Caring for Potted Mums

By Jonathan Bales , last updated May 3, 2011

Potted mums are a colorful addition to a home or garden in late summer and fall. They are frequently placed on patios or near front doors to welcome visitors. If cared for properly, they can even last into the winter. Read below for tips on how to adequate care for your mums and have them looking their best for as long as possible.

When choosing your mums, select a plant with buds that have just begun to break, as this will increase their bloom time. For best results, you should purchase them around mid-September. When you first get your mums, soak them until water leaks out of the bottom of the pot. Then, water daily until their soil is moist. If the soil dries out, it will harm the mums. Your potted mums also need direct sunlight, whether they are played indoors or outside. Night lighting, on the other hand, will interrupt their flowering cycle. Be sure to place your mums in an area that will receive a minimum of six hours of sun per day. Adequate sunlight results in larger, healthier flowers.

When flowers begin to wilt, you may pluck them at the base. Leave on all buds and leaves. Once all of the blooms die, you may place your mums outside. Cover the pots with dried leaves to protect them from the cold, but otherwise allow them to go dormant. Before your mums begin to bloom again in spring, you will need to prune them. Cut the stems back to about 12 inches, or even shorter if you would prefer a thicker plant.

You can begin watering your potted mums again in spring once new growth has begun and color has returned. Again, keep them watered properly throughout the growing season, and fertilize once a week for the first few months. Once new blooms are present, you can cut back on fertilizing.

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