Help for Fading Mums
By: Julie Day
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.
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.
- 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.
- Growing Chrysanthemums In Your Garden (article)