Looking to get more bang for your buck this fall and keep your mums blooming longer, stronger, brighter and better? And even more, maybe even save them over the winter to grow again next year?
One thing is for sure, mums (or chrysanthemums as they are officially called), are getting more expensive with each passing season. And there is nothing more frustrating than purchasing a few mums for autumn decorating – and then having them go out of bloom before the season is even half over!
Not only can it leave your fall displays a bit bleak and sparse, it can also leave your pocketbook a lot lighter if you have to go purchase more to finish out the season.
Unfortunately, the stunning blooms of mums just never seem to last quite long enough. As a perennial flower, they do of course have a limited cycle of blooms. But even though mums can’t stay in bloom forever, there are three simple secrets when selecting and caring for them that can make a huge difference in extending their blooming times to last the whole season long.
With that in mind, here is a look at how to get the most from your mums this year – and keep them flowering longer and better than ever!
3 Simple Secrets To Keep Mums Blooming Longer
1) Purchase Mums With Buds, Not Blooms
One of the biggest mistakes gardeners make each and every fall is to purchase mums that are already halfway through their blooming cycle.
Big, beautiful plants in half or full bloom might look gorgeous in the store, but they simply will never last through the fall season. Once a mum is in full bloom, it’s flowering days are numbered. A fully blooming mum is going to have a hard time staying in bloom for more than three weeks. No matter how much TLC you give it.
Sadly, with each passing year, stores seem to put their mums out earlier and earlier in the season. And even worse, already in full bloom. Unfortunately, there just isn’t any way a mum that is already starting to bloom in late August will still be blooming in October – let alone late September!
Because of that, unless you need your mums to provide an instant display for a special event, it’s best to purchase them with their buds tightly wound, or just barely beginning to open. Mums at this point are just beginning to explode with color and have a lot of blooming life ahead of them.
Even without flowering yet, their bright green foliage and buds will give plenty of life to containers and displays early in the season. And it only gets better and better as the blooms start to unfurl. The best part of all, purchasing mums with buds means you can have them providing beautiful blooms for 45 days or more – not just mere weeks!
2) Protect Plants From Full Sun – How To Keep Mums Blooming Longer
Tip #2 may at first sound a bit odd, but believe it or not, as much as mums need full sun to develop great foliage and bloom sets, that same hot sun also hastens their blooming cycle shelf life. In fact, hot sun can shave weeks off of the amount of time they will stay flowering strong.
Hot temperatures and full sun both put mums into full bloom production mode. In addition, the added heat and stress of the sunlight shortens the overall life of each bloom that forms.
By simply keeping your mums in a partially shaded location or out of the full strength of mid-day sunlight and heat, you can add as much as two weeks to how long they will flower. Partially shaded patios, porches and underneath the canopy of a tree are all perfect locations to help provide shade from mums.
The real key is to simply move or locate them so they can avoid the hottest mid-day sun and temperatures. Not only will they bloom longer, they also won’t require as much water. And as you will see next, proper watering is the third and final key to success for keeping your mums blooming longer.
3) Watering For Success – How To Keep Mums Blooming Longer
It’s a simple fact – the quickest way to shorten a mums blooming period is with inconsistent or improper watering. Autumn’s temperatures may be cooler, but the drier, less humid air also takes moisture away much faster. And that means plants can dry out quickly, which will shorten blooming times greatly.
Check the soil of your plants daily with the tip of your fingertips or with an inexpensive moisture meter. If the soil is dry down at the root level, it’s time to water. Moisture meters are really great for this task. They give an instant and accurate reading of the moisture right at the root level.
Make sure to always water enough that the roots deep down in the container receive water. If the roots get too dry, they shrivel and stop taking in nutrients. Keeping them moist but not saturated is the real key to success!
How You Water Matters – How To Keep Mums Blooming Longer In The Fall
Not only does watering consistently matter for bloom sets, how you water plays a critical role too. More than anything else, water your mums gently and without force. The best method is to put the nozzle of your hose or watering can under the blooms.
Heavy water on the blooms can both damage the blooms and shorten their bloom cycle. When blooms become saturated with water, they weaken and fade at a faster rate. They can also burn and scorch when the hot sun heats up the water droplets on the tender flowers.
In addition, spraying a stream or even a mist of water from above not only gets the blooms wet, it also can knock them off their stems, prematurely ending their flowering.
To combat this, some gardeners don’t water from the top at all. Instead, they opt to sit their pots in a container and water from the bottom, allowing the water to soak upward into the roots. Self-watering containers work perfect for this chore, and keep plants watered for up to 5 days or more. Affiliate Product Link : Self Watering Pots
No matter how you hydrate your plants, water gently. And to help even more, always try to avoid watering during the hot afternoon. This is when the sun’s rays are shining at full power. If the water touches blooms or foliage, it can easily burn and damage it.
Last but not least, try not to water with treated city or municipal water. Chlorine and other chemicals added to clean the water can also shorten bloom life.
Purchasing Mums To Keep – How To Keep Mums Blooming Longer In The Fall
One final hint when purchasing your mums is to always look for hardy mums. Hardy mum varieties can overwinter and come back each season to bloom again.
Hardy mums are a great way to stretch your gardening budget. The can be overwintered in pots, or planted directly into flowerbeds to come back again and again. Most labels will tell you if a mum is hardy or not. Hardy mums are often referred to as garden mums. These have full foliage and larger blooms.
Floral mums are not winter hardy, and should be avoided when trying to save for multiple years. Floral mums are usually much smaller plants with small cluster blooms.
Here is to getting the most from your mums this year – and keeping them in bloom longer than ever! For more fall color tips, check out our article: The Best Fall Blooming Perennials To Plant For Gorgeous Autumn Color!
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