Mum Plant

Garden mums (Chrysanthemum spp.) are herbaceous perennials within the daisy family and are stalwarts of the flowering autumn garden. When garden centers sell blooming potted mums within the fall, they’re usually used as annuals and discarded when the blooms fade. And when gardeners attempt to transplant these mums into the bottom late within the season, the likelihood is that they won’t make it through winter and become perennial.

However, there are varieties that are truly perennial in most climates when planted within the early spring or within the fall several weeks before the primary frost. Their hardiness, plus their ability to be pinched back during the summer in order that they won’t bloom until fall, make these jewel-toned beauties a welcome splash within the garden at a time when most summer flowers have faded. These plants grow fast, and you ought to have flowers within the first season. Bloom times vary with variety and climate from early September through mid-October.

Botanical NameChrysanthemum spp.
Common NameGarden mum, garden chrysanthemum, hardy chrysanthemum, hardy mum, mum
Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial
Mature Size4 to 36 inches tall and 12 to 36 inches wide (size varies depending on the variety)
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeRich, humusy, moist, well-draining
Soil pH6.5 to 6.7
Bloom TimeLate summer and fall
Flower ColorGold, white, off-white, yellow, bronze (rust), red, burgundy, pink, lavender, and purple
Hardiness Zones3 to 9
Native AreaAsia, Europe
ToxicityToxic to dogs, cats, horses
mums growing in a container

Hardy Chrysanthemum Care

Plant mums as soon because the soil warms within the spring. From late spring to mid-summer, pinch back the ideas and flower buds on all shoots to form the plant bushier and prepare it for a dramatic fall show. For optimal blooming, the plants should be fertilized regularly throughout the season. After the blooms fade, cut the plants right down to about 6 inches, and canopy them with straw or another dry mulch to guard the roots over winter. Established plants should be lifted and divided every two to 3 years.

Mums can make an exquisite impact in containers. But when planted in mixed borders, they’re going to end your garden season with a bang. That’s very true once you pair them with other late-season bloomers, like sedum, goldenrod, Russian sage, asters, and gaillardia.

Furthermore, because mums flower so late within the season, they’re nondescript, though not unattractive, within the garden until blooming time. Thus, they’re best planted next to early bloomers. because the spring flowers die down, the mums will fill in and conceal their unattractive fading foliage.


Mums thrive fully sun but can handle a touch of shade. Generally, flowering is going to be most profuse if they’re grown fully sun. However, in warm climates, the plants often appreciate some shade during the warmth of the afternoon. Mums set buds in response to day length, so avoid confusing them by planting where they could be exposed to bright nighttime light from a patio or window or maybe a streetlight.


These flowers can handle several soil types, but they are doing best in rich soil that has sharp drainage. Poor soil drainage will cause the plants to rot. They sort of a soil pH slightly on the acidic side.1


Mums require tons of water. Give them 1 inch per week during the first seasonthen increase this to 2 or 3 times every week because the flower buds mature and therefore the flowers begin to open.

When growing during a pot, water the soil surface, employing a watering pot, until moisture begins to empty from the rock bottom of the pot (make sure the pot has drainage holes). Water should drain freely through the soil and out the rock bottom of the pot when watering. Soil should remain moist, but not soggy. Soggy soil can cause plant disease and other diseases.

Temperature and Humidity

Mums do best in moderate climate conditions. Extreme heat can cause the plants to struggle. And regions with hard winter freezing can see the plants succumb to cold unless they’re covered with deep mulch. Mums prefer some humidity, but if the humidity is high, confirm they need good air circulation to stop rot or disease.

For fall-planted mums to possess a far better chance of survival in cold areas, you would like to offer the roots and crown of the plant extra protection. First, leave the foliage on the plants until spring. don’t prune them back after frost has turned them brown. Then, either mulch the plants heavily with a minimum of to six inches of mulch or obtain a pot, and move the plants to a more protected spot within the garden for the winter. If you select to maneuver the plants, do so before the primary hard freeze.

In warmer climates, consider heat delay. If you’ve got high temperatures, particularly at night, it can cause the plant to flower later than it always would. Heat delay can cause irregularly formed flower buds, erratic flowering, deformation of the plant’s crown, and other developmental issues. To bypass this problem in hotter climates, search for cultivars with higher heat tolerance.


It is crucial to supply nitrogen and potassium to chrysanthemums during their vegetative phase. Feed the plants before flower buds form to market healthy roots, bud development, and an active plant.2 Start a feeding cycle in March, April, or May, depending upon your zone. you’ll get a time-released fertilizer (12-6-6), which feeds the plants for about three months. With this fertilizer, you would possibly only got to feed the plants once. the overall rule of thumb is to start in any case danger of frost has passed. That way any new growth forced by the nutrients won’t be in peril of injury from icy weather. Established plants shouldn’t be fed after July, so new growth isn’t injured by frost.

