With proper regimented care, your mums will produce bright bushy flowers for many years. They can be planted outdoors in flower beds, in hanging baskets, or pots. They are easy to grow year round, but do require some protection and maintenance in the winter time. Use these guidelines for advanced care for mums.
Choose a sunny location in your yard where the mums can get at least a half day of sun. Avoid transplanting them to a new location for at least 3 years so they can get established. Plant them in the ground with 18 to 30 inch gaps between them.
Plant mums in nutrient rich sandy soil with organic matter. Ensure the hole it is planted in is very deep and has adequate drainage, which is very important for the mum's health during winter months. Each year assess the soil for pests and disease, and treat accordingly.
Apply enough water to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged. Overwatering can lead to root rot. For most climates, water every day or every other day unless there is frequent rainfall. After planting a new mum, water it two to three times a week.
Apply a general fertilizer with ratio 6-12-6 each month at one half to one pound for each 100 square feet. Or use liquid fertilizer once a month. There's no need to feed mums during the fall.
To encourage bushy development of your mums, pinch off the new growth in the spring. When the branches reach 6 inches, pinch them down by 2 to 3 inches. Let the branches grow again 5 to 6 inches and pinch again. Stop pinching branches by the end of summer because they will start to develop new buds. Stop pinching after the second week of July in northern climates and the last week of July for southern climates.
Dig up and divide mums every 3 to 5 years. Air circulation and nutrients are important for healthy flowering, so thinning out your mums will encourage healthy production through the years. Separate the mums with a sharp knife, and replant in rich soil.
Keep the soil moist during cold months. After the plant dies back, cut it down slightly and apply a straw mulch. Avoid cutting down to soil or you'll have fewer stems next season. Use mulch to keep soil dry and warm, which prevents roots from being damaged by freezing and thawing. In April, remove old foliage and mulch when you notice new growth.
If you have potted mums, move them to a cool light location during winter months. Water them to keep the soil moist, but avoid overwatering. At the beginning of spring, put potted mums in partial sun during day and bring inside to a cool room at night. Mums that grow new foliage during the winter should be planted outdoors after the last frost in the spring. Mums without new growth can be planted in the soil when temperatures are still freezing at night. Apply bloom fertilizer when chance of frost is gone.