Mums come in hardy varieties, which are popular in the Midwest, but most mums require some upkeep to bloom each spring. When you are planning on colorful perennials for your yard, mums are a good choice but only if you plan to take some time to care for them. Watering, pinching, and covering are three important areas of caring for your mums.
During the season when mums are newly planted, which will be late spring to summer in most climates, the plants will need to be water three to four times a week. Rainwater will suffice but be sure to break out the water hose if natural waterfall leaves the mums dry for more than two days. The soil should be moist around mums at all times.
Pinching is the process of cutting back the mums. Some plants require cutting back only once at the end of summer. For mums, though, pinching should be a gradual process. When the summer is about halfway over, you should start to cut back some of the branches. Just snip them a few inches each week; cutting back on older pieces of the mums will encourage new growth. When the fall is in full swing, stop pinching the mums to allow them to prepare for the winter.
Before the winter fully arrives, wet the soil around your mums and cover them. Mulch works well, but in areas with significant snowfall, tarps may work better. The covering will keep the mums’ roots moist and protected throughout the winter. When spring arrives – after what you anticipated is the last frost – remove the covering to inspect your mums. At this point, the mums will have dead branches on them. Cut those pieces off, and the mums will begin to flower again as the weather warms up.