When it comes to getting hardy, bed-planted mums to bloom this fall, it’s all about providing them with a little summertime TLC.
Each and every fall, millions upon millions of mums are sold as potted and container plants.
And with good reason – their gorgeous colorful blooms are the perfect compliment to any autumn display.
But many of those potted mums are actually hardy. And that means they can be planted permanently into the landscape to be enjoyed for years to come. ( See : Overwintering Mums – How To Keep Hardy Mums Year After Year)
Hardy Mum Care
Left on their own, hardy mums grown in the landscape tend to bloom much earlier in the growing season than potted mums found in the fall.
Just how early depends of course on what growing zone you might happen to live in. But in most cases, it is far earlier than the desired fall blooming season that mums have become famous for.
But the good news is, with just a little summertime care and pruning, it’s easy to get your chrysanthemums to bloom just as the fall season hits full stride.
And even better, they will be a healthier, stronger plant – with more blooms than ever!
How To Get Your Mums To Bloom This Fall
Cutting Back And Pinching Blooms
Ideally, mums should be cut back and pruned starting in early to mid-June.
This keeps the plant more compact and full of foliage. And in the end, results in a thicker, bushier plant with more shoots for blooms.
As plants reach 4 to 6 inches in height, prune them back a few inches. Plants can either be sheared off, or simply pinched back by hand.
It forces the plant to grow more shoots at a lower height, creating a fuller mum. In addition, pruning helps to delay the timing of the buds that form.
All of which will help your mums to bloom later in the fall, instead of late summer.
This can be done several times heading into early to mid-July, but should always be done before bloom heads have started to form on the plant.
When To Stop Pinching Back
Although July 4th has long been a traditional stopping point for pruning and pinching mums, they can be pruned back a bit up until the last week of July if buds have not yet formed.
After this point, all pruning should stop to allow the plants time to develop their blooms.
Pruning any later simply doesn’t allow enough time for the blooms to fully mature before heavy frosts.
Fertilizing – How To Get Your Mums To Bloom This Fall
Mums are heavy soil feeders, using a lot of nitrogen and phosphorous to power their growth.
So much so, that they can easily deplete the soil’s resources of these two important nutrients. Especially if they have been growing in the same location for more than a year or two.
To power up the plant for a great blooming season, use a high quality all-purpose fertilizer to replenish the nutrient levels in the soil.
It is best to provide two separate feedings. One in late spring, and a second application in mid-summer.
The first will help to power the foliage and plant growth, while the second helps mums to bloom in the fall with more vigor.
Even if you missed the first early fertilizing period in May / Early June, a mid-summer application will still help to produce brighter and bigger blooms.
Apply the second application in late July, or the first week of August.
Mulching With Compost
Mums also benefit greatly from a layer of compost mulch placed around each plant. Not only will it help the plant to retain moisture, it also provides a slow release of nutrients to the root system below.
So get those mums trimmed up, fertilized and mulched this summer – and get ready for a gorgeous fall display of color.
Here is to having your mums blooming this fall in a blaze of brilliant autumn color!
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