Mums – October Plant of the Month

Yellow Mums

Chrysanthemums, more commonly known as Mums, are a fall staple. They begin blooming in late September to early October and can last well into November. Profuse bloomers, their button-like flowers average 1-2″ in diameter. Those flowers come in various shades of red, orange, yellow, purple, pink, bronze, white and even green!

There are a few tricks to getting the most out of these beautiful seasonal plants and getting the longest bloom period possible:

  1. Don’t pick Mums that are in full bloom, they’ve reached their peak and will start to fade soon. Instead, select ones with buds that either haven’t opened yet or that are just starting to open.
  2. Keep an eye on how much sun they’re getting. While Mums do best in full sun,they bloom much faster in it. To slow that blooming down, set your plants in an area that gets partial shade or is protected from the intensity of the afternoon sun.
  3. Be aware of the temperatures. They will bloom faster in higher temperatures, shortening your bloom period. While it can be tempting to purchase your mums when you see them start to pop up in stores in August, wait till the middle or end of September. 

Caring for Your Mums

While they are growing, Mums prefer full sun. As mentioned above, you can limit the amount of sun they get to lengthen the bloom period.

Mums prefer well drained soil, overwatering can lead to root rot. It’s also important to make sure that you are watering the soil directly. Watering from above can lead to fungal issues and the dense foliage can prevent the water from reaching the soil.

Deadhead spent flowers to extend bloom time. This also keeps them looking neat and fresh during the season.

While commonly treated as a seasonal plant, in this area Mums are perennials. They can be planted in the garden or a larger container to be enjoyed year after year. To get the clean, rounded shape associated with Mums, pinch back the top 2” to 3” of the plants once they are 8” to 10” tall. Pinch them back every other week until July. After that, you can leave them to their own devices.