Next to pumpkins on the porch, there’s nothing that signals the arrival of autumn like mums. Whether in pots on the front step or in a well-manicured flower bed, mums keep color alive while the rest of the landscape begins to fade.
If you prefer a potted display of mums, here are a few quick tips on how to keep them in full display.
First, it’s important to know when to buy mums. Mums prefer cooler temperatures and if you snag them too soon, exposure to heat could cause them fade quicker than you prefer. While looking for mums, find the ones that have not bloomed yet so you can enjoy a full blooming cycle as cooler temperatures arrive.
After purchasing, always transplant. By the time you get them back to your home, the roots have likely taken up more space than soil. Without much-needed soil space, mums miss out on adequate amounts of water and nutrients. Break up the roots a bit and move the plant into a larger pot with more soil.
Even though mums are a fall plant and appreciate the cooler temperatures, they still love to bask in the sun. They will need at least four hours of direct sunlight during the day. Larger displays may require up to six hours of sunshine.
Be careful to not overwater (roughly an inch of water a week should do) and water beneath the foliage. Any water around the blooms and leaves can quickly lead to fungi.
When it comes to pests, mums are a hardy lot. However, they are susceptible to aphids. A few squirts of soapy water over the buds and stems should keep them at bay.
Extending your mum’s blooming time can be done through a process called deadheading. Removing any wilted blooms or dead stems and leaves will help focus nutrients to the healthier parts of the plant instead of diverting to those areas that are long gone.
While mums enjoy the lower temps, they do also need a little bit of cover. If you have mums in the ground, give them a little cardigan of mulch to protect the roots.
Speaking of roots, mums’ root systems enjoy lots of space. Plant at least 18 inches away from other mums or plants to ensure they have plenty of room to spread out.
Even when the first freeze has browned your mums, don’t toss them! If healthy still, they can be replanted in your garden to regrow the following season. With the right balance of fertilizer, well-drained soil, and a sunny spot, a cut-down mum plant will flourish well into the spring.
By the way, have you seen what they do with mums in the Lonestar State? Let’s just say the old saying “everything is bigger in Texas” is even true when it comes to mums. Check it out HERE!
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