I was never a big fan of chrysanthemums until this year. I was recently wandering around Home Depot, which I do frequently, and fell in love with an orange mum whose flowers displayed several shades of orange. Today I want to tell you all about mum flower care.
Like I said, I wasn’t a huge fan of chrysanthemums until this year. I’ve bought several which are featured in the post, How to Start a Garden from Scratch and Outdoor Flower Pot Arrangements. Since I featured mums in my last two “how to” posts, I figured it was time to write a post about how to care for them too.
Chrysanthemums come in a variety of types and colors. They are also very inexpensive, which make them great for the beginner gardener. If you end up killing them (I’m just being realistic, I’ve killed plenty since getting serious about gardening last spring), at least you didn’t fork out much money for the plants in the first place.
Chrysanthemums are originally from Asia and Europe. Although Chrysanthemums are not originally from Japan, they are a very popular plant over there. Mums are still so popular in Japan that many chrysanthemum exhibits are held there.
Chrysanthemum comes from the Greek word chrys, which is translated “golden”. Gold is a popular mum color, although it is not the only color this diverse plant comes in.
There are several types of chrysanthemum flowers. Some varieties look like pom-poms, daisies, buttons, and decorative. I have the pom-pom and daisy-shaped flowers. I think they all look great, especially when placed in the same container or near each other.
Chrysanthemums also come in a variety of colors. I have seen them in yellow, orange, purple, pink, white and red. The ones I have are named Spicy Cheryl Orange, Mildred Yellow, Wilma White, Emelda Purple, and Jolly Cheryl Red.
Chrysanthemums come from the Asteraceae (Compositae) family of flowers, which is one of the largest family of flowers. There are 20,000 species of mums! That is a bunch of mums!
Since there are so many types of chrysanthemums, I am only going to mention a few of the popular types below. Some types look similar to each other while some mums look like completely different flowers.
These are a smaller type of mum. They look just how they are named, like small circular pompoms with lots of short petals. These mums come in a variety of colors and types.
Decorative mums are short plants with huge blooms. The petals on these flowers are curved and full.
Cushion mums grow low on the ground and are bushy. These plants grow lots of blooms that are medium sized.
Single mums look very much like daisies. Several of my garden mums are singles. They have a center with several rows of petals.
Another type of mum is the quill. These are quite bushy, full circular blooms. Several of my chrysanthemums look like quills.
Most of the garden mums I’ve seen or grown are a mix of single and quill mums. Pompom and quill mums also look quite similar to one another. They each are beautiful in their own way though, and I highly recommend getting a variety so you can see the difference in person.
Chrysanthemums require full sun, or at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. The employee at the gardening center I bought some of my mums at said they can also do well in partial sun. I have my mums in areas where some will get full and partial sun, so we shall see which ones grow better.
Mums grow best in well-draining soil. My personal favorite is Miracle-Gro Potting Mix. I’ve tried others but this soil has worked best for most of my container plants.
Newly planted mums need more water, just like most plants when they are first planted. Afterwards, they only need to be watered once or twice a week. If you grow your mums in containers like me, they may need more water, since plants in pots need more water than plants grown in the ground.
You may want to fertilize your mums if you plan on keeping them beyond fall. They only need fertilizer once or two times a month until it gets cooler. I live in a pretty mild climate, so I may fertilize my plants even though its fall.
To keep blooms coming back, it is a good idea to pinch your mums. Pinching, like cutting back plants, will encourage flowers to come back just as full as you had them at first. If you get your mums in the fall like I did, you shouldn’t have to do this, just in the springtime.
Also, keep in mind where you live and what time of year it is. I live in a mild-weathered area, but if you live where it gets very cold and want to keep your mums throughout the winter, you will want to make plans to keep them thriving indoors.
The Perfect Container Plant
Mums make great container plants with their large beautiful mounds of flowers. Whether you have large or small containers, you can plant them according to the size of the pot, or place several in one for a nice color container.
My orange mums started out on their own in a small container, but I recently added dark purple pansies for Halloween. The four that I just bought are all growing in a larger container nicely.
Fall for Mums
Now that I’ve fallen for the autumn mum, I hope you try growing these festive plants if you haven’t already. Mums are inexpensive, come in a variety of types and colors, and make great container plants. I have mums in five different colors and am still thinking about getting more.
Let me know if you have your own tips on caring for chrysanthemums below. If you also have questions about mum flower care, please ask below. Happy fall gardening!