Chrysanthemums or mums are a fall favorite for good reason. These hardy flowers come in a handful of autumn colors, and thrive both planted and potted. To get the most out of your mums and help them survive the winter, follow these care instructions.
Mums are easily over watered, but thrive in well-drained soil. Avoid heavy clay soil, or planting in spots that become soggy after light rainfall. Adding compost to your soil can help with water drainage, and allows the shallow roots to spread.
Chrysanthemums need varied lighting conditions throughout the day to thrive. Plant your mums in an area that receives full sunlight in the morning, and shade in the afternoon. Direct sunlight throughout the day can cause foliage burn, and prevent flowering. Mums can also be potted and moved throughout the day.
An all-purpose fertilizer will encourage growth, but a 10-30-20 fertilizer can boost flowering for bigger, brighter blooms. Water the mums before and after fertilizing.
With smart preparation, mums can survive as perennials. Prepare your fall flowers for winter after the first hard frost. Pinch off any dead blooms, and add four inches of hardwood mulch around the entire plant. Pruning should wait until spring.
When the weather warms up, mums can be divided. Simply dig up the plant and separate outer portions from the center with a sharp knife. The outer portions can be replanted, and the center can be discarded. This process can be repeated every two years.