Mum’s the word! Read our secrets for getting your mums planted now and how you can help them survive the winter.
While planting chrysanthemums (mums) is usually done in spring, it’s not too late to plant them now and cross your fingers for beautiful blooms for next spring and summer. Use our guide to help you choose, plant, and care for your many mums!
Mum’s the Word
If you didn’t notice, chrysanthemum is a bit of a mouthful, so we call them mum for short. They come in so many varieties, both annual and perennial, that you’ll never be short on options to create a uniquely beautiful garden or fall centerpiece. Here at Wallace’s Garden Center, we grow over 14,000 mums, so we like to think that we can find the perfect mum-match for you.
How to Plant Mums in Fall
If you’re reading this late in the growing season, fear not! There’s still time to plant your mums to enjoy for the rest of this year and then (hopefully) into next year. It takes a little bit of care and patience, but it’s worth the investment!
Where Should You Grow Mums?
Before you get them into the ground, you’ll need to make sure you have the right soil, space, and light for them to grow. Even if you are planting them in August, make sure the soil is well-draining, the sun is full, and the environment is moist during their growing season.
Soil: Dig down about one foot to get the soil loose, and mix in some compost. The soil should be slightly crumbly.
Sun: Check the light conditions in your yard to make sure they will get at least 4-6 hours of sunlight while growing. They can be a bit sensitive to burning, so a bit of shade during the intense afternoon heat isn’t a bad idea.
Space: It’s not just about how you choose to plant mums; it’s also where. Mums need good air circulation, or else they may develop fungal infections or mildew. All you have to do is read and follow the directions on your plants to make sure your varieties are spaced out properly.
How to Care for Mums Over Winter
Here’s a bit of quick plant science: In order for your mums to survive the winter, you actually want them to stay frozen. Repeated freezing and thawing of your plant essentially confuses your plant: it starts to get ready to grow and then realizes it’s not safe yet. As it gets ready to grow at the wrong time, it can create root damage and kill them. Overwintering mums involves letting them go dormant naturally and then providing them with proper insulation, so they stay in the dormant state until the spring thaw.
More Mum Care Tips
Insulate, Insulate, Insulate! There are a few options to protect your mums during winter. You can add several inches of mulch, straw, bark, or wood chips. This protects the roots from being exposed to too much light or heat: preventing the unwanted freeze and thaw effect. Pruning for Fall Blooms. If you want your mums to bloom next fall, keep in mind that they require some pruning.
Depending on your growing zone, many people mark July 4th in their calendars as a day to prune mums so they can have a second wind for fall. Pruning will give them a new life, new blooms, and prevent them from getting leggy. Fail? Fear Not. Even if you learn how to plant mums and try to overwinter them, it may not work out. Sometimes the weather or other elements kill off our efforts.
You can always try again and visit us, or opt for new annuals each year. If you’re excited as we are to add chrysanthemums to your garden, stop by to see our collection of mums for sale in Bettendorf. We’ll help you troubleshoot any mum-growing problems you may have and share our experiences with you. Mum’s the word!