Hearty, colorful and easy to care for, mums make an excellent choice for anyone looking to add dimension to their garden or a pop of brightness to a porch, walkway or windowsill.
Choosing Your Mums
Common and abundant in a variety of locations, ubiquitous mums can usually be found at any gardening center and are typically purchased as full plants rather than planted from seeds. When you purchase mums, they've most likely become root-bound to their pot, which is something to keep in mind once you've brought your plant home. To keep your mums growing and healthy, repot them in potting soil using a container slightly larger than the one they came in so they can expand. Then, break up the roots by giving them a rub or gently pulling them away from each other so they spread out before adding them to their new pot.
Care Tips for Mums
To keep your mums in tip-top shape, make sure they're being given an opportunity to get enough sunlight to keep them happy. Most mums require between four and six hours of bright light a day, so make sure to place them where sunlight is abundant and they won't be hidden under too much shade. On the other hand, try to keep them out of direct sun for long periods of time, which can burn or harm the flower petals. A healthy balance of either bright, indirect light or sun and partial shade should treat most mums well.
Like most flowering varieties, mums need well-draining soil to succeed, so always make sure to keep mums in yards that dry quickly after rainfall or in potted containers with holes for drainage. That said, mums do need regular watering or they may start to wilt, and it's not recommended that you let your mums dry out between waterings. In most cases, mums need about one inch of water per week, but keep an eye on your mums' preferences to determine the proper amount. To water mums, simply pour water into the soil from the top until it runs all the way through to the drainage holes. If water has collected in the dish, be sure to empty it after a couple of hours to prevent rotting or disease.
Signs to Look Out For
Even with the best of care, mums can sometimes succumb to signs of distress, whether that be from over watering, under watering, or simply old age. Maintain your mums by removing the dead or old parts, which is a process known as "deadheading." To do this, simply look for dried or faded flowers and cut the stem back with shears or scissors to about one-third of its length to encourage healthy growth. If the flowers or leaves toward the base of the stem look brown or start to droop, add more water to your mums' routine.