How can I keep my mums blooming strong and beautiful all through the autumn season? That question is one that finds it way into our inbox each and every fall. And in record numbers this year for sure!
It’s hard to find a more popular plant for fall decorating than mums. Not only are they great for adding a splash of color to autumn displays, they are big, bold and bright enough to create an impressive display all on their own.
With their thick, dark green foliage and massive canopy of flowers, mums are nothing short of spectacular. Especially when they are in full bloom. But one thing is for sure, it can certainly be frustrating when those blooms have trouble lasting long enough to justify their cost!
Chrysanthemums, or “mums” as they are most often called, can certainly be pricey to purchase. And unfortunately, they seem to be getting more expensive with each passing year.
But here’s the good news, armed with a few simple tips, you can get your mums to last longer than ever. And in the process, get a lot more bloom for your buck. With that in mind, here are 4 simple secrets to help keep your mums around as long as possible this fall – and even save them for next year as well!
4 Big Secrets To Keep Your Mums Blooming Longer
#1 Purchase Pre-Blooming Mums
Getting the most from your mums starts right at the moment you purchase them. Unfortunately, mums that are already showing their blooms are not the best choice to bring home. In fact, if they are in full flowering mode, they most likely have less two weeks or less of prime color left.
Mums that are already covered in blooms might be the ideal choice for an instant display of color at a wedding or special fall event, but if you are looking for plants that can last all through the autumn season, avoid any that are already flowering.
Even partial blooming mums in stores should be avoided if at all possible. Instead, look for plants that are full of buds but have not yet flowered. And the tighter the bud – the better!
Mums at this stage will not only last longer, they can be managed better to extend their bloom period to the max with the tips below. One final note when purchasing mums, always try to purchase hardy mums.
Hardy mums can be saved and planted to grow again the following year, making your purchase even more economical! For more on that, be sure to check out our article How To Save Mums! Simple Secrets To Overwinter Your Hardy Mums
#2 Locate Your Mums For Success – How To Keep Mums Blooming
Where you place your mums on display will have a huge impact on their blooming life span. Mums can certainly handle full sun, but all of that heat and light greatly reduce their overall bloom cycle time.
Although mums need sun to develop their buds, once they have them, they will still flower out strongly in indirect or partial sunlight. Choosing partial shade over full sun locations can make a big difference in how long your blooms stay strong. In fact, it can extend their healthy look by as much as a full two weeks or more!
That is why porches, patios and even underneath the canopy of bushes and trees are all excellent choices. Not only do they keep the sun’s rays at bay, they also protect mums from hard rains as well. And as you will see in the next tip, the amount of water and how that water is delivered to your plant can play key roles in their blooming longevity.
#3 Watering Mums For Success – How To Keep Mums Blooming
Now that you have chosen a mum with lasting power and located it for success, the next step is to give it the best care possible. And that not only means keeping it watered, but watering it with a method that helps to extend bloom life, not shorten it.
Let’s first cover how often you should be watering your mums. The lower humidity in fall can quickly dry the soil in potted plants. Especially a plant that is using additional moisture to produce blooms.
Mums require a consistent supply of water to keep their bloom cycle as long as possible. Unlike many other plants, you do not want the plant to completely dry out between waterings. Unfortunately, if they are allowed to dry out for extended periods by infrequent and inconsistent watering, it will greatly reduce their overall bloom cycle.
Check the soil daily with the tip of your fingertips. If the soil is dry an inch or so down, it’s time to water. Most potted mums will require water at least once a day, even more if it is exceptionally hot. But, and this is an important but – how you water them can also make a huge difference in how long their blooms last!
#4 How To Water Mums To Keep Them Blooming Longer
As crazy as it sounds, how you actually provide water to your mums can also play a huge role in how long their blooms stay colorful. For starters, never water your mums from the top down or by spraying the blooms with a shower of water.
When the blooms of a mum become saturated with water, it weakens and fades them quickly. Just as water will bleed natural colors, rain will do the same to the color in the bloom. It also can weaken the flower. In fact, hard rain or watering can cut a bloom’s life span in half!
Instead, water around the edges of pots and containers, or below the bloom line when watering with a hose. The important part is to keep the blooms from becoming saturated. This is exactly why keeping them protected from hard rains can also help extend the bloom life.
So here is to getting the most from your mums this fall – and to keeping them blooming longer than ever! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary
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