Many home landscapes have hardy mums included. They are loved for their great fall
displays. Some of you may pick up mum plants in the spring to plant in your perennial gardens
and ower beds. Sometimes they are also grown in pots. A frequently asked question, “How do
you care for them to get those beautiful fall mounds of color?
Plant mums in a sunny location. They will grow best in a minimum of four to six hours.
They do prefer well drained soils with good organic material added if needed. Usually mums are
spaced 18 to 24” apart. This gives them room to grow and spread. Mulching around mums is
important to keep the soil cool and moist and prevent weed growth.
Pinching back your mums is important. Have you had trouble with your mums falling over
or splitting apart? When planting mums in the spring you should trim o one third of the stems
and foliage. If they are six inches tall cut them back to four inches. This will help the plant adjust to
planting and put more energy into the root system. Pruning or trimming every two to three weeks
will keep them short and promote branching, maintaining approximately an eight inch tall plant.
Do this until the Fourth of July. This is how you can achieve those beautiful mounds of color in the
Fertilize with a good garden fertilizer at the time of planting and again as recommended
on the container or bag. Watering is important. Water as you water other perennials. They need
about a one inch equivalent per week to keep growing.
Following these instructions should provide you with a nice fall display of color:
In the fall after a killing frost you can remove the old foliage, and place a layer of mulch
over the mum plants. It is important to check periodically in late February and early March for new
growth. Once you see it appearing remove most of the mulch leaving just enough to protect the
young tender growth.
Potted mums are often overwintered by placing them in a location that they can be
entirely covered with mulch, pot and all. Along a fence or retaining wall that you can pile the
mulch against works really well. Treat them the same as those planted in the ground, check often
in the spring for new growth and uncover the foliage as it appears. The pot can stay covered until
late April or early May. The pots can then be moved to your patio or deck. Pinch back according to
instructions for newly planted. Fertilize to encourage new growth. Mums are usually hardy but
sometimes they do not make it through the winter even with the best of care.
If you have any additional questions about caring for mums or other perennial plants feel
free to call the professionals at Landscape Consultants.