How to Keep Your Mums Blooming

Chrysanthemums

Keeping your mums blooming all season long can be challenging, but enjoying vibrant blooms throughout fall is possible with the right care. Understanding the needs of your Chrysanthemums is the first step towards keeping them healthy and blooming.

Mums require plenty of sunlight, well-draining soil, and regular watering to thrive and bloom.

One of the most important factors in keeping your mums blooming is sunlight. Mums require at least six hours of sunlight daily to be at their best.

If your mums do not receive enough sunlight, they may not bloom or produce smaller, less vibrant blooms. On the flip side, too much sunlight can also reduce their flowering.

You ideally want them to get morning or evening sun with a little protection from the mid-day heat.

In addition to sunlight, mums also require regular fertilization, pruning, and pinching to maintain healthy foliage and encourage blooming. Mulching can also help to retain moisture and protect the roots of your mums from extreme temperatures.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the needs of your mums is essential for keeping them healthy and blooming.
  • Mums want at least six hours of sunlight daily to produce vibrant blooms – but too much mid day sun can be an issue.
  • Regular fertilization, pruning, and mulching can help to maintain healthy foliage and encourage blooming.
Garden Mums
Garden Mums

Understanding Mums

Mums, also known as chrysanthemums, are popular flowering plants that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. They are available in various colors, shapes, and sizes, making them a versatile addition to any garden or home.

Mums are generally classified as perennials, meaning they can live for over two years. However, some types of mums, such as garden mums, are classified as annuals, which means they only live for one growing season.

Hardy mums are a type of chrysanthemum that can survive cold temperatures and are often used for fall decorations. On the other hand, indoor mums are commonly sold as potted plants and are not winter-hardy.

To keep mums blooming, it’s important to understand their growing requirements. Mums prefer sun and well-draining soil. They also require regular watering, especially during dry spells.

Pinching or pruning the tips of the stems in the spring or early summer can delay bloom time and encourage the plant to produce more growth and flower buds. Deadheading or removing spent flowers can also promote more blooms.

It’s important to note that not all mums are created equal. Some varieties may require more care and attention than others. Additionally, annual mums will not return the following year, while perennial mums can be overwintered and come back year after year.

Fertilizing Your Mums

Fertilizing your mums is essential to keeping them blooming throughout the summer. Mums require a balanced diet of nutrients to produce healthy foliage and vibrant flowers.

When choosing a fertilizer, look for one with a high phosphorus N-P-K ratio, such as 5-10-5. The N-P-K ratio indicates the nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium percentage in the fertilizer.

Nitrogen promotes leafy growth, phosphorous encourages flower development, and potassium helps with overall plant health and stress tolerance.

It’s important to avoid over-fertilizing your mums, especially with a nitrogen-heavy fertilizer, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowering. Generally, feed your mums with a water-soluble fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season, starting in early spring and continuing until late summer.

When applying fertilizer, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as the application rate and frequency can vary depending on the product. In general, mix the fertilizer with water according to the recommended ratio and apply it directly to the soil around the base of the plant.

If you prefer to use a slow-release fertilizer, apply it in early spring and allow it to release nutrients over the course of the growing season gradually. This can be a convenient option for gardeners who prefer not to fertilize frequently.

Pruning and Pinching

Pinching is a process of removing the terminal portion of each stem to encourage new growth and bushiness. On the other hand, pruning involves cutting back the plant after the first hard freeze in the fall or winter to prepare it for the next growing season.

Pinching should be done in the spring, a few weeks after growth has resumed. Most growers suggest pinching mums 2-3 times each growing season.

Carefully remove the plant’s growing tip with a pair of pruners or garden scissors. You can remove as many as half the total height of each stem, or you can choose to remove just the topmost growing point, if you want the plant to be taller. Pinching helps to promote branching and more buds, resulting in a fuller and more compact plant.

Pruning is necessary to keep mums blooming year after year. Established mums should be cut back after the first hard freeze in the fall or winter. Use sharp scissors or shears to trim them back to 2 to 4 inches above ground level and then add 4 to 8 inches of mulch, depending upon the severity of your winters, to prevent the plants from heaving out of the ground. This will also help to protect the roots from the cold.

Pinching and pruning can also be used to control the height of the plant. If you want a shorter, bushier plant, pinch back the stems more often and prune them back harder in the fall. If you want a taller plant, pinch back the stems less often and prune them back less in the fall.

Maintaining Healthy Foliage

To keep your mums blooming all summer, it’s important to maintain healthy foliage. Healthy foliage looks great and provides the necessary energy for the plant to produce vibrant blooms. Here are some tips to help you maintain healthy foliage for your mums.

Watering

Proper watering is essential for healthy foliage. Overwatering can cause root rot and under-watering can lead to wilted leaves.

It’s best to water your mums deeply once a week rather than shallow watering daily. This will encourage deep root growth and help the plant withstand periods of drought. Be sure to water the soil, not the leaves, to prevent fungal diseases.

Air Circulation

Good air circulation is important to prevent fungal diseases and promote healthy foliage. Avoid overcrowding your mums and make sure they have enough space to grow.

Prune any dead or diseased leaves and stems to improve air circulation and prevent the spread of disease.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing your mums can help maintain healthy foliage. Use a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of blooms.

Mulching

Mulching can help conserve soil moisture and prevent weed growth, which can compete with your mums for nutrients. Apply a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark, around the base of your mums. Be sure to keep the mulch away from the center of the plant to prevent fungal diseases.

Pests and Diseases

Regularly inspect your mums for pests and diseases. Common pests include aphids, spider mites, and thrips. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control pests.

Fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and rust can be prevented by maintaining good air circulation and avoiding overhead watering. If you notice any signs of disease, remove the affected leaves and stems immediately to prevent the spread of disease.

By following these tips, you can maintain healthy foliage for your mums and keep them blooming all summer long.

Mulching for Mums

Mulching helps retain moisture in the soil, suppresses weeds, and regulates soil temperature. Various types of mulch are available, including grass clippings, leaves, straw, and wood chips. Here are some tips for mulching mums:

  • Apply mulch after the soil has warmed up in the spring.
  • Mulch should be 2 to 3 inches deep and should not touch the stems of the plants.
  • Grass clippings make an excellent mulch for mums. They are high in nitrogen, which promotes healthy growth and blooming.
  • Avoid using fresh grass clippings as they can create a mat that prevents water from reaching the soil.
  • Dry grass clippings are ideal for mulching mums. Spread them evenly around the base of the plant.
  • Wood chips are another popular mulch for mums. They are long-lasting and add organic matter to the soil as they decompose.
  • Avoid using black plastic or landscape fabric as mulch for mums. They can trap heat and moisture, which can lead to root rot and other problems.

In conclusion, mulching is an easy and effective way to keep mums blooming throughout the summer. Choose the right type of mulch and apply it correctly to help your plants thrive.

Keeping Mums Blooming

Make sure to plant mums in well-draining soil in a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Mums thrive in full sun, but they can also tolerate some shade.

Watering is also important for keeping mums blooming. They should be watered deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems, so striking a balance is important.

To encourage more blooms, it’s a good idea to deadhead spent flowers regularly. This will help redirect the plant’s energy into producing more blooms rather than producing seeds. Simply pinch off the spent flowers with your fingers or use a pair of shears.

Finally, fertilizing can also help keep mums blooming. Use a high-phosphorous fertilizer formula, such as 5-10-5, to boost blooming. Dilute the fertilizer by mixing one tablespoon in one gallon of water, or according to label directions if they vary from this mixing rate.

By following these tips, one can keep their mums blooming and looking beautiful all summer long.

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