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Grower’s Corner: How to Take Care of Mums

Mums (chrysanthemum morifolium) are a quintessential fall floral. Short for chrysanthemums, mums have become a seasonal favorite thanks to their beauty and hardiness. With many colors available, gardeners can create a gorgeous autumnal display.All Posts

In this Grower’s Corner, we’re going to cover ideas for displaying your mums, how to take care of indoor mums, how to take care of outdoor mums, and how to protect your mums from deer and rabbits. But first, some mum facts!

Mum Facts

Most of us can recognize a mum when we see it, but we may not know much about the plants themselves. Here are some facts that may surprise you.

1. Mums are a type of herbaceous perennial. This means that plants that are cared for well will grow back yearly. Look for hardy mums, such as the ones sold at Multiflora Greenhouses, and take care to plant them in a sunny location. A lot of people treat mums like annuals, but with care and know-how, you can enjoy your mums year after year!

2. Mums have been cultivated in Asia since the 700s. In Japan, there’s even a Chrysanthemum Day, which is celebrated on September 9th. It’s an ancient sacred festival that has been celebrated since 910 AD. The chrysanthemum is an important flower in both Japan and China, and each country has a type of herbal tea cultivated from it.

3. Colonel John Stevens first brought mums to the United States in 1798. Two hundred twenty years later and they’re a favorite fall floral across the country!

4. The NASA Clean Air Study found that indoor mums can help reduce air pollution inside your home! Of the plants studied, a potted mum was second only to a gerbera daisy in the total micrograms of benzene removed from the study’s sealed chamber.

5. Multiflora carries 25 varieties of mums in 8” pots and 6 varieties in 4.5” pots (with 12 to a tray).

6. Chrysanthemums have come to symbolize joy and optimism.

7. Mums can grow to be up to 2 or 3 feet high!

Displaying Your Mums

Once you pick up your mums from Multiflora Greenhouses, you’ll need to decide how you want to display them. The easiest and quickest option is to place your mums in a pot. An 8” mum will fit perfectly in a 10” pot. To add some decorative flair, grab an Austram pumpkin pot from Nearby Garden Center. One side of the Timberblend pot features a fun jack-o-lantern face, while the other side is blank. Once Halloween has passed, simply turn the pot around for a gorgeous autumnal decoration.

Alternatively, mums are great for planting in your garden.

Taking Care of Indoor Mums

To care for indoor mums, first re-pot your chosen plants or place them in a lovely decorative container. They look great in hanging baskets by a window, too. Find them a sunny perch where they can get full sun for several hours a day. Mums love plenty of sunshine!

Check your mum’s water levels daily, and when the top soil is dry, water them at their base until water beings to fill your drip tray.

If your mums are for decorative purposes, feel free to remove dead blooms and pinch back the stems to keep your plant looking attractive for as long as possible. As a perennial, your mum can actually continue living once all of its blooms have wilted. At this point, it will look like a small shrub. If you like, continue caring for it through the winter. Reduce watering during the cold months. In spring, fertilize your plant. Once you start seeing new growth, pinch it back if you’d like your mum to flower in the fall. Otherwise, your mum will flower in the spring or summer.

Taking Care of Outdoor Mums

If you are thinking of keeping your potted mums outside, place them in a sunny area. Because of their penchant for sunshine, a mum’s soil may go dry quickly. Check them daily and when the top inch of soil feels dry, water them at the base until you see some water draining from the bottom of your pot.

If you want to plant your mums in your garden, look for a sunny spot where they can enjoy at least 3 hours of sunshine daily. Water your plants at the base when the top layer of soil feels dry.

Ideally, it’s best to plant mums in the spring so they have time to acclimate to the soil before winter. However, in warmer climates, like what we have here in North Carolina, planting them in the fall works just as well. If you want your plants to live through the winter, however, you’ll need to take special care of them.

During the winter, don’t prune your mums back. Rather, leave the foliage on the plant. This helps protect the plant. You can trim it back once the last frost has passed. Mulch heavily around your plant to help protect its roots as well. Once spring arrives, give your mums some good plant food to provide them with nourishment.

Alternatively, you can treat your mums as annuals and replant them every year. This will allow you to choose different colors and configurations so you can enjoy experimenting with different plants and colors.

Protecting Your Mums from Deer and Rabbits

If you live in an area that is home to deer and rabbits, consider using safe, natural repellents to discourage them from snacking on your mums. Rabbits will likely find your blooms tasty, while deer will eat whatever bit of the plant they can reach. If your garden is adjacent to your home and in a well-lit area, deer will not be as likely to approach your plants—but bunnies are more adventurous. To help preserve your garden, consider using a natural repellent such as I Must Garden Deer Repellent and I Must Garden Rabbit Repellent. We carry both to make your life easier!

If you’re ready to start your mums adventure, stop by Multiflora Greenhouses to shop our beautiful assortment of fall flowers. Our growers can help you pick out the perfect mums or other fall florals.

 

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