Chrysanthemums are a classic fall flower, packed with petals and fluffy blooms available in many vibrant colors. These hardy perennials are especially gorgeous planted in containers, placed thoughtfully on your balcony, around the front door, and in your fall garden.
Mums require only a little TLC, and cultivating these splendid blooms isn’t a complicated task. In this article, you’ll discover everything about growing them in containers, tips on when to plant them, and the tools you’ll need for this job.
When is the Best Time to Plant Mums?
Mums thrive through late summer and fall, so they’re perfect for completing your fall planters. Many gardeners plant mums in spring after the last frost passes. This way the plants will be able to develop strong roots by winter so you can see blooms by the end of the summer and long after other flowers die.
Planting mums in your garden in late fall isn’t the smartest mover because they won’t have time to develop the roots they need to survive the winter. That’s why planting them in pots is a great option since you can bring them indoors for the harsh weather!
Tools You’ll Need
If you want to grow mums in containers, you’ll need a few tools. Fortunately, the essentials are items that many gardeners already own! Find them listed below.
- Properly sized container with drainage hole
- Gardening gloves
- Hand trowel
- Loamy, well-drained soil
- Watering can or hose
- Pruning shears
How to Grow Mums in Containers
Step 1: Choose a Healthy Plant
While you can plant mums from seed, it’s best to buy a plant. Growing them from seed can take around three to four months, which isn’t optimal if you’re looking to see blooms this fall. Growing from seed can also be challenging, and planting in the wrong season can spell disaster, so it’s a better-suited task for a seasoned gardener!
When you search around the garden center for the perfect plant, the first things to look for are vibrant flowers and healthy foliage. If you want to see blooms for a while, pick a plant with tightly closed buds. Avoid plants that have signs of overwatering, such as wet soil and yellow leaves.
Step 2: Prep and Plant
If you’ve purchased a plant from the garden center, it is beneficial to repot immediately. Usually, store-bought plants are root bound, so it’s best to get your mums into a larger container.
To repot, gently loosen any tangled roots so they can spread out in their new home. Then, plant the chrysanthemums in loamy, well-drained soil. Gently pack soil around the plant, ensuring the roots are fully covered. Finish the process with a generous watering.
Step 3: Caring for Mums
With your mums planted in containers, there are a few essential care rules you’ll need to know to help them grow. While mums can survive in partial sun, they will thrive in full sun – about five to six hours daily. Place your containers in a location with plenty of morning sun to avoid overheating the plants.
Watering is just as important as sunlight. Since mums prefer moist soil during the growing season, keep them well-watered. Check if the plants require watering with your finger. If the soil is still wet about an inch down, you can wait awhile longer. However, if it’s dry, it’s time to give your plants a drink!
Fertilize the plants regularly during the growing season, discontinuing once flower buds form. From spring through July, pinching off flower buds every month will help the mums maintain their shape and produce more blooms in the fall.
Overwintering is optional, but it’s the best way to make the most out of your mums by keeping them in a cool, brightly lit location indoors. Acclimate the plants in spring by keeping them outdoors during the day and bringing them indoors during the cooler temperatures of the night.
You will also need to deadhead overwintered plants in the spring to encourage new blooms. Prune the plant back 3 to 4 inches above the ground.
Mums the Word!
Chrysanthemums are a beautiful, classic flower to add to your list of fall plants. They’re incredibly easy to grow and make the perfect addition to your container garden. Plus, planting mums in containers means you can move them around and overwinter them to ensure they last. Remember to properly water and fertilize the plants, and don’t forget about pinching and pruning!
Will you be planting mums in containers this fall season? Share in the comments below!