There is no better way to showcase the changing of seasons than a home garden in full bloom.
If you’d like your own piece of fall abundance in your property, don’t forget to include the brilliant violet, yellow, and red flowers of mums.
Chrysanthemum plants are hardy plants that come in many color varieties.
To get the best chances for success, the first thing you have to do is find out when to plant mums.
When to plant mums? The best time to plant mums depends on what use you want out of them. For an instant pop of color on your garden, plant them from late summer to early fall when they are in bloom. On the other hand, plant chrysanthemums in early spring if you want them to stay alive all through to the changing seasons and thrive for several years.
What Is the Best Time to Plant Mums?
The key to a bountiful chrysanthemum garden is knowing when exactly is the right time to plant them.
Though hardy plants, they still require the basics, such as good drainage, nutrient-rich soil, air circulation, and full sun.
You can begin working on your chrysanthemum plants at least six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area.
Because they have a long growing season, you will want to give them six weeks to get established so that they can survive the heat of summer and the freezing temperatures of winter.
Planting Mums in Different Climates
Aside from knowing when to plant mums, you must also make sure your area offers the right conditions for them to thrive.
Since they are originally from Eurasia, mums will have no problems growing in tropical climates.
If your region has very hot summers, make sure you give them plenty of water and provide them with a little shade.
Unfortunately, any plant would find it hard to establish a healthy root system in areas with soil that is too dry.
Mums especially like humidity, so it might not be wise to plant them outdoors in dry climate regions.
As mentioned, mums are hardy plants, so much so that they can survive in areas with growing hardiness zones 5 through 9.
Still, you will have to take precautionary measures to protect your plants from frost come wintertime.
The lowest temperature chrysanthemum plants can tolerate are right around 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
Choosing Mums Seeds
You can choose to plant mums from seeds, or you can grow from cuttings or already-established plants bought from the garden center.
If you do decide to start them from seeds, you have to expect the unexpected.
Not all seeds will stay true to their parent plant, so you may end up with mums in different sizes and colors.
Though available in thousands of varieties, the National Chrysanthemum Society categorizes mums into 13 classifications based on their bloom forms.
For the best chances of success, choose hardy mums that can survive varying conditions like Kimie, Derek Bircumshaw, and Pompon.
How To Plant Mums Seeds
Are you ready to transform your garden?
Mums can quickly turn a boring outdoor space into something out of a magazine.
Once you’ve chosen the variety to grow, your next step is starting the seeds. Here’s how you can do that easily:
Step 1: Start seeds indoors.
At around six to eight weeks before the scheduled last frost date in spring, you can start sowing your chrysanthemum seeds indoors.
Cover the seeds about 1/8-inch thick with your trusted seed starting mix.
Ensure you place it in an area with enough sunlight and check that the temperatures stay within 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
During this stage, you will want to keep the soil moist.
Then, in about 10 days to three weeks, you will notice that seedlings have emerged.
Step 2: Feed with a starter solution.
Move the seedlings next to a windowsill so that they receive plenty of sunlight.
At around four weeks, fertilize using a starter solution.
Once you notice at least two pairs of leaves, transfer each one to a four-inch pot to allow the roots to grow.
Step 3: Allow seedlings to harden.
To get them ready for planting in your garden, gradually accustom them to the conditions outside for a week.
Place each mini pot in a sheltered area outdoors, but be sure they remain protected from the sun and wind.
Cover or bring them back indoors at night if the temperatures drop too low.
Step 4: Ready the soil.
Find a place in your garden that receives full sun and check if the soil is rich and free of weeds and debris.
You can mix well-rotted manure, compost, or leaf mold with the soil to achieve the right pH level.
Step 5: Transplanting outdoors.
After a week of hardening, your plants should be strong and established enough to be transplanted outdoors.
You will want to do this either late in the afternoon or on a cloudy day to minimize transplant shock.
First, dig a hole big enough to accommodate each plant’s root ball.
Then, remove the plant from the pot and release some of the soil from the roots to loosen them.
Position the root ball gently into the dug hole and then fill the hole with soil.
Lastly, top with about an inch or two of mulch and thoroughly water.
How To Water Mums
As with any plant, mums need a regular watering schedule so that they have enough hydration to grow and thrive.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Tip 1: Check the moisture level of the soil.
If you live in a warm region where it gets upwards of 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, you would want to check the soil’s moisture level daily.
Do this every other day in colder regions.
The key is to keep the soil moist and cool to the touch. However, make sure that it isn’t soaking wet.
If you feel that it is dry, give it some hydration.
Tip 2: Water thoroughly at least once a week.
Chrysanthemums are a perennial plant that requires a careful watering schedule.
To encourage new roots to grow deeper into the soil, water them each week.
Do it thoroughly, making sure the soil is damp up to an inch from the surface.
If you live in an area with dry spells, water mums when you notice the soil around them has gone dry.
Tip 3: Water early in the morning.
To allow the foliage to dry and prevent diseases, water your mums plants early in the morning.
Also make sure that they get proper air circulation by getting rid of obstructions.
How To Grow Mums
Planting and watering are not the only things you should focus on if you want to grow chrysanthemums.
You also have to follow a few extra steps to ensure you give them the best growing conditions.
Tip 1: Protect against wind and direct sun.
Growing plants may not be strong enough to withstand direct exposure to the hot sun and strong winds.
As such, you would want to protect them until they have become established.
Tip 2: Use light fertilizer.
Did you plant your mums in the spring? If so, a monthly fertilization schedule is needed up until fall, when they bloom.
A 5-10-10 fertilizer is the ratio recommended for growing mums.
What this means is that there should be twice as much potassium and phosphorus as nitrogen in the solution.
Tip 3: Pinch the plants up.
To encourage more blooms, pinch half an inch of mum plant’s top-end while it’s still growing.
You will know they are ready for pinching when they are about six inches tall.
Do this by hand or with a pair of garden shears for a more precise edge.
Tip 4: Regularly prune.
Come fall, and your mum plants will have been grown enough to produce blooms.
By then, you will notice that some flowers will wilt sooner than others.
It would be best to remove these dead blooms immediately to encourage branching and more flowers to grow.
Tip 5: Add mulch.
As soon as the ground freezes, you would want to protect your chrysanthemum plants from the cold by using mulch.
To survive the winter, place about one to two inches of mulch on top of the soil’s surface and remove only when spring arrives.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Mums?
If you started your mums from seeds, it might take a few rounds before reaching its full growth potential.
In comparison, planting already-established potted mums you bought from the grocery store have had a headstart on the growing season.
Planted in spring, early bloomers will begin showing flowers by late July.
On the other hand, expect early fall bloomers to show off their beautifully colored flowers by September.
Late fall bloomers will only fully bloom in October.
Chrysanthemums are day-length-sensitive perennial plants, so you will want to have a set strategy as to when you start planting them.
They also have a long growing season, so careful planning is really a must.
With this guide, we’re hopeful that your garden will have its own display of vibrant chrysanthemums come fall.