Help for Fading Mums

By: Julie Day
Yellow and red flowering mums.

Store bought mums look pretty, but those gorgeous blooms don't last long.

Every year I buy gorgeous, blooming mums in the fall; and within a week the blooms have faded and the plant is kaput. How can I make store bought mums last longer? -Meredith

Those pretty balls of blooms are irresistible, aren’t they? Like little spots of pure sunshine on a crisp fall day. Problem is, those showy Chrysanthemums are grown for selling, not for lasting.

Blooming white mums

Mums come in many varieties

By manipulating the amount of daylight, growers can force the mums into full bloom on a regular schedule that corresponds with garden center delivery dates. This gives us a steady stream of blooming pots, but it also gives us plants that are likely rootbound, stressed and on their last legs.

The blooms on forced mums don’t last long, and they’re generally meant to be enjoyed and tossed. Some varieties are winter hardy and will come back next year (check the label!), but this year’s forced blooms are likely to be short-lived. However, there are a few tricks to prolonging the bloom time and getting more enjoyment out of your store bought mums.

How to Make Mum Blooms Last Longer

  • Buy Mums with Buds: If the mums you buy are already in full bloom, you have no way of knowing how close they are to finishing. Rather than buying ones with the fullest flowers, look for plants that have plenty of unopened buds, so you’ll be able to enjoy the full blooming period.
  • Protect Mums from Sun: Mums are normally full-sun plants, but sunlight will make them bloom more eagerly. To prolong the blooms, keep the plant in bright indirect light, rather than full sun.
  • Hardy, white perennial mums

    Hardy perennial mums

  • Water Mums from Bottom: Protect your mums from rain, and water them carefully without splashing the foliage or blooms. This will help keep the blooms from spotting and browning.
  • Keep Mums Cool: Warm temperatures also encourage blooming, while cool temperatures will help mums blooms last longer.
  • Plant Hardy Perennial Mums: If you love fall mums, try filling your garden with hardy perennial varieties that will come back larger and more glorious each year. Perennial mums usually have about a month long blooming season in late summer or fall, then they die back for the winter and sprout fresh in the spring. Look for hardy mums in the perennial section of your garden center.

Further Information




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5 Comments on “Help for Fading Mums”

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  • Lee Roberts Says:
    October 22nd, 2016 at 9:11 am

    How about Epsom Salt for mums?

  • JAn Deal Says:
    June 12th, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    A yellow mum given to is in December in bloom, was put into the ground after it had no more flowers. We live in Mesa, AZ now, and did not know the timing for mums here. When we spotted new mum leaves coming up in this constantly shady area, we put it into a large pot, and moved it to a sunny location in January. It thrived, and burst into glorious bloom in April. And has finally faded into a yellowish brown orb. What do we need to do with it now? Hot summer is upon us, and the monsoon season, but I do not know what to do with this plant to get it to bloom again. Please tell me!

  • diane Says:
    September 24th, 2014 at 10:41 am

    My son brought me a beautiful large chrysanthumum ball from the garden center two weeks ago and sadly they are going over the top already there are three colours in the ball I am going to plant out in the garden

  • Elizabeth polzella Says:
    October 23rd, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    If I plant store bought mums in the ground after they appear to be KAPUT will they grow and come up in spring???
    Live in Ct where winters are cold and snowy and sometimes icy

  • Lori Bosarge Says:
    November 9th, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Thank you Julie. I just purchased mums and am having the same problems. This info helped!

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Help for Fading Mums