6 Ways to Keep Your Mums Alive This Fall
Although they are generally hardy and easy-care plants, chrysanthemums can be cared for incorrectly and have a difficult time surviving. Here’s what to know.
Only a handful of flowers fully embody the autumn spirit and mums are one of them. In bloom, mums showcase flowers in classic seasonal hues like oranges, reds and yellows that reflect the nostalgic beauty of the surrounding fall foliage. Best of all, they are rugged and hardy, and can hold up to the fast-changing weather conditions outside.
That being said, if not cared for the right way, the chances of mums making it through the colder temperatures are not good. An excess of water, for example, can cause fungus and mold problems on their stems and leaves, particularly during this time of the year, when it’s cooler, darker and wetter.
Here are a few other mistakes to avoid making with your mums:
Big problems can occur if you plant your mums in pots without drainage holes. If the excess water can’t drain out of the container, then root rot happens. The easiest solution to this is to simply use pots with drainage. That way the roots won’t sit in stagnant water and die. For mums planted in a garden bed, you can ensure adequate drainage by planting in soil that isn’t clay-like or extremely dense. Mixing potting soil in with garden soil that seems too hard will help ease drainage issues.
As mentioned before, overwatering leads to root rot and mold issues with mums. But not giving them enough water is problematic as well. If your mums dry out, you’ll see them droop and lose blooms. To ensure proper water levels, water your mums under their foliage so that the moisture makes it to the soil. The soil should stay moist, so monitor closely and water as needed.
3. Access to Sunlight
Moving on to lighting conditions: Your mums need a minimum of four hours of direct sunlight every single day or their blooms will be affected. If you want your mums to keep blooming, then you must place them in full sun (or as much sun as is available) for four to six hours each day. The more sunlight they get, the better the plant will be as far as blooms, growth and hardiness.
When you buy a plant at a nursery or garden center, it’s almost a certainty that it will be root-bound. With mums, being root-bound can lead to larger problems. That’s why it’s important for you to repot the plant right away into a container that is at least 2 inches bigger than its current one. The extra room will allow the roots to freely spread and grow.
Planting mums too close together sets them up to compete with one another for the soil nutrients they need, which results in stunted growth, less blooms and weaker plants overall. To avoid this, make sure you plant your mums a minimum of 18 inches apart in your garden bed so there’s an abundance of room for them to spread out and find the nutrients they need without competing.
Ridding your mums of dead leaves and withering blooms is known as deadheading and is a sure-fire way to keep your mums in top condition after they flower. Deadheading ensures your plant’s energy goes to making more blooms rather than trying to maintain old ones. How do you deadhead a mum? Simply remove any dead flowers and foliage to encourage new growth.