Tips to Keep Your Potted Mums Blooming All Season
Maintain the beauty of your potted mums all season with these care suggestions.
Having invested time and resources into potting mums, it’s understandable to want to enjoy their vibrant blooms for as long as you can. Familiarizing yourself with the blooming window of mums in your area lets you plan purchases based on your climate zone. This ensures you maximize their flowering phase.
Below are key elements that influence the longevity of mums, along with five strategies for nurturing potted mums to prolong their blossoming.
How Long Do Mums Last?
While mums can be bought well ahead of autumn, they flourish best in colder climates. When potting mums, avoid placing them out in warm conditions or their blooms will fade quickly. Purchasing your mums during cooler times ensures their longevity, allowing you to enjoy their radiant flowers for nearly eight weeks prior to frost.
Extend the life of your potted mums using these helpful suggestions:
📌 Pick Healthy Plants
To be successful, begin by selecting the finest chrysanthemums for your autumn pots. While numerous supermarkets and large retailers stock mums during the fall, it’s wise to shop discerningly. Mums frequently face inconsistent watering, leading to stress, so they might not thrive as expected.
For optimal outcomes, ask about a store’s next delivery date for mums and make sure you’re there early on that day to select the best. Alternatively, consider stopping by a local gardening center or nursery, where you’re more likely to find a broader selection and healthier plants that have been well tended. Regardless of where you purchase, steer clear of drooping plants. Opt for those with more buds than blossoms, as this promises a longer flowering period when potting mums, and improves their chances after repotting.
📌 Know the Type of Mum
Examine the plant’s tag to determine the mum variety and its flowering period. Both florist and garden mums might be options for autumn decorating.
• Florist Mums: For short-term porch decorating before the frost, consider purchasing florist mums, often referred to as cutting mums. These stunning annuals are perfect for brief displays but aren’t equipped to endure winter outdoors, regardless of protective measures. They lack the substantial underground growth required to withstand cold conditions, so don’t anticipate them persisting after their flowers fade or frost sets in.
• Garden Mums: For a lasting perennial choice, consider garden mums (also known as hardy mums). These plants fare better against mild autumn frosts compared to florist varieties, making them ideal for pot planting. To enhance their likelihood of enduring the winter and flourishing again the next year, plant them in spring, post the final frost, giving their roots ample time to settle in the garden.
📌 Repot As Soon As Possible
When bringing a purchased potted mum home, always transfer it to a new pot. These plants tend to be root-bound, with their roots occupying the majority of the pot space. Rehouse the mums in a bigger container, allowing the roots room to stretch and get air. Before this transition, be sure to gently release any compacted roots to promote outward growth.
These plants thrive in soil that drains well, so opt for a potting mix when planting mums in containers. If you’re growing mums in pots for just one season, they can coexist with other plants in a sizable pot. However, if you aim to overwinter your mums, position them alone in a movable container, ready to be shifted indoors as colder weather approaches.
📌 Ensure Adequate Sunlight
Mums require a minimum of six hours of daily sunlight. In hotter gardening zones, position your potted mums in a spot with some shade to shield them from intense sun exposure. Also, if daytime temperatures consistently rise above 80 degrees, safeguard your plants from the strong afternoon rays to prolong the lifespan of the flowers.
📌 Watch the Water
Chrysanthemums require consistent hydration to thrive. Ensure you water them whenever the soil appears dry. Avoid letting your potted mums become dehydrated. Should the lower leaves begin to droop or display a brownish hue, increase your watering frequency. Also, when hydrating your mums, aim to prevent water from splashing onto the leaves, reducing the risk of plant diseases.
What Do You Do After Mums Bloom?
Before the onset of freezing temperatures, give a phosphorus-rich liquid fertilizer to the mums you wish to keep through the winter to boost root development. Once the initial hard frost sets in, relocate your plants indoors or to a garage. Remove dead flowers for a tidier appearance, but retain the branches; it’s best to prune old stems come spring for improved survival chances.
Layer about 4 inches of straw or finely shredded hardwood mulch over the soil, surrounding the plant and distributed well between branches. Afterward, drape the pot with either burlap or an old cloth. As spring’s warmth returns, remove the mulch, allowing new sprouts to emerge, and position your containers outdoors to soak up the sun.