The answer is a bit tricky. Technically mums are annuals. That means that they complete their life cycle within a single growing season, die, and don’t come back.

But this is where the answer becomes complicated. In certain situations, mums can actually be perennials. This means that they will bloom again in spring. 

Your mums may bloom in fall before the winter freeze. Their vibrant colors can mix well with the falling leaves. And then they can re-emerge in spring to add vibrant color to your spring bouquet. But that means that your mums need to make it through the winter. 

How to get mums to return in spring

First, you must pick the right variety of mums. Every variety won’t return in spring. The hardy mum is the one to choose if you’re hoping for a spring return. 

The hardy mums have deep roots. This makes them more resilient and helps them to withstand the winter freeze. 

Floral is another variety of mum. These are very unlikely to come back in spring due to their flimsy roots. Garden centers have mums clearly marked, so it’s important to pick the right variety. At Stockslager’s Greenhouse and Garden Center near Dayton, Ohio, we have Giant Belgian Mums, which, if planted and cared for properly, can often come back in the spring.

There are some basic mum care tips that make them more resilient to the freeze. Make sure to compost your mums so they grow healthier and stronger. And ensure they get six hours of sunlight daily. 

It’s important to bring first-year mums indoors for the winter. The roots are often not established enough to survive the freeze. A cool, dim location is best. That way the flowers stay in a dormant state without having exposure to the extreme winter temperatures. 

If potting outdoor mums for the winter, make sure to remove all the dead blooms beforehand. Once the freeze thaws, you can then safely bring them outside to place them back in the ground. 

Did your mums survive winter? Here’s how to tell. 

How to tell if your mums made it through the winter
Green growth on a mum plant
Upon closer inspection, you can see the green growth at the base of this mum plant. Success!

Inspect your mums to determine how they survived the winter.

If you see some green leaves or flower buds among the brown, all is not lost. Your plant is likely to still be alive.

Next, you’ll want to take a good look at your plant’s roots. Ideally, you’ll see white, healthy roots. This is a good indicator that your plant survived. Even if you see some brown, you’re in a good place if there is green underneath.

However, if your roots are completely brown, there is likely damage and potentially death. 

How to care for mums in early spring so they come back 

Once you determine that your mums still have life, you must practice proper care for growth to return.

Make sure to wait until the frost clears. Now you’re ready to revive your mums. First, you’ll want to remove all the brown from the plant. This is essential for future growth. 

In Southeast Ohio, you’ll want to wait until after May 15th or so. This is when the frost tends to clear. Until this point, leave the brown attached to the plant. That way, the outer layer can protect the green underneath. 

From there, you’ll want to add some compost for nutrients, water them well, and make sure your plants get sun exposure. 

As buds appear, make sure to prune them. And keep an eye out for insects as well to help your plants have a healthy spring bloom. 

Stockslager’s has a wide variety of mums every autumn

Mums can make it through winter. And spring is the perfect time for mums. Just make sure to choose the right variety if you’re looking for a spring bloom. 

If you have any additional questions about whether your plants made it through the winter, stop by Stockslager’s Greenhouse and Garden Center near Dayton, Ohio to ask our gardening experts!

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