Are Chrysanthemums Toxic?

Mums do contain substances that are toxic to cats, dogs, and horses, so look out to plant them where they won’t tempt curious animals.3 On the plus side, mums contain a toxin called pyrethrin, utilized in commercial insecticides, making it a natural insectifuge .4

Varieties of Hardy Chrysanthemums

Many varieties of garden mums are bred. the first species are often unclear, but horticulturalists generally categorize garden mums by flower shape:

  • Anemone: One or more rows of petals with a cushion-like center
  • Pompom: Familiar globular shape
  • Regular incurve: Petals curve up and in, forming a sphere
  • Single or daisy: seems like its cousin, the daisy
  • Spider: Long, curled petals droop down and provides a spider-like look

There also are shorter, mounding sorts of mums generally grouped as “cushion” mums.

You will rarely find named mums in garden centers. to get the exceptional varieties or exhibition mums, you’ll get to start from seed or order from a nursery or specialty mail-order company.

  • ‘Clara Curtis’ may be a long-lasting variety that blooms relatively early within the season with single or semi-double pink flowers.
  • ‘Mary Stoker’ is an early season mum with apricot yellow, single-flower heads.
  • ‘Apricot Moneymaker’ may be a mid-season, anemone-style mum with bronze petals.
  • ‘Ruby Mound’ offers an early-season bloom with large, maroon-red flowers
  • ‘Patriot’ may be a mid- to late-season bloomer with pure white pompom-shape flowers.
  • ‘Tripoli’ blooms very late within the season and has daisy-like flowers of vibrant pink with yellow centers.

Propagating Hardy Chrysanthemums

You can propagate mums in several ways: division, seeds, and cuttings. the foremost straightforward and fastest method is thru division.

  • Division: Divide plants that have grown within the garden for a minimum of two years. Younger plants won’t have a sufficient rootage to survive. By every third spring, divide chrysanthemums to rejuvenate them. do that within the spring. Pick plants that are a minimum of 6 inches tall. take care to not damage the roots. Replant a minimum of 18 inches apart.
  • Seeds: Mums can grow from seeds, but it’s best if you employ purchased seeds. If you plan to plant seeds from your own plants (most are hybrids), the resulting plant might not be faithful the parent. If you’re comfortable with a mystery result, then choose it. Start seed indoors, six to eight weeks before your last frost date, and harden off plants before transplanting outdoors.
  • Cuttingsthis is often a superb method to urge a reproduction of the plant you’ve got . It does away with the mystery that comes with seeds. Although this method does have extra steps, you’ve got to chop a stem that’s a minimum of 4 inches, dip the cut end into a rooting hormone, plant it during a container, wait about four weeks approximately for a root to grow and for the plant to grow another 2 inches, then transplant it outside.

Potting and Repotting

Repotting is that the single most vital thing you’ll do to extend the longevity of your mums. Most mums are completely root-bound once you get them. The roots have haunted the whole pot, which makes it really hard for the soil to retain any water. To report, choose a container that’s a touch bigger than the last container. Fill the rock bottom of the new pot with good quality potting soil. hack any roots you’ll , but don’t damage the roots.

When you put the plant within the new pot, the surface of the soil should be an in. below the lip of the new pot. confirm you’ve got soil, not air surrounding the roots. tamp the soil gently. Give the pot an honest watering until it flows out of rock bottom of the pot.

Growing Hardy Chrysanthemums in Containers

Garden mums are often purchased already flowering in containers. These should be watered daily. Weekly feeding with a diluted water-soluble fertilizer can prolong the blooming.

Unfortunately, the mums purchasable in garden centers within the fall are coddled in nurseries and coaxed to line buds for September blooms. meaning they’re putting an awful lot of energy into blooming, not growing roots.

Planting these specimens within the garden in late summer or early fall doesn’t guarantee sufficient time for the plants to become established. this is often not a drag in warmer climates, where a touch of deadheading will satisfy most mums after bloom, but in areas with sub-zero winters, perennial plants need strong roots to anchor them into the bottom. The repeated freezing and thawing of the soil will heave the plant out of the bottom and kill the roots.

Common Pests and Diseases

Mums can suffer damage from aphids, thrips, and spider mites. Some signs include leaf and stem damage, webbing on the plants, and visual insects. Common diseases include botrytis, leaf spots, rust, mildew, stem and root rots, verticillium wilt, aster yellows, and viruses. If your plant has visible damage or simply seems to be failing to thrive, a disease could be the culprit. Leaf spots and mildew are rarely fatal, but plants with other diseases should be removed and destroyed.

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