 strength when the plant begins to flower. Fertilizer would not be necessary in its second year, if it survives. Chrysanthemums are herbaceous perennials which means they appear to die back during the winter but regrow again the following spring. There are many varieties of mums; we cannot assume you have a cultivar that will survive in Toronto’s hardiness Zone, but you can hope for the best. If you like to leave something for the birds and creatures, you can leave the flowers through the winter. If you prefer a clean tidy winter garden, cut down the foliage after it has been killed back by a hard frost or prolonged cold weather. In the spring, when you see new growth, cut back any dead material and repeat. Always remember to give your soil some help in the form of manure or compost in the spring or fall. Happy experimenting.

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