Chrysanthemums or mums are flowering plants that can be grown in containers or your garden. Their beautiful blooms come in a variety of colors that make excellent for filing in borders as well.
Known as late bloomers, you’ll usually see them start flowering in fall, although their blooming season does begin late in the summer and runs until early winter.
Thus, they’re a great choice if you want to keep your garden, bright and colorful late in the season.
Here’s how to care for mums.
Before you go out and get yourself these beautiful flowers, it’s important to be aware that there are 2 basic types of chrysanthemums you’ll see.
- Garden mums. These are also called hardy mums because they’re able to withstand the colder winter temperatures and bounce back come springtime.
- Florist mums. These make for great houseplants. But, they’re limited to growing indoors. As such, they’re not suited to being transplanted outside.
Knowing the distinction allows you to pick the right one for where you live. It also lets you know how long the flowers you just purchased from the garden center will live, i.e. will they be around for years or just through this season.
That’s because chrysanthemums are both annuals and perennials. Some species can vary depending on what climate conditions you give it.
In any case, one way to tell is by looking at their appearance.
- Garden mums are perennials. Their flowers are smaller. They also have wide, toothed leaves with deep notches.
- Florist mums are annuals. As such, they’re means to last for one season. They also have strappy leaves that are thinner than those of perennial mums.
Of course, many people also choose according to color.
Since mums come in a wide variety of colors, you can use this method of selection. If you do so, choose the lighter hues for indoors and the bolder ones for your garden.
It’s also worth noting is that mums have different cultural connotations. Here in the states, they’re seen as beautiful, bright flowers presented during occasions. But, in some European countries, chrysanthemums are laid over someone’s grave. As such, it’s used for more solemn moments.
Affordable and beautiful mums are among the most popular flowers you’ll see in gardens during the fall.
They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. And, there are over a hundred different varieties around.
Just as importantly, they’re available in a wide range of colors including red, yellow, white, purple, and many more.
Mums stand between 1 to 3 feet tall and are about 1-2 feet wide. Of course, how tall and how wide they actually are will depend on which variety you have.
Best of all they’re easy to grow. As long as you give them full sun and well-draining soil that’s fertile, you’re almost good to go.
But, it’s important to note that their foliage is poisonous to pets including dogs, cats, and horses, although not deadly. They’re less dangerous to humans. Nevertheless, they can cause skin irritation in some people.
Chrysanthemums Plant Care
Chrysanthemums like full sun. But, they can work with some shade as well.
As such, it’s a good idea to give them at least 5-6 hours of sunlight daily. Lack of sunlight often results in lackluster flower production, which defeats the purpose of having them around. You’ll also notice that they’ll become leggy as well.
But, do keep them away from overly intense sunlight during the warmer months, especially in the afternoons.
If you really want to get the most out of your mums, you can give them full sun during their growing season to get the most out of them. Then, move them over some shade once their flower buds develop. Doing so allows their blooms to last longer.
Last but not least, it’s important to be aware that they’re affected by how long the days are. As such, it’s a good idea to keep them away from artificial light sources like those from your deck or patio during nighttime, since this can confuse them.
Temperature & Humidity
The climate conditions your mums will be able to tolerate will depend a lot whether they’re garden or florist mums.
- Garden mums are hardy to zones 4 through 9
- Florist mums like more moderate temperatures that are found in zones 7 to 9
As such, it’s important to know which type you have. That’s because garden mums can withstand the cold winter temperatures whereas florist mums can’t.
The best way to do so is to read the label in the store before buying them.
That said, chrysanthemums also don’t like very warm conditions. As such, keeping them away from extreme heat is a good idea.
Mums are thirsty flowers. And, they have a shallow root system. As such, they do well with frequent watering. This is especially true during the warmer months and when there isn’t a lot of rain.
To help keep the soil moist, you can use mulch to lower the ground temperature and slow down water loss.
And, don’t skimp of watering your mums once the growing season starts. They’ll need an inch of water weekly in the beginning. Then, increasing to a few times a week as the flowers begin to open.
Mums do well in sandy or loamy soil that’s fertile and well-draining. Keep it consistently moist and space them about 18 to 30 inches apart.
It’s also worth noting that you don’t want to keep planting your mums in the same place year after year. This makes them more susceptible to pests and diseases.
Besides fertile soil, you also want to supply your mums with enough nutrients. These flowers feed as heavily as they are beautiful. So, it’s a good idea to fertilize them regularly through their growing season.
You can then stop after the buds have formed.
Pinching helps you get the most out of your mums.
You can do this from spring to mid-summer.
Pinch 3/4 to an inch off of the branch tips to encourage them to grow. Doing so a few times during their growing season not only gives you a more robust plant but also one that has more blooms come fall.
But, make sure not to overdo it. Once mid-July passes, refrain from doing so. You don’t want to do any pinching within 3 months of blooming.
One of the best (and easiest) ways to propagate mums is via stem cuttings.
Here’s how to do it.
- Choose a healthy mum and pinch a 6 inch long stem off. You want to pick a stem with 4 leaves or more.
- Remove the leaves in the lower part of the stem
- As always, make sure that you’re using a clean, sharp knife or shears. This prevents any contamination and allows you to make a swift, precise cut.
- Dip the end of the stem into rooting hormone.
- Place the cutting 1 inch deep into your potting soil.
- Place it under bright, indirect light with warm temperature
- Water thoroughly and then keep the planting medium moist.
- In a few weeks, you should see root development.
- And, within 4-6 weeks your mum will be ready to be transplanted to your garden.