Essential Care for Indoor and Outdoor Mums – Potting, Planting, Watering, and Overwintering

Mums are the show-stoppers of fall – the quintessential autumn blooms that give your garden or doorstep bursts of vibrant reds, oranges and yellows. Mums are right up there with pumpkins for fall decor, and we want to give you some care tips over our next few blog posts to keep your chrysanthemums flourishing for as long as possible this season. And with some luck, some care, and some heavy mulching – your planted mums may even come back next spring!

A question we’ve gotten a lot lately is, “How much and how often should I water my mums?” Well, we’re going to walk you through watering them, in addition to other basic steps for caring for both your potted mums, and the mums you want to plant in your outdoor garden.

How to care for potted mums

  1. When you buy potted mums from your favorite garden center (ahem), their roots are likely bound in the bottom of the pot. Planting your mums in a bigger pot will give them room to grow and they will likely last much longer. Make sure to gently loosen the root ball when you repot your plant.
  2. When repotting, use a good mix of potting soil that will allow plenty of drainage.
  3. Your mums want plenty of sunlight, so choose a spot that allows at least 4-6 hours of sun a day.
  4. 💦Watering tips for potted mums 💦
    • When first repotting your mum, give it a really good watering.
    • Don’t let your mums get too dry or wilt between waterings. Water your potted mums at least every other day. They like to get about 1 inch of water per week.
    • Water at the soil level (the base of the plant) and not on top of the foliage. 
    • If your mum does start wilting (yikes!), place the pot in a bucket with a few inches of water at the bottom so that the plant can absorb water through its roots.

How to care for outdoor garden mums

  1. When planting mums in the garden, dig a hole twice as large as the pot. Loosen the roots before planting.
  2. 💦Watering tips for outdoor garden mums 💦
    • After planting, give them a good watering and keep the soil moist everyday until they are established. 
    • Mums don’t like to get dry between waterings, so make sure you water them at least every other day and especially if they start looking wilted. 
    • Just like potted mums, water them at the soil level instead of on top of the blooms. Watering the foliage can cause disease.
  3. To get your mum through the winter, give it 3-4 inches of mulch around the base. Don’t pinch your mums in the winter so they’ll have an extra layer of insulation.

If you’d like to hear more expert advice from Duke Stockslager on how to plant mums in the fall so they’ll come back next year, check out this video and drop by the greenhouse to pick up some beautiful mums to add fall color to your landscape.


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