You’ve bought your mums for the fall season and have them beautifully displayed on your front patio. Now a week later, the blooms are starting to die off and you realize all that is left is a green, round plant. Do you pinch them off and hopefully new buds will start? Do you leave the old buds on the plant? Did you overwater? With more questions than answers, we decided to research this common fall conundrum. Below are some expert tips to keep your mums blooming throughout the fall season.
Purchase ones where the blooms haven’t opened yet
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, don’t purchase your fall mum fully bloomed, or even partially bloomed. Kara Lewis, greenhouse grower and manager at Grant Line Garden Center & Nursery says, “Mother Nature is in control as to how long your blooms will last. So purchase them when the summer heat seems to be behind us and we are facing warm days, but with cooler nights. If you wait, you will usually get 6-8 weeks with a good bloom.” However, if you’re wanting that instant display of fall color on your patio or for a weekend event, then purchasing with partial or open buds is the way to go.
Water them at soil level
In the less humid fall air, the soil will dry out quickly. For plants needing to produce blooms, water your mum just enough to keep the soil moist. “To test the soil, stick your finger in at least to the second knuckle, and if the soil is dry, it’s time to water. Learning the weight of your pot is recommended,” says Kara. Another tidbit is to never water from the top down. When the blooms of the mum become saturated with water, it will fade the bloom quickly, so always water at the root.
Set them in the sun
Mums are a full-sun plant. Kara says with most mums being grown in a full-sun field, they can handle the full sun, and will bloom according to the Louisville-Southern Indiana weather. It’s always better to purchase from a local nursery, or ask the garden managers where the plant is grown, since they are likely to be grown for that area’s climate.
Looking for more fall plants to add to your fall display? Add in pansies and ornamental kale and cabbage. These plants thrive during the cool season and will take you into the winter months by being able to handle a freeze or even a dusting of snow.
By Jill Cobb