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How to Grow Beautiful Fall Mums

Fall mums add beautiful color to your porch or landscape when the rest of the garden is fading. Learn how to care for these autumn blooms!

How to Grow Beautiful Fall Mums

When the trees start to change color, the rest of the garden tends to fade away for the winter. But not fall mums! Chrysanthemums are the perfect way to add beautiful color to your porch or landscape. While these easy-to-grow flowers aren’t fussy and only require basic care, there are a few extra steps you can take to make your mums the best on the block.

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I built my modern outdoor planter box late in the season, and there aren't many flowering plants left to choose from. Luckily, the store had just received a shipment of fall mums that will work perfectly for my new planter!

fall mums - both open and closed buds

I decided to go with a yellow monotone look to emphasize the cool geometric design of the planter. I can't wait to see it in full bloom!

yellow fall mums in yellow modern planter

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your fall mums!

Choosing the Right Fall Mums

Those balls of bright color can be quite tempting, but wait! Growers force the plants to bloom early so they'll be full of vibrant color at the time of delivery, but that limits the amount of time you have to enjoy them.

Instead, look for the ones that have mostly closed buds. This will ensure that you have the longest bloom time at home, rather than at the store!

fall mums with flowers tightly closed

You can also order your fall mums directly from the grower. These are usually shipped when the blooms are still tight, so they'll open like magic when you put them in your garden! You can even order them on Amazon!

Re-Pot Your Mums

Resist the urge to just drop your store-bought mums into a pretty planter and call it good! Most fall mums you purchase at your local garden center are root bound, which means their roots have grown to take up the entire pot. This will stunt further growth and make the plant generally unhappy.

rootbound fall mums in pot

The best way to remedy this problem is to transplant your newly purchased mums into a larger pot. Fill the bottom of your container with good quality potting soil. Then, remove your new mum from its store-bought pot and carefully break up the roots with a gardening fork before planting it.

Planting Mums in the Garden

Another option is to plant them directly into the ground. If you purchase a hardy perennial variety, it will come back year after year!

garden of fall mums in bloom

For the best results, especially if you live in a colder climate, plant them at the beginning of the fall season. This gives them time to adapt to their new environment and put down roots before the first frost.

Plant your mums in a bed with good drainage and full sun. If they don’t receive the proper amount of sun, the stems will grow tall and leggy with very few flowers.

Water Regularly

Mums love water, so make sure your flowers receive a good drink on a regular basis. Never let your mums wilt or dry out because they may not rebound after drooping. Established plants need about one inch of water per week to maintain their blooms.

You can also set your potted mum in a tray with a few inches of water to allow the roots to absorb the water from the bottom up.

Combat Insects and Diseases

The most common issues gardeners face when caring for mums are aphids and spider mites. Keep your flower beds clear of debris and weeds and surround the plants with mulch to avoid a bug infestation. If your flowers do become affected by insects, use an insecticide suitable for mums.

Powdery mildew can also be an issue in mums grown in humid climates. To avoid mildew, water your plants at the roots, not on the flowers. Removing dead or mildewed flowers immediately can also help in preventing a more widespread outbreak.

Pinch the Buds

If the plants you purchased from the store already feature a large, full dome of blooms, the pinching process is probably already done. But if the mums you planted last year are just starting to bloom or your plants are small or new, start pinching the plant as soon as you see buds.

Pinching is a simple way to lightly prune your plant, creating a more compact mum with fuller flowers. As soon as the flowers start to show, pinch off about half the new growth at the top of the shoot. Keep pinching every two to four weeks throughout the summer months.

Pinch off dead growth throughout the fall to ensure your plant stays beautiful. Take a few minutes every few days to cut off dead flowers and leaves to make your plant look cleaner, prevent disease, and make room for new buds.

Decorating for Fall with Mums

Pumpkins and mums go together like peanut butter and jelly! You could go with the traditional orange, red and yellow. . .

red, orange and yellow fall mums with pumpkins

Or try the monotone look!

white pumpkins and white fall mums on white chair

How will you decorate with mums this fall? Let me know in the comments below!

Check out these other gardening tutorials!

Jodie Fitz

Tuesday 9th of October 2018

Thanks for the mum tips (and the gorgeous photos). Can you believe I still haven't bought mine? I'm soooo behind! Thanks for sharing at last week's RTT party - looking forward to seeing you at this week's party

Jann Olson

Monday 8th of October 2018

Thanks for sharing these great tips with SYC. I love fall mums!! hugs, Jann


Monday 8th of October 2018

Needed this info as I just bought a few mums! Thanks for sharing at To Grandma's House We Go DIY, Crafts, Recipes and More Wednesday Link Party. I pinned this! Hope to have you join again next week!

Jen @ The Frozen Mind

Saturday 6th of October 2018

I absolutely love mums! Unfortunately, where I live it stays way too hot in the fall for them to do well where I live. But I grew up in an area that was perfect for them. I can still remember my grandmother pinching off the tips a little bit every day so they would be bushier and have more blooms.

Lots of great info! Scheduling on Pinterest and Twitter!


Roseann Hampton

Monday 1st of October 2018

Great tips! I love having mums in my yard this time of year!

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